“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat” (Genesis 3:1-6).
See the last part of the passage? It doesn’t say, “And when the woman thought of God’s command not to eat the fruit, she took…and did eat.” It also doesn’t say, “And when the woman thought of God’s warning that she would die, she took…and did eat.” That’s because Eve wasn’t focused on God’s command or His warning, but rather was focused on enjoying the fruit. Satan convinced her to doubt God’s Word: “Yea, hath God said?” He also got her to think she might escape the consequences of sin: “Ye shall not SURELY [capitals added] die” and to focus on the pleasure of the act. She and Adam ate, and the rest is history. Hebrews 11:25 talks of “the pleasures of sin FOR A SEASON [capitals added].” Sin has its pleasure, but it also has its price.
The story of Adam and Eve is true. Jesus said, “…he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). We see in this story how we inherited a nature to sin from Adam and Eve. We also see how Satan tempts—he strives to take our focus off God and off possible consequences, and focus on pleasure. This plan still works. Did you ever say a harsh word, then right away regret what you’d said? However, it was too late. Even if you apologized, you couldn’t take back what you said. Words really can hurt. Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword.” You thought about how you wanted to “let him (or her) have it,” and you didn’t think about God or about consequences.
Here’s another way temptation works. When two young singles want sex, do they think of God or of possible consequences? Not likely. They see and hear about the pleasure of sex from TV, movies, and music. The entertainment industry promotes it because it sells. The fact that the devil uses entertainment like that to promote sin is obviously irrelevant. If consequences come, like sexually-transmitted diseases, out-of-wedlock kids, lack of education, and welfare dependency, those in the entertainment world can be like the chief priests and elders when Judas Iscariot confessed to betraying Jesus. They can say, “What is that to us? see thou to that” (Matthew 27:4). Or to put it another way, “That’s your problem, not ours.”
Drunk drivers, drug dealers, robbers, and other criminals don’t focus on God’s will or on the ruin their sin can bring to innocent people, their loved ones, and even themselves. They focus on pleasure, and play right into Satan’s hand. His temptation is simple, yet so effective in destroying people’s souls. James 4:7 tells believers in Christ, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
One way to resist the devil is to fill your mind with Scripture. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Find Scriptures that deal with weak areas of your life. When you’re tempted in these areas, think on those Scriptures, ask the Lord to help you, and trust Him to do it—“my heart trusted in him, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:7).
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Brian Miller 9/21/2017
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822