“Say What?”

            A funny thing happens sometimes when I sit down to write.  It’s not writer’s block.  It’s more like a brain drain.  I know what I want to say, or at least I think I do; but certainty escapes me.  I have to look up things that I thought should have come to me effortlessly, whether it’s the meaning of a word or a Bible verse.  My kids won’t let me forget the time I asked them how to spell soccer.  This is annoying, but it can be a good thing, too.  It’s always a good idea to be sure of something.  Did such and such an event really happen the way I think I remember it?  Did so and so really say that?  What does this verse really mean?  Putting things in writing puts a new perspective on things for me.

            As a kid, did you ever play the gossip game?  I’ve heard it called other things, but the concept is that the group sits in a circle and passes a message around.  Someone whispers a message to the person next to them, and by the time the message gets back to the first person, it can be humorously mangled and perhaps completely different.  It’s clear that several players aren’t certain of what they’ve heard, and some accommodate by  making up their own changes to the message.  Thankfully it’s only a game.

            There’s a classic and very important example of this in Scripture, and it affects each of us.  In Gen. 2:16-17 God gives these instructions:  “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  When the serpent confronts Eve later, he quizzes her on God’s instructions. When she replied, she added something.  Can you find it in the following quote?  “…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.’” (Gen. 3:3).   God didn’t say Adam and Eve couldn’t touch the tree.  Maybe cautioning herself not to touch it was her way of avoiding temptation’s troubles.  Nonetheless, the serpent focused on something else.  He said, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).  He prompted Eve to doubt and disbelieve what God had made quite clear.  It was too much for her.  She was tempted, which is not a sin in itself; but she yielded to that temptation, and that was sin.  In I tim. 2:12-15 Paul points out that Eve was deceived, while Adam was not.  Adam walked into disobedience consciously and willfully.

            Eve gave into her senses and emotions when she disobeyed.  How many times have you and I done something wrong because we gave into senses and emotions?  Would you believe every time?  A New Testament verse spells out exactly this attitude.  In I John 2:16 John writes:  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  In v. 15 and 17, he says not to love the world because these things will pass away.  “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (v. 15).  Jesus said a man can’t serve two masters (Mt. 6:24).  Loving our Lord or loving this present world isn’t an area where we’re capable of multitasking.  The pull of both can be very strong.

            Take some time to read Romans 7, and you’ll see Paul’s struggle with wanting to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, while feeling the pull of the fleshly nature we all have.  The remedy is Christ.  Romans 5 shows Adam brought death, but Christ brought life by His wonderful grace. We have forgiveness through Christ.  You can know it.  Be sure of it.  Rom. 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Praise God, His Word is true.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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