We had some landscaping done around our house last week… it looks great. With Memorial Day approaching many of you will be planting flowers and of course the vegetable gardens. Some of you are fortunate enough to have fruit trees! Fruit plays an important part in the story of God’s creation. He hand made all of the plants, flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. I saw this funny fruit story:
Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence didn’t extend to God’s kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was: “Don’t.”…..”Don’t what?” Adam replied…..”Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.” God said….. “Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit?….Hey Eve! We got forbidden fruit!”…”No way!”…”Yes way!”. “DON’T EAT THAT FRUIT!” Said God…. “Why?”…..”Because I am your Father and I said so!” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making elephants…… A few minutes later God saw his kids having an apple break and was angry….Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” the First Parent asked….”Uh huh,” Adam replied….”Then why did you?”…”I dunno,” Eve answered….”She started it!” Adam said….”Did not!”…”Did too!”…”Did NOT!”… Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set, and it has never been changed!!!
Well, that’s not how the story really goes, but it may sound that way in your home. God created paradise. He sat back after each day, looked at His masterpiece and said, “It is good!”
God gave this paradise to Adam and Eve to enjoy. He wanted them to show their love and trust in their Father by having one rule to follow. Following that rule would show God that they trusted Him…and keep them safe.
Genesis 2:15-17…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.
Sounds pretty simple…enjoy paradise…don’t mess with evil! As we know, Satan tempted Eve. He questioned if she really knew what God said Genesis 3:1…He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” At first she stood her ground, Genesis 3:2-3…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.’” Not exactly what God said, but close enough. Satan does not stop there; he says that God’s rule is unfair…she deserves the fruit. And Eve gives in. Genesis 3:6…When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Not only did she eat it, but she passed it on to Adam. Sin entered into the world!
Let’s take this story and update it. A parent tells their 7-year-old to play in the yard and don’t wander…you may get hurt, run over by a car, or worse. Everything is going well, after all he has a swing set, basketball hoop, and toys. Then his 9-year-old classmate from the next block comes over to play. He later says, “let’s go over to my house, I have a go cart we can ride”. The 7-year-old says “no, dad said to stay here”. The 9-year-old says, “it will be ok…he didn’t mean my house”.The 7-year-old says “no, he said don’t leave the yard.” The 9-year-old says “dad’s a spoil sport, dad gets to leave the yard and has fun, why can’t you”. The 7-year-old defies dad’s rule and leaves the yard, rides the go cart and gets hurt!
You may be reading this and wondering where I am going with this devotion.
Like the father in the Garden of Eden…and the father in my 7-year old’s story…your Heavenly Father Loves you! He wants to protect you, so He has given us rules to keep us safe.
Deep down, we want to obey God…but often fall short! There are 3 things that cause us to break the rules…to fall short…to miss the mark…to sin.
- Satan…He lost and is defeated. He is bitter and wants to take as many of us as he can with him! He wants you to misunderstand and doubt God’s Word. He wants you to question if His Word applies to you. He appeals to our desires and tempts us to turn away from God’s plans for our lives. The 9 year old in my story is not Satan, but many times, he uses those closest to us to tempt us to sin. “Did God really say not to do that” “Come on, everyone else is doing it” “God won’t mind” “If He really loved you, He would want you to have fun” “you deserve it.” We hear these types of words and get tempted to play god…to make and bend the rules. The good news is we have God on our side. James 4:7-8…Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.
- The Sinful World…Let’s face it, we live in a sin filled world that denies that there even is a God. The world wants to play god by making their own rules…and even bending the rules that exist. But we can turn to God for wisdom and direction. Romans 8:31…What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
- Our Sinful Nature…Just as you inherited your hair, eyes, physical attributes from your parents…you also received a sinful nature. You were born (conceived) with a sinful nature. Psalm 51:5…Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
- The Coronavirus is on all of our minds. What is its origin? What is its cause? How would I get it? Is there a cure?). We were all born with a more deadly disease called sin…Its 100% fatal. We inherited it. The symptoms that we have this disease are shown from our sinful thought’s words, and deeds.
- OUCH…WHAT A DOWNER! The reality is that we (like Adam and Eve) sin…and sin separates us from God…. That is bad news!!!
There is GOOD NEWS! It’s the Gospel! 1 John 1:8-9…If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We sin (it’s our nature) and God forgives (it’s His nature)
Here is what I want you to do:
- Acknowledge that you are a sinner.
- Spend time reflecting on your “signature sin.” The sin that you keep having to confess. You say that you will not do it again…but you keep doing it. Maybe you justify it. Maybe you blame others for it. Maybe you rationalize why it is ok.
- Humbly confess that sin to the Lord. Ask Him in His mercy and for the sake of Jesus death to forgive you.
- Ask God to help you to avoid the triggers to this sin…or the people that lead you to it. Ask Him to help you make the needed changes to become all He created you to be.
- Know and thank God for the fact that you are forgiven!
Tomorrow….we will look at a different (and much better) kind of fruit!