A Bite of Fruit

Have you ever wondered what has gone wrong with the world? We seem to be in a precarious place, as of late. And we may be tempted to wonder why. There’s a really simple reason. But it’s not what we want to hear. Because once we hear the reason, we have to decide what to do about it on a personal level.

And that might mean change.

Let’s start with Adam and Eve. No. Let’s go back farther than that. Let’s start with God. He created the world. And everything in it. Plants. Animals. Oceans. Dry Land. Day. Night. Humans. He created it all in seven days. End of story. You might say.

But that’s only the beginning.

Adam was the first man of creation. God formed him from the dust of the earth. But God saw that all of the animals he created were paired up. Male and female. He knew that Adam needed a mate. So God performed surgery. He took a rib from Adam and created Eve. And they became the first couple.

God had created a beautiful garden as their home. He told them they could eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree in the middle of the garden. It was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The name sounds forbidden. They weren’t to eat from it. That’s what God said.

And they were satisfied with that answer. They didn’t question God’s command. And they didn’t eat from the tree.

Then one day, everything changed. The serpent came along and asked Eve if God said they must not eat fruit from any of the trees in the garden. Eve told him that God said they couldn’t eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden or even touch it. If they did, they would die.

The thing is. God didn’t say exactly that.

God didn’t said they couldn’t touch the tree. He said that they couldn’t eat fruit from the tree. Or they would die. Eve lied.

But there is more.

The serpent told Eve that if she ate fruit from the forbidden tree that she would know both good and evil. He said she wouldn’t die. He also said she would be like God. The serpent tempted Eve to disregard God’s command.

She took the bait. She took a bite. Then she gave some of the fruit to her husband. And he ate. Their eyes were opened, and they knew they had disobeyed God.


Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9


It wasn’t just a bite of fruit they were after. After all. It wasn’t a taste of the forbidden fruit that called their name. They could eat from any tree in the garden, except for this one. And they hadn’t even thought about trying fruit from that tree. They hadn’t pondered the thought of circling the one tree that was off limits in the hopes of getting a bite. No. That wasn’t it at all.

They had been content eating from all the other trees until the serpent tempted them. The serpent tricked them into thinking they could have something not meant for them. All for a bite of fruit.

Adam and Eve’s sin was not eating a piece of fruit. Their sin was coveting godlike power, craving something that was not rightfully theirs. They rejected their nature as created, limited, finite beings, and they tried to be what they could never be — divine. They wanted to be their own god.

Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live

Oh. The funny thing is that God gave Adam and Eve dominion over creation, yet they couldn’t even reign in their own appetite. They had everything they needed in the garden. Food. Work. Home. Companionship. Fellowship with God. Life should have been perfect. To be honest. It was perfect.

But they made a wrong decision that changed their lives. And that one decision changed the trajectory of all mankind. And there’s no going back. Since that bite, mankind has been in a free fall of rebellion.

And oh. How man has fallen. Down through the ages, Satan has continued to tempt us into thinking we need things that aren’t ours. He has twisted truth and distorted reality since he tempted Eve. And he never stops.

Satan. He came in the form of a serpent to the first couple. He’s been coming for the rest of humanity since that moment. He’s coming for you.  And for me. What is it that causes us to take the bite that’s offered? Do we jump at the first offer? Or do we hold out for a time? Do we eagerly accept the forbidden fruit that he offers? Or not? Have we learned to say no to Satan’s advances?

Satan isn’t finished with mankind. He keeps pushing his agenda onto unsuspecting individuals. The truth is. He isn’t irresistible. He is defeatable. He wants his way. And he wants to use us to get it.  We are in a battle, and we must continue to fight against him. It may appear that he’s winning. But he is the ultimate loser.

We have a choice. We always have a choice. We must run from temptation. Because Satan is our greatest enemy. He will ruin us. He won’t stop until he has us in his grasp. Run in the opposite direction. While there’s still time.

The Temptations of Christ

Matthew 4 tells us about Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Spirit, where he was tempted by the devil. So was that specifically the purpose of going into the wilderness? So the devil could tempt him? He spent 40 days and 40 nights there. He became very hungry. Obviously.

During that time, guess who came along? Satan. The tempter. The devil. The chief opposer of God. The number one enemy of God. And he tried to convince Jesus to tell the stones to become loaves of bread, so he could eat. He tried to get Jesus to break that fast. And Jesus refused. He said no, people live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So when Satan realized that temptation wasn’t going to work, he took Jesus to Jerusalem. The holy city. And he took him to the highest point of the temple. He challenged Jesus. He said. If you’re the Son of God, then jump off this high point of the temple. And Satan had the nerve to quote Scripture to Jesus by saying he will order angels to protect you and they will hold you up with their hands, so you won’t even hurt your foot with a stone. Jesus responded right back and quoted Scripture, as well. The Scriptures also say you must not test the Lord your God.

Jesus put Satan in his place by reminding him that Jesus himself was God. And you don’t tempt God.

