What would it look like if you were to give up complete control of your life to God?
Genesis 2:15-17 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
When God spoke to Adam here in Genesis 2, it was clear that God was establishing Himself as the One who would set the parameters for life. Not only was the command clear when God delivered it and when Adam heard it and when Eve heard it from Adam, but the consequence of violating that established boundary was clear. You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.
God established a parameter because He wanted us to be able to choose life. He wanted us to be able to avoid death. It would have been unloving for God to have kept quiet about the consequence of the Tree of Life. He wanted to warn us! He wanted us to live in freedom to enjoy all He had provided, but He wanted us to understand that the one thing that was off limits was off limits for our benefit.
Relying on our own wisdom, making decisions based on what we can see with our eyes or feel, or taste, or hear, or smell, will take life from us. In what ways?
- We will feel ashamed. The Bible says that they were ashamed and went into hiding.
- We will have problems in our relationships. Adam and Eve blamed each other for what they had done. It hurt their marriage. It caused a rift.
- We will put distance between God and us. Adam and Eve lost the close fellowship they once had enjoyed with God. When we are choosing sin, we are choosing to harm our relationship with God. We can make that choice. We have that ability. We just have to understand that choices come with consequences. When we make the choice, we are choosing the consequence.
Give up trying to lean on your own understanding, and let God be in charge.
You will never live a satisfied life until you are satisfied with God being in charge, and you will never get to fully experience all of the incredible, wonderful things God wants you to enjoy if you keep crossing the lines He says will hurt you.
Genesis 3:1-6 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
We struggle, at times, with anyone telling us what to do. We also like to hear what we want to hear. Twisting words is something we are pretty good at. I am not sure we even need Satan’s help or prompting to try to twist people’s words. We naturally listen for the things we like to hear and minimize the things we don’t. We love loopholes. We love to look between the words sometimes for a “technical” way out of things. We like to talk more than we like to listen anyway. We have become experts at talking our way out of trouble, out of the speeding ticket, out of the responsibility, out of the consequence.
When we question and doubt the Word of God, we are playing right into the devil’s hands. We are opening ourselves up to have an extended conversation with Satan, and that will never go well. What God says, He means. And I know that its complicated. I don’t mean the Word of God is complicated. I mean, we are complicated, and we are getting more and more complicated by the day. And the reason why I think life and people are getting more complicated is because we have moved away from the Word of God as truth. It is exactly what Satan has wanted from the beginning of time.
Give up trying to find loopholes in God’s Word to justify sin and being shaped by the culture, and let God’s Word stand without question.
Matthew 4:1-11 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Jesus’ ministry started under difficult circumstances. He had a lot to overcome before He ever got to heal anyone or teach anyone. He had to deal with the temptations of the flesh. The temptation to have power, status, and to be comfortable.
Jesus could have justified the need to eat. He could have tried to prove His worth, His identity, His power and authority, but He refused to make it about Himself. He talked about God’s Word. He elevated the worship and glory of God over the worship of instant or immediate satisfaction. He trusted that God knew what He was doing in sending Him and that God would not enable Him to overcome every temptation, but that God would sustain and satisfy His life with good things.
Give up impulsive living, and let God bring satisfaction to your life.
If Jesus had fallen for the immediate, you and I could never have been restored to God and remade in Jesus’ likeness. But Jesus gave up the immediate for the eternal.
It all boils down to control. Will we give up control to the One who knows how to keep us from danger and death? Will we give up trying to find loopholes in the Word of God in order to preserve a life of sin and self? Will we give up the immediate in exchange for the eternal? What do you need to surrender in order to have the greatest freedom to live and the greatest eternity to look forward to?