The Three Temptations on the Misuse of Principle

The three temptations in the wilderness, recounted in Matthew and Luke, occurred just after Jesus received the baptism of the Holy Spirit through his cousin John the Baptist, and right before he began his public ministry. Satan tempted Jesus to disobey law three different ways.

While the Gospels describe these initiations as a single series of events, they are recurring and cyclic in our lives; we face these tests annually, and each time we advance a step or degree in ascension. All temptations are initiations testing our relation to Mind, Substance or Power. We face the Three Temptations each time we repeat the Mystic Degree.

The three Temptattions on the misuse of principle are an integral part of your observance of Lent as you walk the Via Christa.












Edna Lister on the Three Temptations

The three temptations are on the misuse of Substance, of Mind, and of Power. All who enter the Via Christa Path of Initiation face these temptations on the Adept Degree, after they have learned how to demonstrate. Yet, when you achieve the Master Degree, the temptations deal with self-centered interpretations of law. – Edna Lister, Three Temptations on the Way, November 12, 1950.

Jesus was a high priest in the Order of Melchizedek, an Order of Begotten Gods. Melchizedek, King of Salem, is the Ancient of Days, the Supreme Father Himself, who walked earth at stated times. We call Jesus the first and only Begotten Son because he was the first to step forth from the Source of All Light as personality. He is the only Son to hold God's full scepter of Power in his hands.

Jesus had to suffer all manners of human trials or he would not have developed complete compassion and understanding. He had to sacrifice self and become fully obedient and compassionate. Jesus' three temptations in the wilderness were to see if he would pick up the scepter of Power to use it for himself. He later used it to multiply the loaves and fishes, at the tomb when he raised Lazarus from the dead, and for all the miracles he performed, none of which was for the self. – Edna Lister, All Shall See the Salvation of God, November 22, 1953.

When Jesus went out into wilderness, he faced three great temptations. You face three new temptations to pass through on every new level in consciousness you touch. Boasting always brings a fresh challenge. – Edna Lister, Jesus, the Man of God, December 5, 1954.

You can take thirty Via Christa Degrees wholly while on earth by study and attending classes, or while on soul flights at night. However, all examinations and promotions originate in daily living on earth. In all the examinations, you meet three temptations on Mind, Substance and Power, symbolic of those temptations Christ faced during his forty days in the wilderness. These temptations always cover what you lack, your weak points, such as criticism, intellectual pride and arrogance, opinions, prejudice and revenge motives. The three temptations are the polishing, a postgraduate course in conquering. – Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 13, 1959.

An initiation consists in an illumination or a vision to achieve a higher goal, praying, and recognizing the law and what you must surrender. A new vision demands that you throw out more ballast of self so you can go higher, then vow to practice the new law. When you think, "Now I've got it. I'll never do that again," the test comes to prove your words. If you find yourself eating your words, you haven't quite got it yet. Go on after falling flat on your face and thinking how mean God is. Start again and face the three temptations on the misuse of Substance, Mind and Power in very subtle ways. All your petty demonstrations of "I will," "I won't," and every boast you have ever made confronts you, because you are scraping all your taints clean. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 27, 1961.

During Lent, the religious souls work specifically with the three temptations. We work with them all through the year. – Edna Lister, The Ten Lepers, November 15, 1964.

During the forty days and temptations in the wilderness, Jesus chose between proclaiming himself the Messiah for whom they were waiting, and walking as a Son of Man, alone, knowing where he had to go and what he had to suffer. His sacrifice was to follow the Via Christa Way, which is why we know that God cannot fail or allow evil to take over. Although we may not see the way, we know with supreme confidence. – Edna Lister, The Good Shepherd, February 14, 1965.

The three temptations are the misuse of Substance, Power and Mind. All you need do is to watch, look before leaping, stop and listen before replying, and step carefully in the next footstep. You will have challenges; watch for them. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 19, 1965.

Jesus went through three temptations on the physical, emotional-mental and spiritual levels. These match the Ten Commandments and coordinate with them, covering obedience, correct use of will and freedom of choice. The Ten Commandments teach you how to obey. The three temptations show you how to meet physical laws and what to do about them. – Edna Lister, Religion and the World, November 5, 1967.

