A House DividedBy: Joseph H. Murray
The Spirit of God coming into the body of Jesus at John’s Baptism of Him, in the river of Jordan, made Him the temple or the house of God.
After the Lord “suddenly came to the temple” (Mal. 3:1), the Lord inside the body of Jesus could say, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
Before Jesus could make this statement, He had to go into the wilderness and conquer the three elements of the world that would draw Him aside from doing the Father’s will. To the lust of the flesh, when He was tempted of the devil to turn stones to bread, He said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:3–4).
To the pride of life, when He was asked to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, He said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:6–7).
When we get into this spirit of pride of life, we get careless and reckless and do things and take chances that will tempt God to destroy us, and this is dangerous ground (exceeding the speed limit).
To the third and most appealing element of the world, the lust of the eye, Jesus said, when Satan offered Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would bow down and worship him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:8–10).
Until we, as Christians, conquer these three elements, 1) “The lust of the flesh”, 2) “The pride of life”, and 3) “The lust of the eye”, the devil is not going to leave us alone; he has something invested in us, and neither are the angels going to come and minister to us.
As long as we are entangled in either one of the three elements of the world, we are a “house divided against itself” and will fall. In other words, we are a house divided against ourselves.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17).
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
When a Christian makes the grade that Jesus did when Satan had tempted Him on all three counts, “the lust of the flesh,” “the pride of life,” and “the lust of the eye,” there is no reason for Satan to hang around. We will be ready to meet God in peace, for we shall have attained to what Jesus had accomplished when He said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). And, the righteousness of God will be complete in us (2 Cor. 5:21).
God is seeking men and women whose single purpose is to do His will for their lives. He must have our undivided attention. The goal for living must be to please God and, that, from the heart. Then our spiritual insight will be single.
And Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:22–24).
It was pride that caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven. Isaiah told of his fall, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isa. 14:12–17)
When we are allowed by God to be stripped of our glory and prosperity by the hand of Satan, God is trying to tell us something. We cry out to God, Why me? And He, by allowing us to go through these things, is saying, Hey! Soul, you are not doing so hot. Take a look at yourself and see as I am seeing you and make amends and do right and I will return to you.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). God cannot and will not allow true saints to prosper beyond the condition of the soul. But, “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11).