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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

God's Supreme Interest in Man # 7

And just note them, how true that was. We have here in Luke four a temptation in three forms; not three temptations, but a temptation in three different realms with three different aspects. First of all, the body - the temptation came in the body. "he "hungered". The tempter came along the line of physical demand, physical need, and physical interests. Now His body is already in principle made the whole sacrifice, for in His body there was utter obedience.

Failing there, the tempter came along the line of the soul, when he took Him up to the pinnacle of the Temple and said, "Cast Yourself down, for it is written, 'He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee ...'" The devil can quote Scripture, but the devil left out one very vital fragment of the statement in Psalm 91. He did not complete it, he did not say, "... in all thy ways." That would have been dangerous. There are ways in which you cannot even rest upon Scripture, for there are ways in which even God will not protect you, if they are the ways of presumption. If you are presuming upon God, if you are testing God, you cannot claim the protection of His Word or His hand. It is not, "in all thy ways." It is only as ALL thy ways are in God.

However, here the point of the temptation was, "If you do this, cast yourself down, the world will acclaim you at once." They will say, "This man has come down out of heaven, we saw Him, He actually lived a life in our midst, and has come down and from the great height, here He is." They will acclaim You. The world will accept You. The world will applaud You. The world will be won. Just one act and You will win the world; You will gain what is called the world. You will have the acceptance, the popularity of the world.

That is our soul. My, is that not testing? Reverse that order, and see if you do not get the world's disapproval, its rejection, its persecution, you will not get a place nor a standing in the favor of the world, in the favor of men.

Sometimes that can be exceedingly testing. Many a person has to put everything in the balances of loyalty to God on the one side, and whether he is going to get the favor of men and position and advancement and all that on the other side by some way that is a bit crooked, that is not straight, not right before God. This matter of standing well with the world sometimes becomes a very acute thing.  The god of this world makes it so: it is areal temptation in the realm of our souls, the soul that wants to stand well with men, and the whole of our temptation to compromise is on this - to get an easier way in the world, to get the favors of the world.

So, when the devil failed there, the enemy swung round to another angle. The devil took Him up into the great high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof and said, "All this will I give You if You will worship me." The devil has moved from the outer circle of the body into that inner place of the soul, and now he has gone right for the heart, the citadel, the spirit, the worship. It is the place of God only. God only, and the question is, "Who is to be God? Who is to occupy that inner sanctuary of man's being/" Well, now I am not dwelling upon these three things in particular that I am showing you, but I am trying to show you the inclusiveness of this temptation where the whole man was involved: body, soul, and spirit. He was tried there in these three realms.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8)

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