To conquer the emotions, the Mystic must maintain constant communion with God. The Mystic faces the three temptations on the negative use of Mind, Power and Substance, or intellectualism in imagination, thinking and desire, which represent conquering the Ten Commandments on the mental level. – Edna Lister, Religion in the Modern Western World, October 22, 1968.

Once you have passed the three temptations, you stand on the pinnacle of your Mount of Transfiguration, as conquerors. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 23, 1969.

The three temptations are part of the mystical path of initiation. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 8, 1969.


The Three Temptations 1

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for February 19, 1956. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. – Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus was led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In the past, theologians, in their argument whether the subconscious self or outer devils tempted him, have lost sight of man's relationship with these temptations. It makes no difference whether he was tempted by a devil within himself or "the devil," personified in the form of a "fallen angel" on the outside. We are interested in the fact that he was tempted, even as we are, sometimes by the self, other times by the world. Every soul born into the world is tempted.

"When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry." Jesus was at his weakest point, so of course he would be tempted on hunger. Your weakest point of temptation always comes at your highest point of illumination because you feel so powerful.

Jesus' answers to the three temptations will carry you onward to Ascension. You may read of these temptations to misuse divine Substance, Mind and Power, and say, "Oh, I'd never do that!" No? Jesus was hungry when Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread.

He replied, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The law to cover this is "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added."

Is this too rigid, too hard? You can stand up under the drab, monotonous, dreary grey days of loneliness and heartache only by an abiding, unalterable, conquering faith. The first temptation is where you fail yourself and quit, or stand and add to your faith. Family demands that you "prove" your faith and power, if you have it. Or you hunger to "show them" what you can do.

St. Paul said that faith is substance. Then it follows that substance is faith. Further, any misuse of faith as doubt or fear, is misuse of substance, and you have failed your test as you fail an examination. Yet when you let "all things be added," then "love fulfills the law" for you.

You move from a faltering, wavering belief in God to a sometimes blind, sometimes clear baby faith that totters and falters before it falls down. You begin to understand faith, but you must strive for full faith.

The second temptation is to "cast yourself down" from a great height, or endanger yourself without fear of repercussions because your Guardian Angels will protect you. This deals with the misuse of Mind, and Jesus' answer was, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." This is the perfect answer.

The real temptation is to use a person's weakness, to prey on his weakness for gain. It also includes tempting another to show off, seek self glorification or exaltation, to puff up another's ego for your benefit, to use Mind for personal gains and ends. "Try it. It can't hurt if you just do it once." Never hesitate to use "You shall not tempt the Lord" for protection for yourself or for others. Even in the midst of disobedience, you can quote God's laws.

Eventually, you are taken up to a "high mountain," and shown "the glory of the kingdoms of the world." Everyone is tempted to misuse Power. Jesus' answer, "Worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve," is perfect for the occasion. He does not tell you to worship the little self, intellect, nature or the "I AM" consciousness, which are all parts of God's whole. You may not take shortcuts to the Power, be greedy, walk over broken hearts or dead bodies to God. You may not worship worldly power, adulation, ease and comfort.

You hear, accept and become law, or else you are "worshiping in the world." Everyone is so tired of waiting, but maybe God is tired of waiting. When, oh, when can He count on you?

A tired desire "looks on." Choice either "moves on," or gets so tired it quits. "I AM" superconscious mind "lives on" in tireless energy because you move up from "faith in God" to become the faith of God, unconquerable!


The Three Temptations 2

This Edna Lister sermon transcript is dated February 19, 1956. Scribe: Ruth Bender Collord. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11.

Good is the name of God on earth. When people call Jesus "a good man," they are calling him God. Arguments have been made about whether Jesus was tempted by his own spirit within or by a devil outside. When you take the "d" from devil, you have evil.

Everyone born to earth must be tempted. Our evident link is temptation.

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:1-4.

The first temptation was to turn the stones into bread. Food is your first need after fasting. "How is it," you ask, "that when I have the highest illumination, I get nailed."

