As I was studying Genesis chapter three for an upcoming message I would be preaching, I was struck by something that was truly confounding. As I looked at the account of the serpent tempting the woman something really hit me. The woman knew through her husband that God had said not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God, the one who created the man and the woman, had given them permission to eat all the food in the garden, except for the fruit from this one tree. The woman and the man knew that God had given them more than enough food to eat, a perfect home in which to live, and His own personal fellowship. All of their needs were met. They knew peace, joy, and satisfaction through God and His provisions.
Yet, when the serpent showed up he twists and directly contradicts the words of God. He insinuates that God was not good because He was not allowing man to eat from all the trees in the garden (3:1). He declares that man will not die if he eats the forbidden fruit (3:4). He tells the woman that God is withholding good from man because He did not want to share the “spotlight” with anyone (3:5).
The woman’s response is very telling. She thinks according to her own reasoning that the fruit was good for eating, and that it was nice looking (3:6). But, then she makes a conclusion that she could not have made apart from the claims of the serpent. She says that the fruit would make her wise (3:6b).
Why is all of this significant? As believers we are able to know from God’s Word what is right and good for us according to God. Conversely, we also know from God’s Word what is wrong and bad for us. The same was true for Adam and his wife. They knew what God said was good for them, and what was bad for them. Sadly, they chose to trade what God said was right and good for them for what God said was wrong and bad for them. Everyday we as believers are faced with the same decisions. Frequently, we make the same destructive choice to trade what God says is right and good for what is wrong and bad.
Why do we make such a trade? It is because we think that somehow we are missing out on what is good and profitable by forsaking the things that God says are wrong and bad. We begin thinking that God is withholding good from us by saying that certain things are off-limits for us as His people. We choose to walk into the same trap as Adam and Eve. The reality is the same for us as it was for Adam and Eve. God’s Word clearly describes life as it is supposed to be lived by His gracious enablement. Life lived in such a biblical, Spirit enabled way is what is truly right and good. It is a life of God-filled joy and satisfaction. But, when we choose to involve ourselves in things that are contrary to God’s Word because we think that we are missing out on something good, and we think that those things will bring us joy and satisfaction; we will discover that the satisfaction is fleeting. It is like a mirage. Sin appears to be refreshing but it brings death.
Spirit-enabled obedience is the only means of experiencing enduring joy and satisfaction.