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Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” - Genesis 3:1 (NIV)
I’ve never seen a talking snake, but I’ve seen a talking horse. Mr. Ed was a staple in rerun syndication in my home. It wasn’t a real talking horse, just a TV show impersonation. Everyone knows horses can’t talk. According to the Bible, though, a snake can and did.
The Genesis account details the Bible's description of the origin of sin. Satan, taking the form of a snake, asks Eve a question that implants doubt in her mind. Doubt that God is ultimately good and has her best in mind. The doubt that lingers presses in on Eve. That nagging question from the beginning of mankind lingers in all of our minds. The devastating consequences of the nagging doubt that “God knows best” have been a curse ever since.
We’ve all considered that question over and over again. Think about all the implications of that question for us today. Did God really say… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor… Flee from sexual immorality… Keep the marriage bed pure… Honor your father and mother… Submit to one another out of reverence for God?
The air we breathe in America is one of independence. This can be a true and real blessing; but when left unchecked, it’s a curse. We abandon God’s loving guidance for life and miss out on true freedom, in pursuit of independence. We become slaves to sin and selfishness because we embrace the doubt behind the question, “Did God really say...?” God’s best is found in simple and outright obedience. We may have never seen a talking snake, but we’ve all heard his voice.
But God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” - Genesis 3:3 (NIV)
I recently saw a commercial with a dating couple and three cars. The commercial’s host explained the first car was for when the couple moved in together. The next car was for when they had a kid. The final car was for when they now had multiple kids and dogs. A car commercial had laid out the lie that it’s perfectly normal to move in together, have a couple kids, and live happily ever after. God is clear that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage, but today that is dismissed almost entirely by our culture. The enemy wants to re-engineer “family,” and the evidence is all around.
Now, I can get very preachy about the ills of society, advertising, and mass media. I can nail the players involved to the wall. I can make a case for how much any and all should be blamed. I could call for a boycott of this carmaker, the company that made the commercial, and the station that ran the ads. However, there is one singular force working behind the scenes in all of these groups. The Enemy has dulled senses and manipulated Truth long before anyone had ever imagined television or advertising.
Today, I want to move the focus from that misguided advertisement and put it on my own misguided heart. Like Eve, I’m very clear on God’s instruction. Chances are you are too. We know what God has instructed us. Where we break down is denying ourselves enticing pleasures that move us away from the heart of God. Satan entices in 1,000 ways, and it’s vital that we wake up to it.
“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” - Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV)
In 2013 FOMO was added to the Oxford dictionary. FOMO is an acronym for “the fear of missing out.” Eve experienced this a very, very long time ago. The serpent draws out a sense of anxiety in Eve. It’s the idea that there is something out there that God is keeping from her. God could have given her more, but He’s holding back. God wants to keep the real fun for Himself. Life would be so much better if she would break through His repressive scheming and really live. Eve’s FOMO stirs up something in her.
Where in life do you fear missing out? Where do you sense you’d be happier if you weren’t held back by God? Common areas where people think they are repressed is in their finances, sexuality, or familial responsibilities. We fall prey to the idea that the framework God draws around us is meant to hold us back from real joy and pleasure.
What is true is that God knows that our limited freedom actually leads to our maximum satisfaction. Like Eve we tend to think and feel that there is something more out there. Shouldn’t I get to overspend from time to time? Should a married person really not flirt? Do I have to be the responsible one in my family all the time?
God loves you and has your best in mind in all things physical, emotional, and spiritual. Jesus told an audience once that God’s not holding out on us. In fact, He’s supplied the birds of the air and flowers of the field with what they need, and He’ll take care of us too.
When the serpent whispers to you that there is more out there remind him of these words from Jesus.Share Tweet
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took it and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. - Genesis 3:6 (NIV)
My six-year-old cries out in exasperation sometimes, “It’s my stupid brain that makes me do it!” Inevitably, we’re scolding him for something he knows he shouldn’t do and he cries out in delirious frustration. He knows the right thing, but he’s done wrong and the tension of right and wrong and sin and obedience are so precariously frustrating.
We can all identify with that. I don’t want to lose my mind when I get cut off in traffic, but I do. I don’t want to overreact, but I do. I don’t want my eyes to wander, but at times I let them. Paul, one of the most impactful Christians ever, said it this way, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do -- this I keep on doing.”
Eve had just told the serpent that you must not touch or eat the fruit, but she did it anyway. She knew what to do; it’s just that it was so appealing and surely God didn’t mean what He said and… she blew it. Adam and Eve both gave into temptation and committed the very first sins in recorded history. Sin is about as old as time itself. The tension between knowing right and doing wrong has tortured mankind forever.
The Good News of the Gospel is that, in Christ, God is no longer holding our sins against us. That tension we fight is addressed at the cross as Jesus takes on sin and defeats it. We break the curse of sin when we accept Jesus as our Savior.
In light of knowing right and doing wrong, take time to confess any sins you’ve been ignoring. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior then check this out.Share Tweet
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10 (NIV)
This week we’ve seen firsthand how the Serpent worked on Eve. It’s been said that it’d be easier to recognize Satan’s work if he really did dress in red and carry a pitchfork around. The reality is he’s been deceiving since before the world was created and he’s doing all he can to steal, kill, and destroy.
In recent years there has been a phenomenon of “cleanses.” You can cleanse from lots of things, usually diet related. It’s a way for people to hit the reset button. One time I traveled to Costa Rica and ate a very different cuisine for a week. I was in the mountains and consumed mostly rice, beans, vegetables, and small amounts of chicken. My body had slowly adapted to a better diet. I had lost some weight and then tried to gain it all back in one sitting at the mall food court. I’ll never forget how heavy that double cheeseburger, garbage bag of fries, and bucket of Coke sat in my gut. My system was shocked. The bad food I was used to ingesting now hit me hard.
Satan works like that. We consume and engage his work all the time, but rarely stop, get close to God, and detox our soul from his influence. Fortunately, believers have the Holy Spirit inside them, but Satan is relentless in his pursuit of us. So, heading into the weekend, let’s work to carve out time for a quiet inventory. Let’s ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to show us the places where Satan has polluted our lives. Let’s then resolve to cut them out.