May 16 I Sunday
2 Kings 24-25
“For everything in the world––the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life––comes not from the Father but from the world.” —1 John 2:16
When we look at biblical accounts of temptation, we find a predictable pattern. In the Garden of Eden, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh] and pleasing to the eye [lust of the eyes], and also desirable for gaining wisdom [pride of life], she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6). Even Jesus Himself was tempted by the devil in the areas of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. As we reflect on our own life, where are we most weak and easily tempted? We will realize that it is in one of those three areas, or maybe even all three. What we observe from Eve to Jesus is that the devil’s tactic does not change much.
Although Eve and Jesus were tempted in the same three areas, there is a difference between the two. Eve was tempted to do what was wrong, against the direct command of God, who said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...” (Genesis 2:16-17). Jesus, however, was not tempted to do what was wrong; He was tempted to do what was right, but at the wrong time.
In Jesus’s temptation, it was not wrong to eat bread because Jesus did eat after coming out of the wilderness. It was also not wrong for Jesus to be the King of all the kingdoms of the world, as Jesus will one day have all authority in heaven and on earth. As well, it was not wrong for Him to be recognized as the Son of God, since there will come a day that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Altogether, there is nothing wrong with what the devil was tempting Jesus to do; it was just the right thing at the wrong time.
There are times when we settle the issue in our own mind and heart before God that we will not do certain things, such as committing adultery, stealing and lying. But even after settling these issues, the devil will not give up. He will come back at us and say, “Here’s something that is good and legitimate,” but at the wrong time that does not fulfill God’s purpose in our life. This is why the question we must ask ourselves when we are tempted is not “is it good or bad?” but “is it right that I should do this now?”
May we turn to God for wisdom to discern what is the right thing to do at the right time.
Prayer: Almighty God, grant me the wisdom to discern what is the right thing to do at the right time. Help me to walk in Your righteousness. Thank You, God.