ODJ: tempting with ‘good’

February 9, 2015 

READ: Genesis 3:1-7 

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

I’ve endured many cycles of success and failure in my long struggle with healthy eating and consistent exercise. Whenever my efforts fail, however, it’s because I’ve succumbed to the allure of something that seemed to offer me true pleasure: another slice of iced apple cake or a series of leisurely mornings where I don’t have to drag my body out to the road for another run. The truth, of course, is that poor nutrition and a lethargic body yield nothing good at all.

From the first stories of human temptation to today, it’s obvious that we’re rarely tempted with something that looks purely evil. There’s often a trace of goodness mixed in with the rebellious suggestion that we would do well to refuse God’s instructions. In the Eden temptation, the serpent told Eve that contrary to God’s warning, she would not die if she ate from the tree. “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” (Genesis 3:5).

In other words, the serpent suggested to Eve that God was selfish, and that if she would simply ignore His warnings she would find the knowledge and experience she lacked. And this knowledge and experience, the serpent assured, wasn’t evil, but so very, very good.

After their tragic disobedience, Eve and Adam found only ruin and great sorrow. “They suddenly felt shame” (v.7). This was a shock. They had expected to discover new power and freedom.

Temptation always promises goodness that it can never possibly deliver. God is the source of all beauty, truth, and pleasure. Anything (or anyone) that draws us away from Him causes us to leave true life and joy behind. —Winn Collier

365-day plan› Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-36

Read Matthew 4:1-11 and notice Satan’s strategies as he tempted Jesus. 
Where are you most tempted to step away from God? How can you learn to resist this temptation and cling to His goodness? 
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