The Real Temptation
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Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
You don't have to be a Christian for a long time to learn about Temptations. Bad stuff that we know we shouldn't do. But more often than we want to, we do it anyways. And most of the time, we regret very, very quickly after "doing what we knew we shouldn't have done".
I love the story of the first temptation, the serpant tempting Eve. Cause it gives us such great insights into "what's at the heart of temptation".
Most of us know the story. God creates the whole world, in the end Adam and Eve. He puts them in this perfect Garden, gives them many trees to eat from. But He also says: "That one, don't touch. Or you'll die." (Quick sidenote: Love isn't love if it's not voluntary. That's why God put that tree in the Garden! If he doesn't give us a choice, we cannot choose to love Him.)
Adam and Eve are happy. We don't know how long they lived in this Garden. Maybe an hour. (If I was Adam, I would probably have eaten from the forbidden tree the moment God said it's forbidden) Maybe they lived there many years. But one day, the serpent comes and tempts Eve.
Genesis 3:1 ... And he said unto the woman, Yea, has God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Eve still trusts God. "Yeah, that's what He said!". So, the serpent goes to Level 2:
Genesis 3:4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
So, what's the serpent doing? Well, basically the serpant is trying to do two things with Eve:
a) The serpent wants Eve to beliebe that there is no consequence for being disobedient
b) The serpent appeals to Eve's heart's desires. "You will be like God, knowing good and evil"
Now a) is clearly a lie. But b) is actually not. Remember what happened a few verses later?
Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:
Isn't that interesting? Adam and Eve have "become like God, knowing good and evil". In other words: The serpent was right about that!
So? What was the devil's temptation then? I believe it was this: The devil tempted Eve to take things into her own hands! You know, God's plan from the very beginning was to raise us into His likeness. God withdrew just a little bit from them, so they could hear the voice of the tempter. He didn't abandon them. He simply wanted to make them see: "How will Adam and Eve respond if I'm not standing behind them? Will they trust me?" God gave them the first chance to mature: Make their own choice by their own free will. And they blew it! (I would have too! I probably would have eaten the fruit right in God's face, He didn't have to leave me alone for that!)
God gave them a choice, and they didn't take it. But what was God's plan? Like any good father, raising up his children, to make good choices and grow up. Ultimately, become like the parent. God's plan for all of us is that upon Jesus' return, we will be like Him
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
That was God's plan for all mankind from the very beginning. Create us as weak human beings who have free will. And then ultimately raise us up to become like Him. Just that God's plan didn't include sin. However, that's the way we chose.
So what's the real temptation by the devil? Well, it's not our desire to be like God! God put that desire there. And that's His ultimate purpose for all of us. That's what He wants us to become.
The real temptation is rather this: The devil tempts us us trying to achieve our destiny in our own way. He's saying: "You know, God is too slow. Yes, He promised to fulfill the desires of your heart. Yes, He said He will make you great. Yes, He said He wants the best for you. But you know? You can do that yourself, right here, right now. Just eat this fruit, and this way you have a shortcut to your destiny, a shortcut to the place of total fulfillment." That's what the devil basically said to Adam and Eve. And that's what he also tries to say to you and me.
"God wants you to have full life, right? But can you really trust His promises? And he is too slow in delivering either way. Instead of trusting God, you can have it right here, right now. Take these drugs, sleep with this person, take that money that is not really yours, and tell some lies to cover it all up. And then you'll be happy."
Does God promise us happiness? Yes! Does He promise us full life? Yes! Does He promise to give us the desires of our hearts? Yes!
But He didn't promise it right here, right now. He promised all that for eternity. And He promised to give us glimpses of that in this life. But he never promised that "once you are a Christian, you'll just get everything you want whenever you want it".
And that's the lie that the devil is trying to use against you and me today as well. So be on your guard: God has a great plan for you, a perfect plan, He wants to prosper you, give you hope and a future. But He didn't say He'll give it to you today. That voice is from the devil.
Beware of the "you can have it right here, right now, if you simply do what God didn't tell you to do". Because it's a lie. God wants to give it to you. But you can't have it your own way! Do it God's way instead!
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