God has sent you here with everything you need to protect yourself, always. Yet you will have to face temptations to learn and to trust this.

Truth student's own family often taunts him, saying, "All right, since you know so much truth, why don't you do this?" (whatever "it" is). In Jesus' case, the challenge was, "You are the Son of God. Why don't you command that these stones become bread?"

Jesus answered, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." You know that you must seek the kingdom of law, seek the right way and all shall be fulfilled.

You may say, "I know this is happening, and I know it will come to pass." yet in two or three days, you look to see if it is happening yet. Iin fact, you put it on the altar, but snatched it back.

St. Paul said, "Faith is the substance." We say, "Substance is faith." Everything can come to pass, except for what you let your faith waver about.

A seeking faith believes that a God must exist. A blind faith remains steadfast until it lets doubt and fear creep in, and misuses substance. Such faith is a "sometimes" thing and too often wonders, "Where has God gone?"

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. – Matthew 4:5-7.

The second temptation is on the Mind of God. You cannot tempt law, which is the Spirit of the Lord that goes before you and through you. When you bumble along, your channels get clogged. You are just trying law on for size.

You still may call on the law of protection to help you when something arrives unexpectedly. Yet you must call in a loud voice.

When you have entertained a guilt complex, you become clogged and speak oh so lightly, saying, "Oh, Lord, I have sinned. Please take care of this for me." Yet that limp request does not leave the room, since it has no power behind it.

If you are a prodigal son or daughter then you act like one in repentance. Give it all up to God! If you do not, if you cannot bear to surrender it, you are hiding something from God, which is, in the final analysis, impossible.

You misuse Mind when you tempt the law you are becoming. If you believe you are only thirty-five and can do it, who can gainsay you?

The "holy city" is the higher creative center within the golden bowl, the endocrine glands and nerve centers in the brain. Jesus showed us the way 2,000 years ago and set the ascension pace for us.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. – Matthew 4:8-11.

You do not worship self or any part of this universe. You must remember that you worship God.

As you live by the Overoul's "I AM" consciousness as a Christed one, you ascend in ascension of consciousness and live in the faith of God. Challenges may shake a puny faith in God, but your faith of God is unconquerable and immovable.

You cannot share your ecstasy of soul with anyone. Yet, by your works you shall be known, and through those works others may witness the ecstasy, although you cannot give it to them.

You can ascend in consciousness and share to the greatest of your ability, ignoring those who bumble just one step from believing. Ascend to that place where the faith of God does the works.


Tomorrow Is Yours 1

Edna Lister created this sermon outline for December 13, 1959. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11.

Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2.

This is a highly occult text, but is understandable if you unfold its symbolic meaning. It says that Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. Forty days represent illumination under the sacrifice of self in joy. Forty nights are forty dark facets of self you must lift, ways to misuse law or initiations in new laws. Someday we will have discovered forty different headings for the ways we can misuse I AM super-conscious mind.

In verses three, six and nine, the devil tempts Jesus to misuse the Substance of God, the Power of God, and the Mind of God. The "devil" here also represents worldly temptations and selfish taints. Forty days and nights represent the passage of time until the three great temptations come.

Everyone faces these three temptations and forty days and nights filled with heavy tests and trials by fire. When you find yourself kicking against the pricks, it is a warning that you have gone lax in your application of law. When the same people keep telling you what to do, it means you will not accept a new law.

Whenever you find yourself in a period that seems like a previous one, you have entered a new series of forty days and nights. When annoying situations or others' negative reactions hit you repeatedly, it means you have more to learn. The forty days of illumination more than equal the forty nights of temptation, provided you don't complain or lament. If you gripe, trials will beset you.

If pride has entered, you are called to prove yourself again. Tests always usher in the three great temptations. You must remember the laws you learned during those forty days, for they are the "pearls of great price" you add to your crown of comprehension of God.

Now when the tempter came to him, he said, If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:3-4.

This temptation to misuse the Substance of God teaches us that we are Godlike only insofar as we express the good. The spoken Word is our most valuable creative tool. All our statements either build or destroy; we have only blessings or curses. We are fed, not by physical bread alone, but by every word that comes from our own mouth. We feed ourselves with every statement we make, and it's a travesty how many people feed themselves a starvation diet of idle words.

