Sometimes the seemingly harmless things in life can be the most lethal ones. One of my favorite examples of this is the Reef Stonefish. As its name suggests, the Reef Stonefish looks like a harmless rock on the ocean floor. It is actually a small fish with 13 spines on its back. These spines can inject an extremely poisonous venom causing severe pain, paralysis, and even death in its victims.
Most divers know to avoid them or wear felt bottom booties when walking in shallow water. However, on occasion, naive divers have encounters with them, and their curiosity leads to a very painful, sometimes deadly experience.
Like the Reef Stonefish, temptation at first may appear to be harmless, fascinating even. This weekend, Ben Snyder shared with us that temptation presents itself as a curious learner asking seemingly innocent questions. “Did God really say that?” “Don’t you deserve one more drink?” “Flirting never hurt anyone, right?” These seemingly harmless questions are really seeds of distrust, and when we stop trusting God and begin trying to create our own dream for life, we will find ourselves farther from the freedom and the life God wants for us.
Ben shared the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, we read about Eve’s encounter with the serpent that showed up to tempt her. As Eve converses with the serpent, he seems pretty harmless as he leads her to be curious about the restriction God has given her. Ultimately, the serpent gets her to change her focus, to stop trusting God, and to begin trying things her way.
1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
In order for us to experience the life and the freedom God wants for us, we need to understand that trust stops when we start listening to temptation and believing that we know better than God. Our challenge today is to be alert and to not be naïve about the danger and death temptation leads to.
How can restrictions in your life actually give you more freedom and not less freedom?
What seemingly harmless questions are you asking, and how are they moving you to a place of distrust?
As you identify some deceptive and dangerous questions you have been entertaining, share them with a trusted friend who can help keep you accountable and point you toward truth.
God, thank you that you are trustworthy, that your plan to give me life and love is perfect. I don’t need to try to create my own version of my life. Help me identify areas where seeds of distrust are being planted. Open my eyes to the temptations that are taking root in me. You are all I need, and today I rest in you and trust you for the abundant life you desire for me. Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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