The Real Temptation

by Norman Grubb

We recognize that the real temptation is to make me think I am the independent self that I am not. Then I am again “under the law,” yet cannot fulfill it, because independent self is really Satan as me (Matt. 16:23). It is the sin of unbelief. What then do I do? I quickly recognize that the problem is not my having flesh-temptation, but rather my temporarily forgetting (2 Peter 1:9) that I am no longer an independent self.  Who I am is simply and solely an expresser of Christ in His nature. Therefore, as quickly as I can, I accept the fact of being tempted, for we live in a totally tempting world. Accepting that, I don’t deny or resist the temptation.

Then this was the final height into which He called Abraham. Now, this is ‘temptation upwards’. The temptation is up to, not down from. Temptation is tempting me to move up … move up … go on higher! This is what God’s after … tempt me up to new callings of obedience and faith … and reproduction which follow. Our whole life is to be lived on the tempted level  –  being tempted that God may do something more through us. That’s real temptation, that part!

See, all of Jesus’ temptations centered around [flesh] … although Satan tried to pull Him down … His temptations weren’t flesh as we call flesh. He was tempted to utilize God for personal purposes. Utilize God! “Use Your power to turn God’s power to turn stone into bread. You ought to run the world. You ought to be known for who You are. Judge from the temple and the people will see God preserved here.” They’re all up and up … because in Jesus’ whole Spirit was elevated. So He was to be one of God’s agents … so it wasn’t the other things which were pulling at Him. They may have done as well, because He was tempted in all points. The temptation’s on another level of ‘self ways’ in which He could complete the purposes of God, and He had to decide between ‘self ways’ and God’s ways … which had to start, of course, by the redemptive process before there could be the renewal process.

And that leads to the final issue – the final cleverness of Satan is to pull us into temptation as e.g. Galatians 5:16-18 and we think temptation is to some wrong end, fear hate, lust etc. But it isn’t. The real temptation is to get me to slip back into saying “I ought not”. Bang! Back into independent self, and now we are caught! At once as if we are independent selves, back comes the law and says, “and you ought not”. And down we go into struggle, condemnation or even sin. The sin is to believe again that we are independent and ought not. The truth is, when you at last know there never has been such a thing as independent  self, then you say, ‘Yes, I’m being pulled by outer soul-body to respond to Satan, but I’m not there to respond. There is no such thing as an independent Me. I am Christ as me.” And then of course the Christ nature, now mine, of love, faith, purity etc. overflows and light swallows up dark. We are free, says Paul in those verses, when we see we are not under the law, because there isn’t a me to be under it! The temptation was to be pulled to think there was, such a me. And we learn that the hard slow way!


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