Tempting Innocence

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Genesis 3:1-19

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. The she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Disguised as a friend, Satan came to tempt Eve. Satan had once been a glorious angel, but he rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven. Satan tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s goodness. He implied that God was strict, stingy, and selfish and withholding from her wisdom that would make her happier.  Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, caused her to focus on what God had forbidden.

Satan succeeded in getting Eve to sin. Ever since then, he’s been busy getting people to sin. He even tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). But Jesus did not sin! Why does Satan tempt humanity? Temptation is Satan’s invitation to adopt his kind of life and give up on God’s kind of life. But Satan is a created being and has definite limitations; he will not be the final victor. God will be victorious in this final controversy.

How could Eve have resisted temptation? By following the same guidelines we can follow. First, we must realize that being tempted is not a sin. We have not sinned until we give in to the temptation. Then, to resist temptation, we must (1) pray for strength to resist, (2) run, sometimes literally, and (3) say no when confronted with what we know is wrong.

Like Eve, we fall into trouble when we dwell on what God forbids rather than on the blessings and promises God gives us. Take time to consider all you do have and thank God for it. Then your doubts won’t lead you into sin.


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