Believing the deceiver

Days like this only come along once in a while. On this sun-drenched morning, there’s a cool breeze and the air is clear. Every dancing shadow is sharp-etched, every leaf suffused with a deeper meaning, every branch lifts a multitude of tiny twigs in praise. The world seems fair and unspoiled, as if it was made new this morning just for me. It’s a small taste of how Adam and Eve must have seen the world, in all its shining newness, when they walked with God on the morning of creation, and discovered its beauties for the first time through eyes unmarred by sin, doubt and sorrow.

So why did they give it up? Why exchange this fantastic beauty, this tender intimacy, this joyous walk with God for a world filled with misery, decay, confusion, pain, conflict, and death? It’s not much of a deal, is it?

But of course that’s not how the choice was presented to them by Satan in Genesis 3. He painted the way he wanted them to take in bright and glowing colours: “God didn’t really say you would die! He’s trying to keep from you the greatest secret of all: the knowledge of good and evil.”

Little did they know the desolation that would result when they decided to choose good and evil for themselves.

Is it any different for us? We hear the taunting words of the Deceiver as he whispers in our ears, accusing us, challenging us, giving us false promises of happiness. “You can’t expect God to forgive you, you’ve been struggling with this sin for years!” “You don’t really believe the Bible, no intelligent person takes it seriously any more.” “Perhaps if you expressed your anger… bought this one thing… gave into temptation just this once… you would feel comforted, fulfilled, happier.”

Like Adam and Eve, we’re tempted by the promise of something better, wiser, more plausible. What we don’t remember is that we’re giving up all that really matters, all that deeply satisfies, all that is meaningful and true, for a lie that will leave only bitterness and despair in its wake. We forget that this world, which can sometimes be so heart-breakingly lovely, is only a small foretaste of heaven.

Now there’s a promise worth believing.

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