How does the Devil tempt us? The Bible says in I John 2:15-17 that the he tempts us in three ways, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It can be said that the lust of the flesh is Passions, the lust of the eyes is Possessions, and the pride of life is Position. Others have summed it up this way, the lust of the flesh is the consuming desire to do, the lust of the eyes is a compelling urge to have, and the pride of life is a constant thrust to be. We are all tempted in these three areas. As a matter of fact, any sin that we commit is the result of succumbing to one or more of these three temptations.
Of course, to further drive home my point, there are two famous temptations in the Scriptures that bear this out: the temptation of Eve and the temptation of Christ. Yes, we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin(Hebrews 4:15). First, let’s take a closer look at the temptation of Eve as found in Genesis 3:16 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Notice that Eve was tempted when she saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (Passions), pleasant to the eyes (Possessions), and desired to make one wise as gods (Position).
Now, let’s consider the temptation of Christ as found in Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Notice that Christ himself was tempted to make these stones be made bread (Passion), to cast thyself down (Position), and to fall down and worship the Devil in exchange for the kingdoms of the world (Possessions).
While both of these temptations are similar in that they involved three common temptations (i.e., Passion, Possession, and Position), they are different in the way that the tempted responded. Eve apparently did not seek to counter the Devil’s accusations at all, but merely took the fruit. On the other hand, our Lord responded by taking Scripture that had been quoted out of context to him by the Devil and placed them back into context. Of course, to respond with Scripture one must actually know the Scriptures, thus 2 Timothy 2:15. I mean, it’s kind of hard to remember something that has never been made a memory. Trust me; I’ve got enough years in the classroom to know this to be the case. Some students merely pray for remembrance before tests while others pray for an epiphany!
What’s the conclusion of the matter? We are all tempted in the exact same way: Passions, Possessions, and Position. It is common to all of us. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul put it this way, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Well, there it is. We are all tempted the same way. No, you are not unique in this area and neither am I. We are the same. So the question must be, “How do we overcome temptation?” The answer, is by putting on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7-10). It’s the only way folks, God will lower the gate of warning, sound the bell, flash the red light, but He will not keep us from crossing the tracks.