TAKE ANOTHER BITE
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
This morning was one of those days. I got up & from the get-go, I wanted to run away…solely to escape the messy, work-in-progress-piles scattered on my desk. Researching, phone calls, & appointments… all with the hope of better options & solutions for life. I’d like it all to be completed quickly. But I presently can’t see the outcomes, let alone control the timing. My family tells me I’m “good” at this kind of stuff. I beg to differ. If I was “good” at it, I wouldn’t be so exasperated about all of it…would I?
I’ve been praying myself through these decisions. I asked God to make it clear which direction we should go & which specific options we should choose. It’s a faith-building, faith-stretching experience that’s not very much fun, for me anyway. It would be a piece of cake to some folks. But it clearly reveals my weaknesses & my lack of knowledge has come front and center quite a few times. I keep pressing forward, thinking that each day might be the day that wraps things up. The good Lord uses these kinds of uncomfortable situations to repeatedly drive home the reality of my need for Him & my need for people who are gifted in the areas where I’m lacking.
In my moments of internal warring against my own fatigue & mental defeat, I’m reminded that there’s really nothing new under the sun when it comes to my natural bent toward independence & wanting life to go my way. My control says, “Let’s keep things short, sweet, & simple.” That way, I can move on to the tasks that I’d rather be doing, or that I planned to do but had to put off. Because it feels like the clock is ticking faster than it used to. And I might not accomplish the things that mean the most to me.
In my lifetime, I’ve often heard many folks jokingly blame their earthly trials on Adam & Eve. Granted, their consequences weren’t pretty. But in all honesty, if they hadn’t messed things up, it would’ve been someone else, at some point, don’t you think? It might even have been me...or you. The proverbial apple, the insatiable quest for knowledge to gain control, is always dangling right in front of our faces! (I can’t speak for you, but I have daily opportunities to recognize this battle in my life.) The enemy hasn’t really changed his tactics either. He taunts us & lies to us, in his efforts to draw us away from intimacy & dependency on Jesus Christ. Like in the garden with his appeal to Eve, Satan can make personal “smarts” look so delectable that we easily forget the devastation that eventually follows from our fleshly, me-first choices. He comes in through the back-doors of secrecy, shame, deception, & distortion of Scripture. (See 2 Corinthians 4:2)
Can you think of any sin that isn’t birthed from some type of lie? That apple is just so perfect, so incredibly beautiful! One time won’t matter. Who would ever know? So, we take another bite, with the goal of protecting ourselves. But it doesn’t stop there. Our actions have an ever-increasing ripple effect & always affect someone. We often respond in the same way that Adam & Eve did when God caught/confronted them. We blame someone else for our actions or, in some cases, for our inaction. Adam blamed Eve & she blamed the serpent. Ultimately though, they blamed their Creator… hard to believe, looking in, 2000+ years later. WOW! Pride reacted & reared its ugly head! Initially, they likely panicked when they heard God calling them. Truthfully, can’t you identify?? Satan had successfully deceived them by distorting God’s Words. Total exposure shamed them to the point of running to avoid being seen…to avoid responsibility. And ever since that choice, this response comes as naturally to us humans as breathing.
I don’t believe God was caught off guard by the Fall in Eden. Saddened maybe, by having a heaven-on-earth existence ungratefully thrown back in His face. And for what? Nothing…absolutely nothing…except spiritual & relational death… for the rest of their lives. We can critique Adam & Eve. We can throw out our two-cent theology on why we think it happened. We can even feel badly for their spiritual stupidity. I mean, they did know the Truth, right? They had lived perfection & thrown it away. They walked with God & sold Him out for a “bite.” Long term, Adam warred with basing his value/identity on work, by assessing how well he controlled the weeds. Eve loved Adam but waged her own internal battles between submitting & the desire to control her husband. And their kids, now conceived & raised in pain, well…they hated each other…to the point of murder. Some trade-off, huh?
I hope you see the hypocrisy in blaming Adam & Eve for the consequences of your choices, today. Or in blaming anyone else, for that matter. I hope you can empathize with Eve’s internal struggle while she stared at that forbidden fruit. Can you imagine the lies…smell the scent…feel the pull of the possibilities…lulled by a sort of numbing spiritual amnesia---that forgets Who’s you are & what you possess??? Everything…lost in a heartbeat. They must’ve felt sickened inside their souls. I know I do when I make stupid choices…choices where I really know better but deny the Truth.
Jesus Christ paid His Father’s reconciliation price by shedding His blood on the Cross. He conquered the power that the resulting sin had over us, because of spiritual death, so that we need not be helpless captives to our own fleshly desires, to the lies of the enemy, or the ungodly draws of the world. It’s a sanctifying remaking process and, totally secure in Christ, we can live victoriously—moment by moment. Will we fail at times? Absolutely! But through the gift of His Holy Spirit at salvation, Jesus satisfied God’s requirements. We don’t have to live daily depending on ourselves, taking “bites” to function on a never-ending wheel of good works to prove our worth & value. He loves us. He has already approved us. He rerouted our eternal destiny from a tormenting life separated from God’s presence (hell) to a glorious eternity of never-ending perfection in His presence (heaven). And in the meantime, Jesus has gifted us with our own spiritual “Garden of Eden,” while we serve Him on earth.