1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Good ol’ Eve. The mother of us all. We like to blame her for all our problems. Isn’t it her fault we have cramps, menopause, and stressful relationships?
But who among us could say he/she would have done any better? Who can say he/she wouldn’t have been tempted by the serpent’s slick words?
After all, sin is pursuing us (Genesis 4:6). Temptation is chasing us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Death is wanting us. (James 1:15).
And where does it all start? The enemy comes at us in a seemingly innocent way. He puts a bug in our ear and gets us questioning. Did God really promise that? Did God really say that to me? Did God really put that dream in my heart? Will God really come through for me?
And once we allow him to plant that seed, we start to wonder. We start to doubt. We start to question. We start to waver.
And then he has us.
It started with Eve with a simple question. The serpent asks Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). One question. One slightly off intonation. One presumption. And he has Eve’s full attention. He gets Eve thinking. He gets Eve talking.
And then he takes control of the conversation. He calls God out on the carpet for being untruthful with them – “4 Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:4-5).
And it spirals downward from there. He gets her to reconsider everything she thinks and believes. She starts to look at the tree. She starts to consider the fruit. And then her free will takes over and starts to act on it.
And the elements of desire – “… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life …” (1 John 2:16) – take over:
- Lust of the flesh: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food” (Genesis 3:6)
- Lust of the eyes: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was … pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6)
- Pride of life: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was … also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6)
And she chooses to give into the temptation of being equal with God. She chooses to surrender to the desire of being wise beyond her human capabilities. And her world, as she knew it, suddenly implodes around her.
For in giving into her free will, she is suddenly aware of who she is, where she is, and how she is. Genesis 3:7a says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked”. She was no longer at her best. She was no longer under God’s protective grace. She was no longer innocent.
And what happens?
- Genesis 3:7b – she covers herself (innocence has been overcome by shame)
- Genesis 3:8 – she hides from the face-to-face presence of God (intimacy has been overwhelmed by pride)
- Genesis 3:10 – she is fearful of God’s judgment (peace has been overwritten by fear)
- Genesis 3:12-13 – she is blamed by Adam, and then she blames the serpent (contentment has been turned by accusation and lack of responsibility)
And it would be so easy at this point to judge Eve. To sit accusingly and think I am better than she was. That I would have made a different decision. That I could have walked away without issue. But I know that these are untrue statements. For I have faced the serpent many times, and he has tempted me out of God’s will. I haven’t always made the better choice. I haven’t always made the wise choice. I haven’t always made the choice to follow God’s will. So really, if I am truly honest, I am no better than Eve.
And that makes her real. That makes her relatable. That makes her human. And that makes me compassionate. That makes me humble. That makes me appreciate grace.
For I realize I am constantly being chased by the lusts and pride of this world. I am constantly battling temptation for a prime place in my heart. I am constantly being bombarded by wrong thoughts wanting to plant themselves in my mind.
And I don’t want to fall into the same temptation as Eve. I don’t want to go my way instead of God’s way. I don’t want to think I know better, can do better, or be better than God. So I will be watchful, be prayerful, and be hopeful. And God bless me each day for trying!
Marie Fremin, 2/14/16