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Satan tempts us in three separate ways according to I John 2:15-16:

"The lust of the flesh is the desire to DO something apart from the will of God.

The lust of the eyes is the desire to HAVE something apart from the will of God.

The pride of life is the desire to BE something apart from the will of God."

The first desire appeals mainly to the body, the second to the soul, and the third to the spirit. Perhaps the most common manifestation of the lust of the flesh in modern western civilization is illicit sex (hedonism, idolizing pleasure). Perhaps the most common manifestation of the lust of the eyes is excessive buying (materialism, idolizing possessions). Perhaps the most common manifestation of the pride of life is trying to control (egoism, idolizing power).

Many have pointed out how the three aspects of temptation listed here parallel the way that Satan tempted Eve:

She saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food (Ge. 3:6), which was an appeal to the lust of the flesh.

She saw “that it was a delight to the eyes.” This appealed to the lust of the eyes.

She also saw “that the tree was desirable to make one wise.” This appealed to the boastful pride of life.

The same pattern occurs in Satan’s temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-12). Satan urged Jesus to turn the stones into bread (the lust of the flesh). He showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth, offering to give them to Him (the lust of the eyes). He encouraged Him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, which could have been a source of pride in this miraculous accomplishment.

- Precept Austin

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