Then the devil took him up into the holy city, set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down. For it is written, He shall give His angels charge over you and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. – Matthew 4:5-7.

The second temptation is misuse of the Power of God. You are tested daily to see whether you use Power or let it use you. While a temptation is a heavy test, it is also a sign of advancement, like a final examination that leads to a promotion in grade or rank. Success under heavy testing brings great promotion in heaven. This is always a point of additional initiation.

Miracles follow as you let Power use you. Others, seeing the miracles, ask or challenge you for demonstrations of Power. The lesson is to remember that the Power does the work. Whenever you pass a temptation or other heavy testing, you are called to hold fast your gains, and "Let no man take your crown" of service to God.

Again, the devil took him up to an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, All these things I will give you, if you fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Get thee hence, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve. Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him. – Matthew 4:8-11.

The temptation to misuse the Mind of God relates to the false gods of opinions, prejudices and the treasures of darkness you hold dear in the subconscious. False gods can also include land, houses, possessions, anything on the outer. The call is for loyalty to your Source. These temptations expand and enlarge your consciousness.

Failure and success in temptation is the only way for you to grow. Throughout life, you undergo repeated trials and tests. You may be tempted to rest on your laurels after a promotion, when you think you've learned a lesson and are tired of being challenged and tested. But the next lesson promptly comes and you find you are not so hot.

All tests and initiations are to rid your consciousness of self and to learn to live as an ascending creator god. Everyone repeats these phases of three until they progress from instinctive intelligence and intellectual reasoning into intuitive comprehension of divine law.

As you approach this high state of consciousness, you see that Selfishness and Unforgiveness are twins, marching hand in hand. You cannot forgive if you cannot forget. If you still remember an offense, you are only thinking about forgiving. True forgiveness wipes out the memory; you forget because the record is washed white as snow.

Every time you are promoted, you meet the same three temptations. What seems so perfect now becomes a taint later. When you suddenly comprehend the truth of your vision, you thank God for the promotion.


Tomorrow Is Yours 2

This Edna Lister sermon transcript is dated December 13, 1959. Scribes: Ruth Johnson, Irene White, Virginia Whitehead. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11.

This Scripture is highly mystical, but understandable when we unfold its symbolic meaning. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. Four represents worldly service, but forty symbolizes spiritual service, so forty days represent illumination gained by the sacrifice of self in joy.

Forty nights are phases of selfishness we must lift, ways to misapply law, or initiations in new laws. Someday we will have forty definitions of how we can misuse Oversoul's "I AM" consciousness.

The "devil" in this text represents outer darkness and selfish taints. Everyone faces forty days and nights, which represent the interval of heavy tests and trials by fire until the three great temptations come.

When you find yourself kicking against the pricks, take it as a warning that you have gone lax in your application of law. When the same people keep telling you what to do, you will not accept a new law.

You have entered a new series of temptations whenever you find yourself in a period that seems like a previous one. Repeated annoying situations and others' negative reactions means that you have more to learn under soul illumination.

The days of illumination generally more than equal the nights of temptation, provided you do not complain and lament. Trials will beset you if you gripe.

If pride has entered, you must "prove" yourself again. You must remember the laws, the "pearls of great price" in your crown of comprehension.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. – Matthew 4:3.

The spoken Word is your most valuable creative tool, and you are Godlike only as you express the good. Your statements either build or destroy, so you give only blessings or curses. Satan tempted Jesus to misuse the Substance of God for the self.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4.

Every word that comes from your mouth, every statement you make feeds you. How so many people feed themselves a starvation diet of idle words is a travesty.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. – Matthew 4:5-6.

God tests you daily to see whether you use Power, or let it use you. A temptation is a heavy test, but also a sign of advancement, like a final exam that leads to a promotion in rank. Success under heavy testing always brings great advancement on the inner, and additional initiation.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. – Matthew 4:7.

