Rick Warren Calls for Warfare! - Spiritual Warfare That Is! “The Invisible War: Winning the Battle of Temptation.”

Rick Warren Equipping for Spiritual Warfare: Revealing the 3 Fundamental Temptations 
Rick Warren, author of best-selling hardback book in American history, Purpose Driven Life, pastor of Saddleback mega-church in Lake Forest, California, an international speaker, lecturer, and global strategist encompassing a slew of worldwide initiatives, announced today that he is mounting a new campaign of warfare. However, before our collective panties get in a bunch, please note that Warren's battle-lines are being drawn at the front of spiritual conflict. More in particular, temptation.

Warren, who also advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health eduction and faith in culture, carries considerable weight throughout America and the world (though of late he's dropped around 30 pounds on the Daniel Plan) - when Warren speaks, people listen. 

So it was with a relative small gathering of Warrne's congregation (a few hundred) on a Friday afternoon in the High School auditorium of The Refinery. The information Warren imparted was not only inspiring, it was compelling, and as always, highly entertaining.  

Though I have studied the fundamentals of Spiritual Warfare before, Warren is a most gifted speaker, effortlessly making an otherwise dry topic come alive. It was apparent his audience was enrapt and hung on his every word. It wasn't long into his talk that I had taken extensive notes and decided they would make for a fascinating blog post. 

The lecture on Spiritual Warfare began with a rousing round of applause, after which, Warren quickly got down to business. He whetted our appetite by brandished a tattered black notebook, telling us it was packed with 40 years of notes and study on the subject. The bustle of popping notebooks and clicking pens filled the room in anticipation. 

As one of several video-cameras on large booms lowered it's arm into place, center stage, it became readily apparent that Spiritual Warfare was a subject anything but unfamiliar to Warren. Regardless, Warren's passionate delivery and enthusiasm belied decades of timeworn research and lifelong application. His presentation felt fresh, and unconventional, as if the material was just as new to him as well.

Pastor Warren opened his discussion with a reading of 1 John 2:16: "For everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, comes not from the Father but from the world."

With that, Warren laid the foundation for the three temptations that confront every man and woman on the planet, since time began. Following is a synopses of Warren's most salient points.

 Winning the Battle of Temptation

Type 1: Lust of the Flesh
  1. temptation TO FEEL and do - promises to make us feel good
  2. desire TO INDULGE - besides sex, also applies to food, drugs, thrills, sleep, etc.
  3. involves PASSION
  4. about SENSES
  5. APPETITE  (New national ad: "Obey Your Thirst")
  6. SEX
  7. HEDONISM - pleasure is #1 emphasis in life to be happy (which is byproduct of being holy)
  8. Challenges the SUFFICIENCY of God - I don't believe god will provide so I got to get it myself.

Type 2Lust of the Eyes
  1. temptation TO HAVE - "When I see it, I want it."
  2. desire TO INCREASE - amass possessions - greed
  3. involves POSSESSIONS 
  4. about SECURITY
  5. AVARICE (greed) i.e. "having more makes you secure"
  7. MATERIALISM - #1 emphasis in life is acquisition of things
  8. Challenges the SANCTITY of God - Things replace God - idols - we should have noting in our life that competes for God's affection. 

Type 3Pride of LIfe
  1. temptation TO BE - liked, loved & popular - want to be #1!, envied, best, on top!
  2. desire TO IMPRESS - get attention, look at me, you will notice me!
  3. involves POSITION 
  4. about SUCCESS
  7. SECULARISM (secular humanism) - I don't need God 
  8. Challenges the SOVEREIGNTY of God - I'm am going to do with my life with what I want - I don't want a boss! 
Just in case you missed Warren's penchant for catchy phraseology (which I appreciate), I thought it might be helpful, if not thought provoking, to view each category in the triptych verse, how Warren would most often reveal them. Here again are the three basic Temptation models along with their descriptive phrases:
Type 1                          Type 2                           Type 3
LUST OF FLESH                         LUST OF EYES                          PRIDE OF LIFE
To FEEL                                     To HAVE                                   To BE
To INDULGE                               To INCREASE                             To IMPRESS
PASSION                                     POSSESSIONS                             POSITION
SENSES                                       SECURITY                                  SUCCESS
APPETITE                                   AVARICE                                   AMBITION
SEX                                            SALARY                                     SUCCESS
HEDONISM                                  MATERIALISM                            SECULARISM
Challenges God's SUFFICIENCY           Challenges God's SANCTITY              Challenges God's SOVEREIGNTY

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
  1. ANECDOTE TO Lust of Flesh: deny myself - do not indulge in passions, deny myself or face the consequences of getting fatter, lazier, etc. - live by convictions not desires.
  2. ANECDOTE TO Lust of Eyes: follow Jesus - when eyes are on Jesus/God, you can't be possessed by things/possessions/materials.
  3. RIck Warren: Anecdote to Temptation.
  4. ANECDOTE TO Pride of Life: take up His cross - the cross means to "come and die" - taking up a cross is identifying with Christ, which is humbling.

"The woman saw that the tree had fruit that was good to eat, pleasing to look at, and desired the wisdom it would give her..."

  1. LUST OF FLESH: the tree was good for food - tasty, pleasurable, felt good: i.e. sin is fun but for only for a season; it's short term gain with long term loss.
  2. LUST OF EYES: the fruit was pleasing to the eyes - I see it and I want it, attraction and lust are NOT the same - attraction is natural/hormones (shows you're alive); lust is out of control! "Walk in the spirit you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh..."
  3. PRIDE OF LIFE: eating fruit would make her wise; the serpent promised she would be as God - evil never says do this or that in order to be like Satan, but to be like God.
Warren's discussion continued with several additional examples, all of which demonstrated the Bible's consistent and systematic approach to illuminating the three fundamental temptations that frequent all of humanity. 

Fortunately for us all, accordingly to 1 Corinthians 10:13, there is not a single temptation on earth that is not common to all of mankind. There's nothing new or novel which Satan can trip us up. It's all been tried before! The only tricks up his sleeve are the three basic temptations. That's it folks. 

Additionally, God is supremely faithful and will not let any one of us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Should we give into a temptation, it's not because the allure was too much for but rather we weighed the situation and chose our own way over God's. When we are tempted, God always provides a way out so that we can overcome. It's simply a matter of saying "yes" to the urging of the spirit speaking in our heart. 

What's even more phenomenal, I might add, is that in even the tiniest detail in which we listen to God's leading and obey, it has all the unlimited power of the Grace of God behind it. When we do what's right, and not just for duty's sake, but because we truly believe God is directing the circumstances our life, at that very moment of our obedience, the complete and magnificent grace of God is ours - all through what Christ did for us on the cross. 

I suggest mulling over the previous paragraph a few times and let in sink in.

Should you wish to learn more about Spiritual Warfare and how to overcome the temptations that trouble you, I've got good news: Pastor Warren has written a new series on this vital topic that he will soon be presenting at Saddleback. 

Even more exciting, Warren has also developed a new study, which will be offered for every Small Group. 

If you have yet to join a small group, and would like to join one, you might want to consider  calling the church (949-609-8000) and letting them know, or click this small group link and begin discovering how you can begin. I promise you, it will be a journey that will not only bring you closer to God, it will change your life, and those around you.

It goes without saying, should you have any questions, or want to know How To Fight Spiritual Warfare, or learn the First Steps to Spiritual Growth (two other outstanding articles by Rick Warren), please feel free to contact me at any time. No concern is too small. 

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