7.30.2011

One Bad Apple

God created a perfect world from the very beginning. He didn’t keep it to Himself, however. He passed it on to His two prized creations, Adam and Eve. They had everything! It was a free Bahama vacation and all its perks for the rest of their lives! Most of all, they had a close relationship with the Creator of that garden. Day in and day out, they could bask in the peace and beauty of the One who gave the world to them. It didn’t seem possible that something could mar such an amazing gift, but temptation still found its way to the world’s first humans.

Satan came slithering into the garden in the form of a snake, eyes gleaming with a plot to overcome God’s most recent masterpiece. He went straight for innocent Eve, beautiful and unsuspecting. Feigning care and concern for her well-being, he challenged God’s motives. “God’s keeping one tree from you?” he basically spat. “Woman, don’t you know you’re being cheated? He’s keeping His best from you!” (Genesis 2)

Eve fell for his lies, thinking she was missing something beyond what she already had. Discontent set in and she took a bite of what God never intended for her to touch.

I can picture God crying out in anguish as He watched Eve take a succulent bite of her death sentence and then pass it on to Adam. These were His children! He had given them so much. No one could have possibly topped His extravagant life and perfection. Yet they had chosen something so inferior. One piece of forbidden fruit looked better against the backdrop of shimmering, flawless fruit.

We think, “How could Eve be so dumb?” But how many times have we done the same, giving up a beautiful, wide variety of God’s blessings for one bad item in the devil’s bag of choices? The choices come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors, yet not necessarily appearing evil. The job at the most popular business in town looks alluring for its enticing pay check. The variety of cool programs at the biggest university in the state appears right up our alley. A romantic relationship with the best-looking person at school is so tempting. What’s wrong with all that?

When considering our options, we think God is holding out on us. At first glance, the options look like they could only be good. God, on the other hand, sees more than we do. He sees the floundering finances of the store at the mall. He sees the negative influences that would trip us up at the state university. He sees the deceitful heart of that charming student at school. Whatever the options are in our lives, when God gives a decisive “no” to our desires, it’s because He has something better in mind.

Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

God is not going to keep “good things” from us – if we are open to follow His instructions to receive them. Just as God wasn’t trying to squelch Adam and Eve’s pleasures, He’s not trying to keep us from the best in life by steering us clear of the rotten counterfeits of the world. He wants to open our eyes to a garden created just for us and invite us to take a bite of His goodness…and His best.