“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”‘”
The scene in the garden quickly shifts, and we find Eve face to face with great temptation. This text not only explains how sin and death entered the world, but also serves as an illustration of the temptations a believer will face. The first thing to note is how the devil is described, he is called “cunning.” It is important to remember, whenever facing temptation, that every word out of the mouth of the devil is designed to deceive. Jesus called him the father of lies (John 8:44), so we should expect that he will twist the words of God, in order to lead us astray. As their discussion continues, we see three key truths about temptation.
First, we find the devil questioning the goodness of God. He implies that God is keeping something good from Eve. He suggests all the good stuff in the garden has been forbidden, and it is only the leftovers they are allowed to enjoy. In thousands of years, Satan has yet to change his game plan. He is still causing the Christian to doubt the goodness of God. Whenever we are facing temptation to sin, we think sin will bring us life. We forget it is the father of lies who is suggesting that sin will make us happy, while the God of love and grace, warns us that sin leads to death.
Second, notice that Satan calls into question the Word of God. God had promised death as a result of disobedience, while Satan promises life. He is still doing that. Whenever we come face to face with a warning, or even a promise from Scripture, it is not long before our mind is filled with doubt. We wonder if that promise is real, or if it applies to us, or if God is real, or if the Bible really means what it says. Paul explained the reason for our doubt: Satan is shooting fiery darts into the mind of the Christian (Ephesians 6:16). We might call these “darts of doubt,” whereby the devil is seeking to get us to question the promises of God. Once we doubt the validity of the Word, we are one step closer to disobedience. Keep in mind, billions and billions of graves scattered across the planet prove that God tells the truth, and Satan is a liar.
Finally, Satan is cunning and knows just what chord to strike. After questioning the goodness of God, and the Word of God, he goes after Eve’s desires. He promises she will become like God. We read further, that she saw that the tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes and desirable. The Bible speaks of easily besetting sins. Those are the sins into which you are more prone to fall. James reminds us, when we are tempted, we are drawn away by our own desires (James 1:14). Because there are certain sins we are more prone to fall into than others, we need to be on guard. Eve fell because she was not on guard. We find her near the tree she was told to avoid, having a discussion about fruit that was forbidden, as well as facing it all alone. If we play around with temptation, we will always end up giving in. The key to victory is to build walls that will keep us from falling. Two such walls are confidence in the promises of God, and companionship with the people of God.
Let’s take to heart the failure of Eve, that we might have success as we seek to live for Christ in this New Year.