Tonight I was listening to a short sermon online by Bill Johnson–whose profound insights I have come to appreciate more and more. He talked briefly about the nature of Satan’s lies and the root of his temptations.
I immediately began forming the following mini-sermon in my head. Satan’s “rolodex” of temptations–too numerous to mention–enter our lives through two primary pathways of doubt and suspicion. Not all doubts are demonic, but the nature of these specific doubts are themselves temptations of a demonic nature. Think of these two primary temptations of doubt as two doors which lead to other doors of temptation being opened, which in turn leads to more doors, etc. “Shut the door” on these two primary doors and we will discover that a great host of other temptations also become shut out of our lives.
The first temptation is to doubt the Word of God
By “Word” I mean more than just the Bible and the various nuances of inerrancy and inspiration. I mean doubting God’s authority and his right to overrule and reign supreme over our opinons.
The second temptation is to doubt our identity–or more specifically who we are in Christ.
These prime temptations are witnessed in scripture. In the garden Satan leveraged the first temptation as follows: “Did God really say you can’t taste…” Satan knew that if he could create ambiguity and doubt over what God said–and therefore bring into question God’s authority– the conquest of man would be made much easier.
We see the second primary temptation when Satan seeks to tempt the second Adam–Christ. Immediately prior to the wilderness temptations the Father spoke unto Jesus through the Holy Spirit: “Behold you are my beloved Son.”
Soon after Jesus is led into the desert by the Spirit to experience desolation and famine. Satan bides his time and then finding him alone, isolated, weak and starving, he attacks his identity.
“If you are the Son of God than command these stones to become bread…”
Satan hopes that by attacking Jesus identity he will arouse a reaction based on fear, insecurity or pride, and thereby cause Jesus to move in a miraculous manner independent and contrary to the will of his Father.
The first primary temptation didn’t really have anything to do with the organic substance of a forbidden fruit–and everything to do with doubting God’s word of authority. Left unchecked such doubts will invariably result in rebelling against God’s authority and establishing our own.
So also the second primary temptation had nothing to do with inorganic rock being turned into the organic composition of bread. Rather it had everything to do with tempting Jesus to react in fear or pride by putting his self-identity to the test.
END NOTE: I find all of this very contemporary and widespread in our world today–including the lives of many who profess to follow Christ. Satan isn’t very creative or ingenious–he just reinvents old tricks and updates them for each generation. He is still at his old game– seeking to create distance and confusion between us and what God has spoken to us, and to create confusion and doubt over our identity. In my previous post I mentioned a boy in Thailand who has been on a journey over the past few years to turn himself into a woman by taking hormone surpressers and submitting to plastic surgery. I learned more about him today. His story is all too common and only bolsters my personal opinion that nurture far outweighs nature when it comes to many in the transvestite, transexual community in Thailand and Cambodia. His mother died. His father abandoned him. Other men abused him. His grandmother raised him to be afraid of men. She taught him to doubt his own value, worth and identity as a man. He felt unsafe around men. He never received healthy, normal, physical affirmation from men–though inside he craved it. Somewhere along the line he started to completely doubt his identity as a man. It started with him doubting his own ability to be “measure up” as a man and led to him doubting his own masculine worth–or at least what society tries to say qualifies as “masculine worth.” He only felt very safe, comfortable and unthreatened around women and soon started to believe he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. Now years later, and after much money spent to alter his physical appearance and suppress nature’s course, he shuts his ear to anyone who would seek to point out he is still an XY chromosome man and that God still sees him–and loves him–as a man. He insists that God now has to see him and love him only as a woman. In that sense he refuses to acknowledge in any way that God’s perspective trumps his own perspective. In other words he does not acknowledge God’s authority or word as being above his own opinions. This is rather an extreme example of the temptation to doubt God’s word and one’s identity–but it struck me today that the extremes in life still come from the same basic place…the lies of the enemy.
Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I started my blog as an unmarried man who was blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. As of 2022, I am a happily married man to an amazing missionary wife serving together on the mission field. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an apathetic church.