Genesis 3:2-3 (NKJV)
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”
Have you ever been told not to do something, then that’s all you could think of? What about seeing an ad or a distraction that pulled your thoughts in a direction you didn’t want them to go in? Maybe that sudden craving or need to go in a direction that you should not?
Life if filled with moments of decision that happen both on a conscious and subconscious level. Some can be easy to dismiss while others not so easy, especially if they are linked to a bad habit or craving. Even the ones that we are completely aware of and have total control over can just nag at us until we give in.
Walking through a grocery store we can fill half our cart with items that are not on the list, but that we can convince ourselves that we need. Maybe just stopping to look at a new vehicle ends with you driving one home that you can’t afford. Nowadays, even just picking up the phone to check messages can lead to us blindly scrolling through and endless amount of useless information.
Besides human nature, we also have ourselves conditioned to react to certain triggers in a negative way. We want it, even though we may not be able to say why we do. The common answer of “I don’t know” or “I just do” become more frequent and come out almost as a reflex response.
This is where some form of realization has to come in. A pause to reflect on our actions should be built into our day. Once or twice might be good, but there is no limit for this practice. A moment to slow down and reflect on what you are doing and why you do it. Many of us would be surprised if we actually took this time to answer this question.
Now if we look at it a different way, we can do what today’s society does and put a label on it. The word is yours. Taboo, off limits, NO, or anything you can think of. When you label something enough it gets easier to realize even though it attaches a negative for a positive outcome. For any math nerds it’s essentially the two negatives equal a positive. A private negative label on a negative habit quals a positive result.
This will also bring the subconscious to the conscious so we can more actively address anything we want to change. In the religious or Christian world this brings up a three letter word that many people would rather not discuss or even use in a sentence. SIN. The ultimate label for everything we do that could be considered contrary to what God wants in our lives.
Yes, I said what God wants in our lives for us. There is suffering, but God only wants good things for us. He wants us to live in a peace and love filled world where we are part of a community that reflects that love in all it does. Sounds great, but we must first better understand why certain things are the way they are.
Those urges, cravings, or temptations we face were not always there. The opening scripture shows the first temptation that the evil in this world presented to mankind. We already know that the temptation seemed reasonable like the ones we encounter, and the choice is the same. Follow what God has taught us, or react as in Genesis 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
Saw the tree was good for food. Sounds too much like saw the cupcake looked yummy, saw the bar was open, saw what the guy on the corner had, saw that preview of the website. This is where we can debate on if just the thought or seeing yourself going a certain way is a sin. Did Eve sin when she touched the fruit or just when she ate it?
This should have us asking the questions, is it a sin to pick up the box of cupcakes, to buy that bag, to type in that search criteria or is it the act. We may look to Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This may not help, but there is a difference between looking at a person and admiring their beauty and fantasizing about what you would do to them. It is still about the action of the follow through.
Like wanting to control your cursing. The act is not a good habit to have so we try to control it. As we control what we say we begin to have our tirade in our heads instead of verbalizing. This is good, but it is not helping us solve our cursing issue because we are not changing our behavior. Even in our heads we should be substituting the words we want to change.
Mark 14:38 gives us a place to start, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” By filling our minds with words for the Lord, we are also filling our minds with the catalyst for change. When we pause and reflect, we should include prayer. Ask the Lord to show you how and what to change. Ask him to strengthen our weak flesh.
So, join me in getting to the point where we can glorify the Lord in all we do by filling our minds with prayers and thoughts of Him, rather than every temptation we could face.
CAN’T BE CONCEIVED
With just a thought or look of desire that’s how it can begin,
Then it builds until it’s out of control and I want to give in.
It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill getting larger as it grows,
It picks up speed and I may have no say in the final path it goes.
I can see it happening and feel I am watching from a distance,
It can even seem like I am detached and I have lost all resistance.
With an end that I do not want or blessings taken for granted,
Lord, how do I stop that little seed from even being planted?
Dear child, no matter your intentions or how perfect is the dream,
You must always be aware of the cracks that form along the seam.
Some thoughts begin amongst the shadows and grow to block the light,
Then shield you from the Father so you can’t hear from Him what’s right.
You need to consistently check what you are planting in your field,
Fore this will always determine the type of harvest you will yield,
When you start with the Word that is watered by grace you have received,
You will find no cracks are forming and negative thoughts can’t be conceived.
Simple Faith Christian