Miracles follow as you let Power use you. Then others, seeing the miracles, ask or challenge you to demonstrate this Power. Hold fast to your gains whenever you pass a temptation, and "let no man take your crown" of service to God, whose Power does the work, not you.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. – Matthew 4:8-9.

The temptation to misuse the Mind of God relates to opinions, prejudices, the self's treasures of darkness you hold dear, and false gods, which can include land, houses, or any outer possessions. Yet the call is for loyalty to your Source.

Temptations expand and enlarge your consciousness, which is the only way to grow. You demote yourself to the creature stage if you live by "human nature" ("I'm only human"), and the lower creative center urges of eating, sleeping and mating.

The self-devil asks you to fall down and worship self, with its taints and treasures of darkness. Do you tell others of your miracles to let them know something wonderful has happened, or is it pride? Do you desire that others worship you because you "know" so much?

Why be proud of having miracles? The Father's Power did the work, not you. Just thank God and store the credits for your next miracle.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. – Matthew 4:10.

You face repeated trials and tests until you ascend to Jerusalem. Self may tempt you to rest on your laurels when you think you have learned a lesson or tire of being challenged and tested, but you find you are not so hot when the next lesson promptly comes.

You reach the City of Forgiveness after you forgive yourself, and stop dragging old husks. Repent as you ascend, without wallowing in self-blame.

Everyone repeats these tests and initiations until they cleanse their consciousness of self. You must progress from instinctive intelligence and intellectual reasoning to intuitive comprehension of divine law, and learn to live as an ascending creator.

Selfishness and unforgiving blame are twins, marching hand in hand. You cannot forgive if you will not forget, and you are only thinking about forgiving if you remember an offense. True forgiveness erases the memory, and you forget because forgiveness washes the record "white as snow."

You enter a wilderness of self as you reach higher and ascend in consciousness, because Light brings up everything to be eliminated from self. During this phase in conquering self, some see life as a swamp.

To the right, Gloom gossips with Intolerance. Grief enters the Valley of the Shadow with Death.

Disease commiserates with a group of I-Do not-Cares and Wish-I-Were-Deads. Doubt and Fear are headed for the jungle with backpacks full of self. Blame and Complaint whine that weeds overgrow the path.

You may see this in the world, or worse, you may become lukewarm, depressed and go 'round in circles horizontally.

Guardian Angels point to the Path of Choice and Separation, across a desert of burning sand. If you see the Light beyond, and want to progress and ascend, the only way to cross is to forgive yourself and others.

Lay aside the weight of criticism, blame, opinions or prejudices, and consciously open forty days of illumination and trial, knowing you must cross the desert of self. Your Guards always urge you onward.

You enter a valley filled with stones that look like crouching people. They represent crystallized self taints, or soul substance misused as idle words.

You may desire to turn these stones into bread, but must choose whether to sit, saying, "This is mine," or work for healing. Do not treat self to a rest.

You may have everything you desire under the laws that govern prayer, so the first temptation is to live by the Word of God, which is "good." What you give returns to feed you, so if you speak only good, abundance returns.

For instance, if you declare that your eyesight is healed, perfect vision will stamp and number the Substance you draw from the River of Life. If you speak pessimistically about deficiencies and inadequacies, only poverty returns to feed you a starvation diet.

The valley ends at a precipice, where self tempts you to "throw yourself down" to reach the City of Forgiveness quickly. You must go around the long way, conquering to attain its beauty, so muster the courage.

People around you in the world may be doing phenomenal things, saying, "Once won't matter," but using Power to perform adept feats is tempting the Lord.

Surrender to be used by Power, to release Light as a perfect servant and instrument. Joy, love, compassion and truth are ahead of you on the path, so follow this crowd until you burst onto a plain of glory. Your body becomes Light, and you arrive at the City of Forgiveness.

You meet the same temptations whenever you are promoted. What seems perfect here becomes a taint later, on the inner.

Gratitude is the measuring rod of how much you remember. Suddenly you comprehend the truth of your vision, and thank God for the promotion. Gird your loins, look ahead to see the new laws, reach out, gather your yesterdays, cleanse them with love, and forgive them.