Satan still wasn’t satisfied. He took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. He showed him all the glory those kingdoms possessed, because kingdoms prove power. Each kingdom has a leader. And each leader is powerful. Satan told Jesus that he will give all the kingdoms to Jesus, if only he would just kneel down and worship Satan. So Satan was asking Jesus, the Son of God. God himself. To worship Satan, who had fallen from God’s grace. Satan, once an angel tried to be God, and God banished him from heaven. So Satan now was asking God to worship him. The nerve.

So Jesus commanded Satan to get out. And he quoted yet another Scripture to Satan. You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him. So the devil left him. The angels then came and took care of Jesus.


And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13


To read the entire story of Jesus’ temptations, read Matthew 4:1-11.

When I read these short eleven verses, it lets me know that when I am tempted I too can resist Satan’s advances and evil schemes. What it tells me is that I need to know Scripture, so I can push back and throw God’s Word into Satan’s face. I need to have my heart and mind filled with God’s Word so I know how to respond to Satan. If I don’t know Scripture, how do I rebuff Satan’s advances? It’s no wonder we give in to temptation so often, because we don’t fight it. We need to fight temptation. We need to fight Satan. And that fight only comes if we are in God’s Word. If we are reading and studying the Scripture. Jesus knew these Scriptures. He learned them, the same as all Jewish boys.

So at those times when Satan was there pushing Jesus’ buttons, saying oh, I’ll give you this if you’ll just bow down to me. Or oh. I’ll give you all of these kingdoms if you only worship me. And Jesus was able to rebuff him. To push him away. Because he was centered in the Word of God. Oh. We may say well it’s because he is already God, so he already knew Scripture. He could rebuff these advances because he was God himself. But Jesus was human. When he was born into the world, he was a newborn baby. Helpless. Needy. He couldn’t talk or walk. He couldn’t care for himself. He was a human baby, and his mother had to care for him. And Mary and Joseph taught him. He was treated as any child, and he had all human emotions. He learned to resist temptation. Yes, he was a perfect child, but he was human.

Jesus had a choice to make. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, he was asking his Heavenly Father to remove this burden of physical sacrifice from him. He asked to be released from death on the cross. He knew the physical pain it would cause. And he begged for his life. And his heavenly Father said no. Jesus knew what it was like to suffer physical pain. He experienced the same temptations and desires we face. He was able to withstand those temptations that Satan threw at him. And he said no.

We, too, can say no. We must have our heart right with God and be willing to face the evils Satan may throw at us. God is bigger than Satan. God’s Word is holy and perfect. God’s Word can be the binding that strengthens us as we face temptation. We must hold God’s Word in our hearts.

Once that temptation is removed, we can be spiritually cared for. Jesus will draw close to us as we draw close to him. It’s only done by reading Scripture, saying no to Satan’s temptations and wily ways trying to convince us that he can give us anything we want. That isn’t true. Jesus is our only hope. Jesus is our only salvation. Only he can save us from our sins. Let’s stand in his strength.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11

The Act of Falling

He was stirring up a batch of brownies when I walked into the kitchen. I quietly patted myself on the back for planning ahead for him and having the mix on the shelf. He likes to snack at night and I had purchased the brownie mix and stored it for a time when he was ready. Tonight was the night.

I watched him pour the mix into a small pan. He realized he would have batter left over, so I pulled out another small pan to use. I mean. He was planning to pour out the batter that wouldn’t fit in his pan. No. I said. Put it in a second pan and bake it for later. I’m sure you’ll eat all the brownies. No, I won’t. He said.

It got me thinking. As I sat there smelling the scent of baking brownies, my mind hatched a plan. I could have a brownie tonight. Just one. I told myself. So when he pulled the brownies out of the oven, I told him that I would eat a brownie out of my pan. The smaller pan that somehow became the pan of brownies that I saved.

And there began my downfall.

As I cut into my brownies, I saw that he had cut a very small piece out of his batch. Since my pan was smaller, I decided it was the right size for four brownies. So I cut a piece out of the pan. As I ate the brownie, I realized it needed to cool a little longer. It was too warm and didn’t give me the satisfaction I was hoping for. I prefer my brownies at room temperature. But I was too greedy to wait for them to cool. As I ate it, I decided I would need another brownie that was cooled. After all, it would taste better than a warm one.

So I waited.

Then I ate a second brownie. Since I prefer the edges and the second brownie was a middle, I wasn’t satisfied. Of course, it had two edges, but it didn’t suit me. So I ate another. The third brownie was on the other end of the pan, so it was surrounded by three edges. Almost perfection.

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28

Here I was three brownies into a pan of four brownies. I hadn’t planned on eating brownies tonight. I hadn’t even though of brownies until I saw him open the package. And then I was hooked. My desire went down a path I didn’t even try to avoid.

Later in the evening when he saw how many I had eaten, he was shocked. He said I may as well eat the last brownie and be done. So I did. And just like that I had eaten an entire small pan of brownies.

The thing is. They weren’t really that great. Oh. They were the brand I had always bought. But I’ve changed the way I eat, and I no longer eat processed food. Until I do. And I did. And honestly. I felt no satisfaction after eating even one of them. Or two. Or three. Or four.

