The Big Three


IMG_4949Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’” I know I’m a sinner, but it’s not something I like to talk about. Who does? I blow it often enough that I don’t question the truth of it. However, there are times when I feel compelled (by the Holy Spirit, I’m sure) to take inventory. I generally know where my weaknesses lie, so I’m able to take them to prayer and allow God to work in me.

But recently, my husband and I became part of a marriage mentoring group which includes the Bible study Growing in Christ by Navpress. Each section is fairly small—and it starts with a memory verse. This week’s lesson on the Assurance of Victory got me thinking. The memory verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13—“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But we were directed to another passage—1 John 2:15-16—and asked to write down the three primary areas of temptation: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life. Time to take stock, which I did in prayer while putting together my husband’s lunch. Strange time, I know, but when the Spirit moves me, I try not to put Him off.

First off, we have to understand what these sins are in order to know if we fall into temptation of them. I first thought lust of the flesh as something more prone to men—lusting after someone of the opposite sex. But according to, Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden took the form of all three of these sins. John refers to the lust of the flesh as “a desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs.” So, the fact that she desired the fruit…you get the point. Does that mean that whenever we desire food, we’re falling into sin? Doubtful. She desired the forbidden fruit above obedience to God.

Eve found the fruit desirable and pleasing to the eyes (lust of the eyes.) This is one God’s been working on with me for some time. It helps that I live with a minimalist who is also very frugal. When we’re shopping, Chris used to ask, “You see anything you can’t live without?” Seriously? How does one answer that? However, over time, it’s become a question I ask myself. That doesn’t mean I never buy anything fun, but only after thoughtful consideration. More often than not, if I wait on something, the desire to have it disappears.

But the third—pride of life—gave me pause. I’m not like Eve, in that I desire to be like God, knowing good and evil, but am I prideful? Arrogant? I didn’t have to wait long for God’s answer. Twenty minutes after I posed the question to Him, Chris and I opened the daily devotional (Walk With God by Chris Tiegreen) we read together before he heads out to work. Wouldn’t you know it—it touched on this very topic in a simplistic way. “The person who can respond to an insult with a compliment is a person who has mastered pride. In doing so, he has become a peacemaker—an ambassador whose interest in his King’s reputation is deeper than his interest in his own.” Sad to say, that’s not me.

At least now, I have a focus for my prayers for growth. It’s a humbling experience when we can take a good, hard look at ourselves and see how far we fall short. I’m grateful that my righteousness doesn’t depend on me, but on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Scripture assures us that Jesus empathizes with our temptations—and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

4 thoughts on “The Big Three

  1. I especially loved and was challenged by the comment written by Chris Tiegreen…”The person who can respond to an insult with a compliment is a person who has mastered pride.” I shall remember that, use it and endeavor to live it. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I’ve had to recently get into the habit of thinking before I buy something. In the past, I’ve bought a number of things on impulse that wound up never being used. Not only did it prove to be a waste of money, but it would also clutter up the house more.

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