Tomorrow is yet unborn, and your duty is to see that it will be born in joy and bliss. What are your plans? Are you following some will 'o the wisp? You know where you are going. Cross this wilderness quickly, and travel on high, not low.

Remember to lift those you left at the Gates, so they'll ascend and see. Be proud that you can lend a hand to those behind, yet never be proud of doing or saying things that hurt others. Compassion is not sloppy sentimentality, but love, born of knowing that everyone must travel this wilderness.

How great will you make your trial? Stand out from the crowd and you'll be tested, yet nothing limits what you can do if you give God time and never waver. Your old outer sheath will fall away and you will walk in your desire body.

Bring forth your talents as a creator. Tomorrow is yours, so make your tomorrow a glory.

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Tomorrow Is Yours 1

This Edna Lister sermon transcript is dated December 13, 1959. Scribes: Ruth Johnson, Irene White and Virginia Whitehead. Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11.

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. – Matthew 4:1-11.

This Scripture is highly mystical, but understandable when we unfold its symbolic meaning. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. Four represents worldly service, but forty symbolizes spiritual service, so forty days represent illumination gained by the sacrifice of self in joy.

Forty nights are phases of selfishness we must lift, ways to misapply law, or initiations in new laws. Someday we will have forty definitions of how we can misuse Oversoul's "I AM" consciousness.

The "devil" in this text also represents outer darkness and selfish taints. Everyone faces forty days and nights, which represent the interval of heavy tests and trials by fire during which the three great temptations come.

When you find yourself kicking against the pricks, take it as a warning that you have gone lax in your application of law. When the same people keep telling you what to do, you are refusing to accept a new law.

You have entered a new series of temptations whenever you find yourself in a period that seems just like a previous one. Repeated annoying situations and others' negative reactions means that you have more to learn under illumination.

The days of illumination generally more than equal the nights of temptation, provided you do not complain and lament. Trials will beset you if you gripe and complain.

If pride has entered, you must "prove" yourself again. You must remember and apply the laws, the "pearls of great price" in your crown of comprehension.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. – Matthew 4:3.

The spoken Word is your most valuable creative tool, and you are Godlike only as you express the good. Your statements either build or destroy, so you give only blessings or curses. Satan tempted Jesus to misuse the Substance of God for the self.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4. Every word that comes from your mouth, every statement you make feeds you. How so many people feed themselves a starvation diet of idle words is a travesty.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. – Matthew 4:5-6.

God tests you daily to see whether you use Power, or let it use you. A temptation is a heavy test, but also a sign of advancement, like a final exam that leads to a promotion in rank. Success under heavy testing always brings great advancement on the inner, and additional initiation.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. – Matthew 4:7. Miracles follow as you let Power use you. Then others, seeing the miracles, ask or challenge you to demonstrate this Power. Hold fast to your gains whenever you pass a temptation, and "let no man take your crown" of service to God, whose Power does the work, not you.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. – Matthew 4:8-9.

The temptation to misuse the Mind of God relates to opinions, prejudices, the self's treasures of darkness you hold dear, and false gods, which can include land, houses, or any outer possessions. Yet the call is for loyalty to your Source.

Temptations expand and enlarge your consciousness, which is the only way to grow. You demote yourself to the creature stage if you live by "human nature" ("I'm only human"), and the lower creative center urges of eating, sleeping and mating.

The self-devil asks you to fall down and worship self, with its taints and treasures of darkness. Do you tell others of your miracles to let them know something wonderful has happened, or is it pride? Do you desire that others worship you because you "know" so much? Why be proud of having miracles? The Father's Power did the work, not you. Just thank God and store the credits for your next miracle.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. – Matthew 4:10. You face repeated trials and tests until you ascend to Jerusalem. Self may tempt you to rest on your laurels when you think you have learned a lesson or tire of being challenged and tested, but you find you are not so hot when the next lesson promptly comes.

You reach the City of Forgiveness after you forgive yourself, and stop dragging old husks. Repent as you ascend, without wallowing in self-blame.

Everyone repeats these tests and initiations until they cleanse their consciousness of self. You must progress from instinctive intelligence and intellectual reasoning to intuitive comprehension of divine law, and learn to live as an ascending creator.

