Christians and non-Christians alike have heard the story of Adam and Eve. That is the first recorded story of sin entering the garden of life. But let’s look a little closer at this story….
In Genesis 3:1 it states “Now the serpent was more subtle….” it goes on to say the serpent said unto Eve “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 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.”
Notice the word “subtle”? Satan did not ask, or demand, that Eve worship him. Such a request would be too obvious. Instead? He got her to focus on herself instead of keeping her eyes on God. In turn? It caused her to sin.
Tell me the devil isn’t still working in this same manner in 2018. I’m pretty confident that 100% of the Christians I know would say “no” and stand firm if asked to worship the devil. In fact? Many of those I know who aren’t practicing Christians would also likely say no to such a request. But the devil? He’s still subtle… Christians and non alike are falling victim to the same temptation and trick Eve did. Focusing on “my desires” instead of focusing on “God’s will”. This? will lead to sin. Sin? leads to death.
“But mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy. – 2 Timothy 3:1-2
Being tempted is not a sin. We have not sinned until we give in to the temptation. Therefore, we must resist temptation. How? Pray for strength to resist. Run, sometimes literally, and say no when confronted with what we know is wrong.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
The devil will try to get you to doubt God’s goodness. He will imply that God is strict, stingy and selfish. He wants you to focus on the forbidden, instead of the countless blessings and promises God has given us. To Eve he said “Eat the apple, then you will be happy and have knowledge like a god…” He got her to focus on what she didn’t have (the apple), and instead of all the things she did (all her needs were met and beauty surrounded her). How often do we fall victim to that? How often do we focus on the one thing we don’t have, instead of all the things we do?
The devil will subtly whisper…..
“I know God said you have to forgive, but that doesn’t apply to you. You were hurt. You deserve to be angry and not forgive.”
“Look at what your friend has and you don’t? God is always blessing them and not you.”
“You will be single and lonely the rest of your life. No one will ever love you.”
“You don’t really need to tithe, you deserve that new MK purse. God would want you to have it so you look blessed and fit in.”
“Don’t waste your time witnessing to the lost, you have more important things to do today to keep your schedule running smooth.”
Those are just a few of the lies the enemy whispers to get us focused on ourselves. And what happens when we get focused on ourselves? It leads to sin, sin leads to isolation, isolation feeds depression, depression leads to falling away from the Lord’s will and can result in broken relationships. And worst case scenario? Death. The spirit starts to die and the body soon follows riddled with fear, anxiety and stress.
Some of the most successful, affluent individuals are suffering from fear, anxiety, stress and depression. Why? They are following their ideas of what will make them happy (eating the fruit of the tree) instead of fulfilling the will of God in their lives. It’s become what about me? Instead of “What would you have me to do?” We were all born with a God-given purpose. If we are not fulfilling that purpose, we know it. We have a missing, empty spot in our hearts that only the love and calling of Jesus was designed to fill.
But there is good news! As long as there is breath in the body? There’s a space for repentance, hope, and the ability to find a foundation of peace and joy.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38
The bible tells us to repent and be baptized in Christ Jesus for the remission of our sins. And then? We receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as “the comforter”.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. – Psalm 94:19
As we start seeking God’s will above our own, we start showing love to others as He has shown us. When we get our focus off ourselves, and on God’s will for our lives? Hope starts to spring forth, and depression starts to fade.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God – 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
Keep your eyes off the subtle enemy trying to steal your joy, and be vigilant to stay focused on the author of it.