I mentioned in my last post that I was going to start reading my Chronological Study Bible, and I have really been enjoying it. Even as I go back through some of these old stories I have known since I was a little guy, I am excited at what God is showing me at this stage in my life. Yes, I am older now with gray hairs and all, so maybe I am just seeing things through an eye that has had to come to grips with a bit of life, so this is making more sense to me now… Anyway, moving on…
In the account of Adam & Eve in the garden I read something the other day that got me thinking, and then some things happened, I read a quote, and another verse dropped in my lap and I got thinking even more. I have chewed on this for a few days,and now I am ready to write down my thoughts. So, buckle in if you want!
We all know the story of Adam & Eve and the fruit of the tree. God had put them in the Garden with so many things they could eat and he told them to not eat just one thing. In reading the account, the command was given specifically to Adam in Chapter 2, but when the serpent made its way into the Garden in Chapter 3, we can see that Adam did pass the message on to Eve – although he might not have been clear.
You see, Adam was told very clearly, “Don’t eat.” However, when the serpent confronts Eve she delivers a slightly different version of the rule to the serpent, “Don’t touch OR eat.” Why the difference? Not sure. Is it possible that Eve added that bit herself? Is it possible that in an effort to protect her, Adam recommended the extra step? Not sure, but I think in adding that little item, whoever tacked it into the job description, it could have been a contributing factor to the Fall.
See, after Eve tells the serpent that she can’t even touch it, the snake knows that he has her. There is a falsehood in play now that he can use. In chapter 3 we see the following exchange:
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
– Genesis 3:1-6
After the serpent told Eve she would not die, I think that she stepped up to the tree and gave it a harder look. I think Adam was there behind her and was watching to see what was going to happen, but didn’t step up and stop anything. Eve probably reached out tentatively and very slowly touched the fruit of the tree with a finger tip and NOTHING HAPPENED! Then she probably took the fruit in her hand and NOTHING HAPPENED! Finally she pulled it from the tree and NOTHING HAPPENED!
At this point what is she supposed to think? a full 50% of her knowledge regarding behavior toward this tree is now out the window and she is seeing no problems. Then she looks at the fruit. It looked like it would be good for food, it had a pleasant appearance and looked ready for a bite, and the clincher, “What if it really makes me as wise as God?”
*Crunch* “Here, Adam, you try.” *Crunch*
And that was all it took. The temptation had set in, Satan’s trap had sprung, and mankind was now facing a death sentence. Why? Because of a lack of humility.
Jonathan Edwards said it very well, and when I saw this quote the day after reading this passage, I knew I wanted to use it:
“Nothing sets a person so much out of the Devil’s reach as humility.” Let that simmer for a bit. Really let it bubble.
What would that have looked like if Eve had chosen humility? She would have recognized her desire to be like God as a matter of pride. She would not have eaten the fruit. She might have realized that the serpent was trying to destroy mankind in telling his half truths. She may have even had Adam step over and do a little pest control! I’m not sure, but she allowed her relationship with God to be at a place where she considered herself at the minimum, equal with God in that moment.
We all have moments that we are like this. Think about the times that you just want to other person to admit that you are right. The times when you just want to have your way. The times that you just want to be heard. None of this things are inherently wrong, but what do they potentially lead to?
In my case they have led to harsh words with no thought to the other person’s feelings. They have led to angry words intended to tear someone down. They have led to yelling that accomplishes nothing at the end of the day other than, yes, I was heard. They heard that I was loud, opinionated, and basically, a jerk.
Humility would be a better choice. If I look at my position and actions as a way to better someone else rather than make myself look good, then I am acting with humility. If I take the time to determine whether I am looking for something to make someone else feel better by enduring or not allowing myself to lash out, I am acting with humility.
I am not a humble man by nature. I have struggled with a need to be right, to be heard, to be acknowledged for much of my adult life. I hate that about me, but I am not content to stay that way. Relentless Growth demands that I put myself in a back seat, but it is more than that. Like Mr. Edwards said, humility is not just sitting back and taking a lump for somebody else. Sometimes it is a conscious thought-out decision to stand up against Satan and say:
“No. I have no right to this feeling of indignation. I have no right to this feeling of injustice. I am a child of God, bought at a high price that was not deserved. By allowing my feelings to override what I know to be right according to God’s Word, I am placing my desire to be right over His command to do right, and I will not do that. I will humble myself to avoid the sin.”
Peter also said it well:
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
– 1 Peter 5:6 NLT
Relentless Growth. Sometimes it might feel like you are dying to do or say something, but when you choose to be humble in Christ, you are throwing roots down so deeply into Him. Maybe that’s all we really need to remember. When we choose humility over exercising our “right” to be heard or obeyed, could we really be acting more like Christ? Probably not.
Thanks for reading. I really just wanted to share this with everyone because it really spoke to me.
In HIS Grip,