Temptation is designed by the enemy to pull us away from our union with the Lord. From the beginning Satan has been luring man into acting independently from God. He told Eve, concerning the forbidden tree, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He was telling her if she ate the fruit she would be able to make up her own mind about what was good and evil; she wouldn’t need anyone else to tell her anything; she would be in charge of things herself.
Further along in the narrative of the Bible we meet Moses. One day he came upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew so Moses broke it up. Actually he killed the Egyptian and attempted to cover up the murder by burying him in the sand. Of course he was found out which led to him being on the run for the next forty years. Could it be that Moses knew he was destined to be Israel’s deliverer but he tried to make it happen independently from God? Obviously God has his ways of working these things out for the good, but it seems to me it was Moses’ independent thinking that led to his long hiatus.
The scriptures are filled with these kinds of stories but let’s move on into the New Testament. When we look at the life of Jesus we see where he never acted independently of the Father. He would say things like, “I only do what I see the Father doing, my teaching is not my own and the Father abiding in me does his works.” Never did Jesus behave as if he was in charge of his own life.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry he was bombarded with temptation to act independently of the Father. Immediately after being baptized he was sent into the desert to be tempted. As you probably already know he was tempted in three distinct ways but there is one thing they all had in common. They were all designed to pull Jesus out from his union with the Father and get him to act independently. It was brought to my attention recently how the enemy used this strategy all the way to the very end of Jesus’ earthly life. As Jesus hung on the cross the enemy took one more shot at him. Some of those passing by shouted “Save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
We know Jesus could have called as many angels he wanted, in order to rescue him, but he didn’t. He chose to live the kind of life humans were designed to live. He lived without ever sinning because he lived without ever acting independently of the Father. Even right up to his last breath when he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Written by Louie
Turning our eyes on Jesus is the way we are transformed. As we lock our spiritual eyes on him we are changed from glory to glory into the same image. It isn’t by us trying to obey laws, straightening our act up or making resolutions to stop some bad behavior; no it is learning to keep focused on Christ.
What if God designed humans in this manner? What if our whole role is to fix our eyes on Christ and let him do all the changing as he sees fit? My theory is we are made to keep our eyes on Jesus but something distracted us. In the Garden of Eden Adam disobeyed God’s direct command about not eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpent told him “The day you eat of this you will be as God.” When he ate it he immediately saw that he was naked because his eyes left God and went toward himself. I think this is because in his deceived mind he truly thought he was now god of his life. Since us humans were designed to keep our eyes on God and he now thought he was god he started to look at himself. Since he believed the lie his gaze went inward and he became self conscious. He started to be self critical, fearful and probably depressed.
What happens when we are self conscious? We do one of two things. We either start to think too highly of ourselves or we get into condemning ourselves. Either way it is a wrong estimation of ourselves all because we are thinking of ourselves as god. Who wouldn’t either pat themselves on the back or beat themselves up? We are completely self absorbed either good or bad. Wow! What a sneaky little deceptive so and so the enemy is. The devil always wanted to be God. I think he wanted it so bad he was willing to receive worship even if it was second hand. When Adam sinned, the enemy, the “spirit of error” took up residence in man. Man started thinking he could run his own life, but in reality it was the enemy feeding him a bunch of bunk.
The enemies plan only continues to work if we remain deceived. I thank God he refused to leave us in the situation we put ourselves in. He gave us his law. His law wasn’t something we could keep and he knew it. It was given so we might see for ourselves we, in fact, aren’t God. God knew the lie had to be exposed and the only way to do that is with the truth. He essentially told us “You think you can be like me! Go ahead and give it a shot then.” Here are my laws and when you obey all of them perfectly we’ll talk. Of course that never happened and never could, but it is only through repeated trying and failing we come to see this. It is then and only then we will look to Christ again.
The Bible tells us “The Law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.” Once we are fully convinced of our inability we will take our eyes off of ourselves and return them to their proper place, on Christ. We then discover “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.” No longer looking at ourselves and whether our performance is good or evil we find the rest, peace, joy, love and etc. that God intended all along. I guess we just had to take the long way around, and truly feel the deep effects of our sin and God’s unmerited favor, before we would ever really start to understand how much God loves us.
Written by Louie