But it was too late. My brownie pan was empty. His brownie pan had only one small piece missing. What a glutton. What a fool I am.

The next morning, I felt it. The itch of the eczema. The distending of the belly. The number on the scale. Proof of my indiscretion. Proof of my lack of self control.


So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16


Have you ever been tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t do? But instead of turning away, you dive right in? The moment is just right, and you don’t even consider the consequences until you’re past the point of no return.

That is just what the lie of Satan will do for a person. Just a little tease of an indiscretion. Just a little slip of the tongue. Or a small wager. A kiss when a handshake was in order. A second look when the eye should have turned the other way. A walk through a door that should have been locked tight. And pretty soon, we’ve walked down a path we never should have been on.

We’re in the heat of the moment, and the moment just feels so right. We just can’t let it pass us by. That’s what we tell ourselves. Because in the moment, the moment is perfect. Just for the taking. It will never pass this way again.

So we do it. We do that thing we said we would never do. Or we say those words that we’re ashamed to have even thought. But they’ve been said. And words once said can’t be unsaid. We’ve told that story that was shared in confidence. We took another look when we should have looked away.  

It doesn’t have to be this way. The battle for holiness is a battle that must be fought every single day. The thing is. We can say no. We can give up the sins of our past, so they won’t continue to be the sins of today.

Holiness is the state of being holy. A life of holiness and total devotion to God.

There is a battle for the heart, mind and soul. The warriors are God Almighty and Satan himself. Our part in the battle is surrender. But it’s a daily act of surrender. One moment at a time. One temptation at a time. One thought at a time. When we surrender to God, he will fight the battle for us. He will lead us to victory if he is the warrior we choose to follow. But we must choose to be like him. By obeying God, we become more like him.

Our problem following Jesus is we’re trying to be a better version of us, rather than a more accurate reflection of Him.

Bob Goff

Running in Place

She said she’s in the middle.  The middle of life.

I’ve been thinking about that lately.  I’m not on the mountain top.  But I’m not in the valley.  Oh.  I was in both situations not too long ago.  No.  Not at the same time.  But unemployment was the valley.  Getting a new job was the mountain.  But now.  Now I find I’m in the middle.  And I feel stuck.  Oh.  I should be thankful.  And I am.  But I sometimes I wish I wasn’t where I am.

No.  I don’t want to be back in the valley.  I’m thankful to have a new job.  It’s just that the job is turning out to be something that isn’t comfortable.  Oh.  I have hopes of things evening themselves out.  Of feeling comfortable.  Of feeling that I can do this job.  But for now.  It’s tough.

Elisabeth Elliott said that when you’re in a tough spot, there’s something to do.  Just do the next thing.  Whatever comes next in what you do, just do it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  The next thing.  Don’t look too far ahead.  Just do the next thing.

I’m not running away from the job.  But I do find that I am running.  I’m running to Jesus more and more.  And isn’t that what he wants from us?  In spite of good or bad, I should be running to him.  Running for my life to the life giver.

I find I want to run from my discomfort. But instead I need to run to Jesus. Don’t try to escape the discomfort. Try to embrace it and hold on to the one who has great plans for me. This season could be the time of growth I need for the next phase of my life. Trust God and his plan. Run to him like I’ve never run before.

I’ve never been a runner.  Oh.  I’ve tried.  I’ve tried those starter methods of walking a few minutes.  Then running a few minutes.  In the hopes that I can build up my running time into more minutes.  It just never worked for me.  I couldn’t get my breathing to work right.  So I gave up.  I decided walking was my sport of choice.


Pray that you will not give in to temptation.  Luke 22:40


I think of Jesus.  When he was in the fight for his life.  His human life.  Oh.  He ran.  He ran right to his Father.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed and asked his Father to remove the cup of suffering from him.  The burden of going to the cross.  Of dying.  He asked to be excused from the discomfort.  From the pain and agony.  Was this his humanity speaking?  What did he know of the suffering that was ahead for him?

The next morning when he heard the angry mob shouting for him to be crucified.  I wonder.  Did he run again to his Father?  Did he beg for mercy once again?

But no.  The night before while crying out to his Father, he surrendered.  He had surrendered his will.  Your will.  Not mine.  Then he stood and walked through the pain.  The torture.  The suffering.  The death.

God refused to change his plans.  He allowed His only Son to be tortured and crucified.  He allowed His Son to die.  But his death fulfilled God’s ultimate plan.  His death provided a way for me to spend eternity with him.  His death was not in vain.

So why should I ask God to remove my discomfort?  Why should I expect God to give me an easy life?  Why should I expect God to remove obstacles that I want out of my way?  Perhaps I should pray that I don’t yield to temptation to walk away from the discomfort when I know I am fulfilling God’s plan.  Perhaps I will find peace in the surrender to God as he walks with me in my pain.  Perhaps in my suffering, I will be anointed with the same power that he has.  I pray that my discomfort will not be in vain.