(Just a little funny here,
before we look at a really serious subject)
Genesis Chapter 3 tells the story of Adam and Eve's lost relationship with God through sin.
1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?" 2. And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3. but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" 4. And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die! 5. "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make [one] wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10. And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." 11. And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12. And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." 13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Having read this chapter again, I want to spend more time on this than the book covers. We can find some really important things to look at in Genesis Chapter 3. God has highlighted some points that we all need to think about when it comes to dealing with temptation and sin, and then how we react and relate to God after the fact.
1. God never changes and His Word, the Bible, never changes. It is just as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago, or 4,000 years ago, or however long ago that this time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden occurred in this chapter in Genesis. It's not mythology, it's not fabricated to "prove a point". It's not a metaphor. It's the Truth. Now, having said that, if any of you doubt or don't believe there is an actual spiritual entity out there called Satan; I have two words for you... WAKE UP!
2. In verse 1 we need to realize that Satan is crafty. He is real and smart and devious. Don't lose sight of this. He will trick you, lie to you, and maneuver you with thoughts and ideas.
3. Satan looks for our "comfortable times". Adam and Eve were living the good life. All their needs were being met. Life was "cushy" and they were enjoying themselves. Don't let the enemy into your life at all. Always be on guard. Don't get too comfortable in your spiritual life, thinking everything is great and you are beyond the idea of temptation. Satan is looking for opportunity to catch us "off guard".
1 Peter 5:8-9
8. Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9. But resist him, firm in [your] faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
4. Don't "engage" the enemy with conversation. It won't lead to anything good. If he starts talking to you, don't listen or talk back, except to tell him to get out of your mind and life "In Jesus Name". Satan cannot read your mind. He's not all knowing. How he presents himself in our mind is by his interjecting "thoughts". If you keep hearing in your heart and mind something that says. "You're no good... you're stupid...you're not worth it...you'd be better off dead"...any number of things. You are hearing from Satan. Recognize his deceit and rebuke him. Then stop listening.
5.This is why we need to be reading the Word of God daily. Spend time with the Lord, so that just like a counterfeit $20 bill, you will know it. The more time you spend reading the scripture and praying, the more easily you will be able to recognize when the devil starts trying to talk. Put God's Word in your mind and in your heart daily. Know the Truth of God's Word, then you won't be confused with what the devil may be throwing at you.
6. Realize that just like in the previous point, Satan will twist scripture to try to get you confused. He will take it out of context and change words and ideas around to try to get you to listen to him. He's smart, and he knows God's Word. He will try to make you question what God has said to you, and tempt you with doing it your own way. If Satan cannot keep us out of the Bible, then he will try to use it against us, by condemnation and misuse. There is a big difference between "condemnation" and "conviction". "Condemnation" makes you feel horrible and is not used by the Holy Spirit. "Conviction" is for positive change and doesn't beat you over the head. It's encouraging and challenging, without making you feel rotten.
7. Guard your attention, and interests. Don't get off into something that God has not permitted or orchestrated for you. Be careful what comes in front of your eyes and ears. If you set around reading novels about lust and romance and adultery, I can tell you it won't be long before the devil sees your interest in it. If you're reading and thinking about adultery and promiscuity, then hey, it won't be long before the enemy will present you with a real opportunity to experience it!
If you are trying to budget but you find yourself looking through catalogs and magazines, wanting everything you see, it won't be long until your charge card is burning in your hand and you're off to the mall.
Stay focused on God and what He puts in front of you. Don't let the enemy have place in your thought life.
8. Now I'm going to make a big point here. Husbands listen up. Men, you can stop playing the blame game. Pastors and teachers...read your Bible. This wasn't all Eve's fault!
OK, I've said it! This has always bugged me, that sanctimonious men have blamed Eve for all that happened. Not only punishing Eve, but every other woman. If you will read the scripture, you will realize that Adam was right there with her. Adam had authority in the Garden; not Satan and not Eve. It was Adam's responsibility to stick with his wife and watch over her, cover her, and protect her. He was the "spiritual head of his family" and he messed up. He didn't take authority over the devil and say, "Hey, stop talking to my wife!" He let the conversation go on and didn't stop it. He wasn't walking in his place of husband, leader, and protector. I could go on here and preach a sermon, but I won't. I'll stop now. But I hope you get my point!
9. So then, after we sin what is our first inclination? To run away from God? We try to hide and hope He won't see the mess we have made. We hope if we pull the covers over ourselves that He won't find us. We can't escape from God. We can try to run away, but the day will come when God stations Himself front and center in our path and then we will be forced to let God deal with us and our sin. It's best not to put it off. Come clean before God quickly, it's so much better.
10. Don't make excuses, and don't blame others. Sin is sin and we have to admit it. I remember at one time there was something that was plaguing me and I kept doing it. God had been speaking to me about it for quite awhile. It was something that I held onto and didn't want to let go of. I kept making excuses for my behavior, giving Him every reason in the book for why it should be acceptable to Him. One day He said to me. "Stop making excuses, it is sin and you better call it that." It was a strong word and believe me it got my attention!
11. God forgives our sin, but there are sometimes consequences. God is quick to forgive our transgressions. He is there to help us, move us forward, and encourage us. He loves us more than we could possibly know. But, we live in a "natural" world with natural "laws". If you jump off a building you will hit the ground...a natural law. Now, God will forgive your impulsiveness, your blindness, your stupidity, your arrogance, your lack of good judgement, etc.; but you will still be dead or disfigured.
This has been a lesson God gave me this morning. This is a real-time teaching that God has impressed upon me today, not from the book.
Tomorrow we'll pick up with our consequences from "the fall".
Let me know how this lesson effected you. I know it's a lot of food for thought. I am going to be having this in my head and heart all day today!
much love in Jesus,