What are the Three
Avenues of Temptation?
Categories of Temptation
|Satan's Temptation of Eve
|Satan's Temptation of Jesus
of the Flesh"
strongly to the feelings of our bodies ...
||She "saw that the
tree was good for food"
these stones become bread."
observed the fruit offered her would be tasty indeed.
||Jesus had fasted for
Appealing to Jesus' ravenous hunger, the devil tempted him to
prove He was Deity by gratifying his body's appetite for food.
of the Eyes"
||Whatever attracts us
strongly as we look at it ...
was a delight to the eyes"
||" ... showed him all
the kingdoms of the world and their glory"
observed that the tree and its fruit had remarkable eye appeal.
||Satan took Jesus to
mountain to let him view with his eyes the spectacular glory of earth's
kingdoms. He would give these to Jesus in exchange for
||Whatever appeals to
our pride and makes us feel good about ourselves - boosts our ego ...
tree was desirable to make one wise"
yourself down" (from "the pinnacle of the temple")
perceived that the tree would give her insight and perspective and
wisdom otherwise available only to God.
||Satan appealed to
for popularity and acclaim. If he would jump
temple, the crowd below would be awestruck at His Superman powers.
Observations about Temptation
temptation we humans face must come from at least one of these three
avenues. Either the temptation appeals to the
senses of our body, whether taste or smell or touch or hearing; or it
appeals to our eyes - that which we can see and visualize; or it
appeals to our sense of pride - it will make me feel important or
unique or superior in some way to my present situation or when compared
to others around me.
temptation may appeal to more than one of the three avenues.
For example, if someone struggles with weight control, a
particular food may have eye appeal (Lust of the Eyes) and the person
also knows it will taste very good (Lust of the Flesh). For a
man, illicit sex has eye appeal (Lust of the Eyes) - she is an
attractive looking woman; and it will feel so good (the Lust of the
Flesh). In some instances the sexual dalliance may also
provide the man with a sense of pride and triumph -"What must the other
guys in the office think of me since I can attract such a beautiful
looking woman? -- They could never do that!" (Pride of Life).
is a master of deceiving humans in temptation.
He masterfully seduces us to focus on the present gains of
succumbing to temptation while ignoring the long-term consequences.
He first causes us to question what God says, then he flatly
contradicts what God says. Satan is the master-liar (John
8:44; Rev. 12:9).
critical point of temptation is the matter of trust or faith.
Are we going to believe what God has said about a particular
attraction? It is impossible to please God if we do not trust
11:6). Are we going to believe God and what He has
said, or are we going to believe what Satan and the
world around us says about an attraction? In the case of Eve,
she trusted the serpent and disbelieved God.
rarely shows himself to us humans. He almost always uses
someone else as his mouthpiece. That mouthpiece
may be a husband, a wife, a friend, a TV or movie celebrity we have
never even met before, actors in a commercial, a politician, an
educator, virtually anyone. Because Satan is an artful liar,
most people don't even know they are being deceived. Satan
has blinded their minds (2
never tempts us to do evil (James
1:13). He never has
as his motive to cause us to violate His standards. If we
turn our backs on Him, He will give us over to the evil that we crave
1:24, 26, 28), but He never solicits us to do evil, nor does
He cause us
to commit evil. God is out to rescue people, not destroy them
3:16-17; Rom. 5:8).
is out to destroy people in his temptation. He
is all about power and control. The more people he can
ensnare, the more people he has under his control, and the more power
he has. Satan is very much consumed with the "Boastful Pride
of Life." When he has you in his grip, you will have been
completely destroyed. (John
never tempts, but He continually tests. The
purpose of God's tests is to strengthen faith (1
The purpose of Satan's temptations is to cause you to fail by
rebelling against God (1
will not permit us Christians to be
our capacity to resist (with Divine assistance - 1
He will always provide us with a way to escape.
succeeded in resisting temptation
by using Scripture. He had
completely mastered everything God had said in Scripture (Matt.
4:4, 7, 10). It
follows, then, that the more of Scripture that we have mastered and
absorbed, the greater arsenal we will have to resist temptation.
is impossible for man to resist every
all the time (1
John 1:8, 10). When we believers have succumbed to
temptation and have sinned, we must confess our sins and receive
is not wrong to be tempted. It is wrong to
give in to temptation. Jesus was tempted, but He did not
to the temptation (Heb.
will tempt us in the area in which
we are most
vulnerable. His temptation of Jesus came when
physically and when he was alone, without any support (Matt.
learn to identify situations in which we are most vulnerable to
must protect ourselves with the
complete armor of God (Eph.
6:10-18). If we are to
resist the temptations of our deadly enemy, we must be fully protected
6:10-13). Each piece of armor is critical:
Telling and living the truth (Eph.
6:14); obeying God (Eph.
6:14); being prepared to tell others the good news about
6:15); trusting fully in God and His Word (Eph.
6:16); being fully
assured of one's salvation (Eph.
6:17); reading, absorbing and
following the Bible (Eph.
6:17); and praying always (Eph.
This Page Updated June 8, 2016
by James T. Bartsch
quotations taken from the NASB 1995
Used by Permission.)