A friend of mine was pondering why the forbidden fruit was in the middle of the Garden where Adam and Eve could be tempted by it. His conclusion? “God wanted them to eat it.”
It’s a powerful idea.
And it’s more than just an interesting theological question. All of us have something within our reach that looks good but is off limits.
Whatever it is in your life, you may be tempted to believe (like my friend did) that the reason it looks so good, or feels so right, or has been there so long, or doesn’t go away, is because God wants you to have it.
(Many churches are saying just this regarding sexual expression outside marriage, divorce and remarriage, or homosexual relationships, to name a few.)
There are so many things I don’t know, but I think there are other reasons God allows temptation—reasons that are ultimately much more satisfying than “he must want this for me.”
Here are three:
- God wants you to know you can say “no” to temptation. Obeying every impulse is not freedom; freedom is being able to say “no” to our impulses. God gave Adam and Eve authority over temptation and the serpent. They never found out how powerful their authority was. Will you?
- God has given you others and himself. He is not indifferent or afar off. He is very near, perhaps especially in the midst of the most intense temptations. Adam and Eve did not learn to walk in the fire with one another, nor with him. Will you?
- God knows unless you are absolutely free, you will not be able to love. Love and freedom go hand in hand. If you were not given the option to say no to God, your yes wouldn’t mean anything. God will not force you to love him. The question that remains is, will you give him your yes?
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Leave a comment below: What helps you trust that God is for you even in the midst of intense, ongoing temptation?