Read Genesis 3:1–24
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was . . . desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.Genesis 3:6
Augustine, the fourth-century theologian, stated, “He is a man of a just and holy life that . . . keeps his affections under strict control, so that he neither loves what he ought not to love, nor fails to love what he ought to love, nor loves that equally which ought to be loved less or more, nor loves less or more which ought to be loved equally.”
Augustine defined sin as loving God too little and other people and things too much. Scripture confirms Augustine’s notion of “disordered loves,” as this was certainly true for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We will use their sin as a template for understanding temptation over the next several days.
God settled our first parents into a lush and beautiful garden. He gave them abundant food, purposeful work, perfect relationships, and best of all, His presence with them. The landscape of the garden seeded these holy desires, and God’s good and perfect gifts were meant to satisfy them and to nourish their love for and trust in God. But notice how their desires were soon corrupted.
Eve picked the forbidden fruit. Seeing that it was good for food, she recognized how hungry she was. Turning it over in her hand, she was captured by the beauty of the fruit—its color and perfect shape. Finally, she considered that it promised wisdom, a dimension of the divine nature she had worshiped. Now, she clutched it for herself.
Eve ate from the tree God had restricted. But neither hunger nor longing for beauty nor the appreciation of wisdom were wrong desires. Rather, it was that Eve despised the bounty and beauty of the Garden—God’s gift—and feasted instead on what had been forbidden.
Apply the Word
Often, this is the very nature of temptation: we find our good in someone or something other than God or His gifts. We might then ask in our struggle against sin: what do I love better than God? How am I trying to satisfy my good desires outside of God? What good gifts has God given that I might experience and enjoy as protection from sin?
Pray with Us
May the Lord provide guidance to the leadership of Betel Church. Pray for peace, encouragement, and discernment in their service at Betel.