“And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about”. Luke 4:13-14
Savior God (Jesus) endured a excruciating season of temptation in the wilderness.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin”.(Heb 4:15 MKJV). He overcame the devil with his Divine truth and Divine power. Eventually conquering death and hell, “without sin”, he became unto us a High Priest. An advocate in times we are struggling and needing His help to choose the right path. It was an example to us, of how, we too could overcome the world and the devil.
“The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it”. (1 Co 10:13 ERV)
When the devil had ended all the temptations, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit”. By overcoming the devil and the world, “without sin,” all His Divine power was released inhibited. Again, this was an example of God’s truth and God’s love toward His church. So when we are tried and tempted, we can tap directly into this “power of the Spirit” to overcome our trials.
The Apostle Paul was referring to that power when he said; “In power of miracles and wonders, in power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and all around to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ”. (Rom 15:19 MKJV)
For the sake of discussion, we will use Sigmund Freud’s central, theoretic construct of psychology on how to relate this to the mind and the will when a Christian is exposed to temptation.
“We assume that mental life is the function of an apparatus to which we ascribe the characteristics of being extended in space and of being made up of several portions [ Id, ego, super-ego]. —Freud, An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940). We picture the unknown apparatus, which serves the activities of the mind, as being really like an instrument constructed of several parts (which we speak of as ‘agencies’), each of which performs a particular function, and which have a fixed, spatial relation to one another; it being understood that by ‘spatial relation’ — ‘in front of’ and ‘behind’, ‘superficial’ and ‘deep’ — we merely mean, in the first instance, a representation of the regular succession of the functions. —Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis (1926)
I am not expounding on psychology, but only using it as an illustration and a tool to illuminate Scripture. Freud said that there was a “unknown apparatus” which “serves the activities of the mind”. The “unknown apparatus” in this case is what we call the “soul” of man in Scriptures.
Diddly goop you say. However, to break down these 4 aspects of the human soul further from a spiritual perspective; 1. ‘spatial relation’ = being in a material world in relation to eternity. 2. ‘in front of’ = To be in a position of looking toward God. 3) ‘behind’ = To be in a position of looking away from God. 4) ‘superficial’ = the mind is in worldly concerns, and ‘deep’ = the mind always is in relationship with eternal matters.
But as every Christian knows, we are born with a sinful nature. Which tends to break every law of God’s kingdom. Examine Romans chapter 7. Paul bemoans the fact the will and mind are turned upside down because we are born and ever carry this wicked bend toward sin (Yi, Yi, YI!). “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not. I am so human. Sin rules me as if I were its slave. I don’t
understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do the good I want to do, and I do the evil I hate”. (Rom 7:14-15 ERV)
The “Id” Knows
To illustrate this further, let us look at what Freud described as the “Id”; “The id (German: Es) is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human’s basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. The id is the part of the mind containing the drives present at birth; it is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The id operates according to the pleasure principle, the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse”. (Wikipedia). Sound familiar? Of course most are God given impulses to function and survive in this world. But to participate in them to excess is sin and death.
According to Freud; “It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations…. It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.” (1933) This description could be used to describe hell itself!.
This is a word that is readily known in the English speaking world. Freud describes it as; “It seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bring grief. The ego attempts to mediate between id and reality, it is often obliged to cloak the unconscious. The reality principle that operates the ego is a regulating mechanism that enables the individual to delay gratifying immediate needs and function effectively in the real world”.
In other words, the ego does not deny the Ids desires, it only cloaks it’s intentions. To get those desires, the ego plans and executes schemes, usually through deception. For example, an individual (id) may desire another person’s spouse, money and possessions. But because of the restraints of civil law, standing in the community or fear of bodily harm, the ego has to devise ways to obtain them for the Id.
“The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish,causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, being filled with envy,getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you
now as I warned you before: The people who do these things will not have a part In God’s kingdom”. (Gal 5:19-21 ERV)
The Overcoming Christian
The key here is “sinful self” which is called the devil in Scripture. Which is the love of self and the placing of self above others. God’s kingdom and every single aspect of His character is the complete opposite. Our power over temptation is found in God’s essence; Love. “We love Him because He first loved us”. (1 Jn 4:19 MKJV)
“In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit. Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. During his life as a man, he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death–death on a cross. So God raised him up to the most important place and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. God did this so that every person will bow down to honor the name of Jesus. Everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow. They will all confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” and this will bring glory to God the Father. My dear friends, you always obeyed what you were taught. Just as you obeyed when I was with you, it is even more important for you to obey now that I am not there. So you must continue to live in a way that gives meaning to your salvation. Do this with fear and respect for God. Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it. Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. But you are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right. Among those people you shine like lights in a dark world, and you offer them the teaching that gives life. So I can be proud of you when Christ comes again. You will show that my work was not wasted–that I ran in the race and won. Your faith makes you give your lives as a sacrifice in serving God. Maybe I will have to offer my own life with your sacrifice. But if that happens, I will be glad, and I will share my joy with all of you”. (Php 2:5-17 ERV)