“… There is nothing new in the whole world” (Ecclesiastes 1:9b, GNT)

In Ecclesiastes 1:9 Solomon states, “What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new in the whole world.”  We may read these words and think, Hey! There’s a LOT of new things in the world. We have skyscrapers, SUVs, satellites, advanced medicine – you name it!

Part of what Solomon was referring to, however, was the unchanging human condition in the midst of a fallen world. Like beautiful people still growing old and wrinkled. Powerful athletes getting sidelined with injuries. Strong people taking advantage of the weak and the wealthy often profiting off the poor. People rising to stardom and then dying or dropping out of favor with the masses. Relationships torn by betrayal or violence. These are things that, unfortunately, aren’t new to the world. The sun we see coming up in the morning has seen it all – over and over again.

And there’s nothing new about how Satan, the enemy of God and humankind, crafts temptation. The methodologies he used to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as we see in Genesis 3 worked so effectively they’re still in use today – against us. The good news is that when we learn to recognize temptation’s bottom line, we’re better equipped to be encouraged by God and use His resources in dealing with them.

I’ve often read the biblical record of Adam and Eve’s initial sin in the Garden of Eden without being on high alert. How foolish! Every day you and I are faced with Satan’s unchanging wiles and if not prayed up, humble, and/or on the alert, we can find ourselves succumbing to temptation in what I have come to call “Eve mode” or “Adam mode.” More on that in a minute.

God created people to know beauty, joy, and relationship with Him and His creation.  And Adam, the first man, was given just one prohibition from God along with the consequence of going against it: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Further reading in Genesis reveals Adam and Eve had a relationship with God we can hardly fathom. He would physically walk in the garden with them each evening!

But God’s enemy, in the form of a serpent, wanted to eradicate that delightful unity between God and the man and woman He created.  Satan chose to work on the woman, Eve. His mission? To get it in her mind that she needed something more than what she had.  Think about this.  What was Eve’s reality?

She had no physical imperfections; a flawless specimen for a husband who’d never done anything wrong; life in a garden teeming with flowering plants, trees, and sparkling water; perfect weather, every day; friendship with every kind of animal on the earth; personal visits, walks, and laughter with God Almighty!

It could be a long list, this reality of Eve’s, where nothing but amazing intimacy, beauty, and goodness surrounded her!

So what was Satan’s outlandish pitch to this person who truly “had it all”?

Oh, Eve. You need more! You can have more! God’s been holding out on you. He’s not as wonderful as you think He is. You won’t suffer in the way God said you will if you eat that fruit. Actually, you’ll become wiser!

Genesis 3:4-5: “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it [the “off limits” tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

Through His Word, God has revealed to us the “templates for temptation” Satan introduced in the Garden of Eden. My friend, God partly did this so we could be on high alert!

Eve didn’t have to give in to temptation. She could have exercised other options, such as:

  • Recalling the love, power, and perfection of God and walking away from the temptation.
  • Leaving the serpent behind with a commitment to talk the whole thing over with God that evening.
  • Staying away from the “off limits” tree to begin with.
  • Asking Adam, who was with her (Genesis 3:6b), to take her swimming with the dolphins.

Genesis 3:6 breaks my heart. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate…”

Sadly, Eve succumbed to the temptation by allowing herself to be deceived (Genesis 3:13, I Timothy 2:14).  She listened to the words of the serpent, considered the words of the serpent, and put a higher value on them than finding complete satisfaction in the God who created her.  This is what I call giving into temptation in “Eve mode”.

When any of us (men, women or young people), are swayed by the “Eve mode” template, it’s because we’re allowing ourselves to be deceived into thinking that when it comes to the situation before us, God isn’t exactly who and what He says He is, and/or He isn’t enough.

Scary, right?!

And, just like Eve, once we hand Satan that kind of victory we not only fail, but we immediately serve as a conduit to aid others in sinning.  Look at what happened next:

“… she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6b)

Sin spreads. No matter what we think, any sin we choose to commit is going to affect not only ourselves, but others. There is nothing new in this world. Generation after generation, sin continues to spread, tarnish, sicken, and destroy.

Did Eve die the day she ate the “off limits” fruit? Yes, she immediately died a spiritual death and was destined to eventually die a physical death. The perfect unity with God was broken. To her horror, Eve quickly learned that knowing good and evil wasn’t the joy ride she’d anticipated. She had never known evil, but would soon be surrounded and sickened by it.

To protect her and Adam from eating from the Tree of Life (which would have caused them to live forever in their sinful state and prohibit them from having eternal life free from sin with God), they were banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

Fortunately, this is not the end of the story for Adam and Eve. And if you have a trail of sin and failures in your past, it’s not the end of your story, either.  We’ll touch on that humbling and refreshing truth in a moment.  But for now?  Let’s take this lesson from God’s Word seriously, and identify how our enemy often works on us. Forewarned is often forearmed.

While Satan may not show up in person to tempt us, he has multiple outlets for communicating the same, trusted template for temptation for you and me that he sold to Eve:

You need/deserve more! And God’s Word isn’t authoritative; it’s open for interpretation.

I humbly challenge you to assess what temptations you find yourself giving in to. Below is a list of possibilities to jumpstart your thinking.

  • I would be happy if only I had a better love life.
  • Hey, I’ve got this thing!
  • Reading the Bible is too difficult; I’m more of a visual learner.
  • If I could land that job, it will solve my problems.
  • Would I ever like to be behind the wheel of that!
  • I worked hard; I deserve this.
  • I sometimes just need a little escape from reality.
  • I’m afraid. What if God doesn’t come through for me on this?

Now, please get something to write on and put together your list of “Eve mode” temptations you struggle with. What areas can you identify where God and His Word haven’t been quite enough to satisfy you or allay your fears? What words are you listening to, weighing in your mind, and then putting a higher value on than finding complete satisfaction and/or trust in the God who created you?

Seriously.  Stop and make the list!

So what’s next after writing down our areas of susceptibility? We talk our list over with God, acknowledge our areas of vulnerability and ask Him to help us replace deceptive reasoning (from within ourselves or externally) with biblical truths. If we realize we’ve caved into temptation, we repent. We let God know we want out of that cesspool by confessing our sin, asking Him to forgive us and enable us to walk in joy and humility with Him.  Here’s the great news: We can!  We’re invited to do this by God Himself. Let the beauty of I John 1:9 wash over you!

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It’s sobering to realize how easily we can be deceived into sinning! But one aspect of lasting encouragement is to face such realities through the lens of Scripture and then marvel at God’s provisions for freedom. I’ve just got to tell you that we’re going to do some serious marveling about God’s astounding provisions of freeing us from the cycle of sin in our lives in the next two releases. Yes, we’ll examine the temptation template that took Adam down and see how disgustingly well it works on us. But buckle in for the ride, because we’ll begin to unwrap mystery upon mystery for God’s provision for mortals to walk in spiritual victory with Him, without sin, in any situation.

It’s beyond encouraging!

[Link to next post in series: I Know This Is Wrong, But…” Temptations (And How To Deal With Them)]
[Link to last post in this series: The Holy Hallelujah!]

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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