Selfishness and unforgiving blame are twins, marching hand in hand. You cannot forgive if you will not forget, and you are only thinking about forgiving if you remember an offense. True forgiveness erases the memory, and you forget because forgiveness washes the record "white as snow."

You enter a wilderness of self as you reach higher and ascend in consciousness, because Light brings up everything to be eliminated from self. During this phase in conquering self, some see life as a swamp.

To the right, Gloom gossips with Intolerance. Grief enters the Valley of the Shadow with Death. Disease commiserates with a group of I-Do not-Cares and Wish-I-Were-Deads. Doubt and Fear are headed for the jungle with backpacks full of self. Blame and Complaint whine that weeds overgrow the path.

You may see this in the world, or worse, you may become lukewarm, depressed and go 'round in circles horizontally.

Guardian Angels point to the Path of Choice and Separation, across a desert of burning sand. If you see the Light beyond, and want to progress and ascend, the only way to cross is to forgive yourself and others.

Lay aside the weight of criticism, blame, opinions or prejudices, and consciously open forty days of illumination and trial, knowing you must cross the desert of self. Your Guards always urge you onward.

You enter a valley filled with stones that look like crouching people. They represent crystallized self taints, or soul substance misused as idle words. You may desire to turn these stones into bread, but must choose whether to sit, saying, "This is mine," or work for healing. Do not treat self to a rest.

You may have everything you desire under the laws that govern prayer, so the first temptation is to live by the Word of God, which is "good." What you give returns to feed you, so if you speak only good, abundance returns.

For instance, if you declare that your eyesight is healed, perfect vision will stamp and number the Substance you draw from the River of Life. If you speak pessimistically about deficiencies and inadequacies, only poverty returns to feed you a starvation diet.

The valley ends at a precipice, where self tempts you to "throw yourself down" to reach the City of Forgiveness quickly. You must go around the long way, conquering to attain its beauty, so muster the courage.

People around you in the world may be doing phenomenal things, saying, "Once won't matter," but using Power to perform adept feats is tempting the Lord.

Surrender to be used by Power, to release Light as a perfect servant and instrument. Joy, love, compassion and truth are ahead of you on the path, so follow this crowd until you burst onto a plain of glory. Your body becomes Light, and you arrive at the City of Forgiveness.

You meet the same temptations whenever you are promoted. What seems perfect here becomes a taint later, on the inner.

Gratitude is the measuring rod of how much you remember. Suddenly you comprehend the truth of your vision, and thank God for the promotion. Gird your loins, look ahead to see the new laws, reach out, gather your yesterdays, cleanse them with love, and forgive them.

Tomorrow is yet unborn, and your duty is to see that it will be born in joy and bliss. What are your plans? Are you following some will 'o the wisp? You know where you are going. Cross this wilderness quickly, and travel on high, not low.

Remember to lift those you left at the Gates, so they'll ascend and see. Be proud that you can lend a hand to those behind, yet never be proud of doing or saying things that hurt others. Compassion is not sloppy sentimentality, but love, born of knowing that everyone must travel this wilderness.

How great will you make your trial? Stand out from the crowd and you'll be tested, yet nothing limits what you can do if you give God time and never waver. Your old outer sheath will fall away and you will walk in your desire body.

Bring forth your talents as a creator. Tomorrow is yours, so make your tomorrow glorious.

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New Testament on Temptation

And when much people were gathered together, and were come to [Jesus] out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. – Luke 8:4-13.

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. – Matthew 4:1-11.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. – James 1:12-15.

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Temptation in Other Sacred Literature

The Lord will be found by those who tempt Him not; and shows Himself to those who trust him. – Wisdom of Solomon 1:2.

If you come to serve the Lord, prepare your soul for temptation. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 2:1.

Before you pray, prepare yourself; and be not as one who tempts the Lord. – Wisdom of Ben Sirach 18:23.

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Etymology of tempt: Latin temptare "to feel, try out, attempt to influence, test."


All temptations are initiations.


References

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.


Related Topics

See Force

See Lent

See Lent in Sermons and Lectures

See Stations of the Cross



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