Now, the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman, “for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5.
No story in Scripture is more familiar than that of the “first woman,” taken from the rib of the “first man.” These two weren’t joined at the hip, but at the side, near to one another's hearts…and, together they walked intimately with the Lord God in the garden He created exclusively for them (Read Eve's whole story here in Genesis 3).
These two had the PERFECT LIFE… Adam and Eve dwelt in paradise….God had provided everything they needed…and, yet…
Enter the enemy.
We know him as the devil...an angel fallen from the heavens for his rebellion against God.
He's still fighting God's authority.
While still standing beside her husband, Eve, not only bit into forbidden fruit, she bit into and devoured the lies of Satan.
As I write this, I realize there is so much more to the story of Eve (so, come back for more next week); but, my whole intention is to cause us to reflect inwardly.
At one time or another, we’ve all cursed Eve under our breath, or, maybe, even out loud. After all, many of life’s problems would be eliminated were it not for her rashness.
Or, would they?
I’m fairly certain there are some traits in Eve that are familiar to each of us. So, let’s examine what happened a little more closely, and think about where Eve shows up in our hearts (believe me, I’m not pointing fingers…as someone has said, in order to do so I must be aware of the three fingers pointing back at me). Eve lives in me more than I wish.
1. God created everything in the garden and declared it all good. As God breathed life into the woman He created, she opened her eyes to paradise. Unfortunately, even in paradise, we can take our eyes off of the good and long for something more.
Eve reminds me that I can easily become dissatisfied. Not even paradise prevented this problem…
2. When we start focusing on what we don’t have, the longing for more begins to consume us – and, then, we lose our ability to "unsee" the generous heart of God. Obviously this was the case of Eve; she ignored the abundant blessings of her Creator (remember He promised her enjoyment of any tree in the garden, but she wanted the only one she couldn’t have).
Eve reminds me that the answer to my dissatisfaction is to learn to develop a heart of gratitude.
3. When she couldn’t get what she wanted, Eve began to carelessly toss God’s words around. God never said she couldn’t touch the tree. By creating new rules regarding the very thing she longed for, Eve got trapped under the heavy weight of legalism.
Eve reminds me that having a list of things to “do and not do” will always imprison me.
If my heart isn’t thankful and intimately engaged in my God, I’m sabotaging my own spirit. In other words,
I’m swapping relationship for nothing more than a man-made religion.
Religion is not what God desires from us (Ps 51:16-17). Relationship is!
Let’s stop here and ask ourselves some very important heart questions - these are questions I’ve been asking myself:
Have I learned to develop a heart of gratitude to my God for His generosity? As King David recommends, it helps to look around and start making a list – Psalm 103:1-2.
Where do I find myself dissatisfied? Where has my God not been enough? Specifically, what “more” am I looking for? Will that “something more” really give me a contented heart?
How do I treat the words of God? Am I careless with them? Have I twisted them? Added to them? Do I truly know what they say and the heart behind them?
Finally, what about relationship vs. religion? Am I investing in my relationship with Jesus, or is my spirituality nothing more than a religion/creed I live by?
After we’ve answered these questions…I think we all know what comes next...
Go back and re-read Psalm 51:16-17.