Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Big Deal.. It Was Only an Apple!

Dear Friends,

One of my best memories from elementary school is the “Red Delicious” apples. Every afternoon someone brought to each classroom a box of the deep red, sweet, chilled apples. When I was a kid I loved apples and I still do. From the sweetness of the Fuji and the Gala to the tartness of the Pink Lady and the Granny Smith. Offer me the choice of a candy bar or an apple and I’ll take the apple every time. My point is.. I know why Eve did it.

Go ahead. Put yourself in Eve’s place. Would you have yielded to the temptation in the Garden? “Of course not!” we emphatically state. “No way!” “Not me!”  Really? How can we be so sure when we so readily yield to the temptation of that second bowl of tortilla chips at the restaurant or to the super-sized piece of chocolate cake at the hospitality table? How can we say “No way” as we too quickly finish that bottle of wine or double the dosage of the little pill that relaxes us and brings freedom from the day’s worries? How can we so easily say “Not me!” when we speedily yield to the temptation to repeat that delicious bit of gossip or fire off that angry email?

Now of course we know something that Adam and Eve didn’t. We’ve read the Book and we know that the consequence of yielding to that tempting apple was the fall of mankind. They didn’t know that but they both knew what God had said about the forbidden fruit. Eve knew she was disobeying God. But after all this was not a major sin! It was just a little snack – it was only an apple...

In our human pride we can deny that we give in so  easily and quickly to harmful temptations. But the sad truth is, if that had been a ripe, properly chilled Red Delicious apple, I probably would have been pushing Eve out of the way so that I could snatch it off the tree for myself. I mean.. after all.. it was only an apple...

What are your “apples” – your temptations? Worrying or being anxious? Procrastinating or putting things off? Eating too much or eating foods that are not healthy for you? Spending too much time on the internet or watching television? Spending more money than you can afford or obsessively shopping for things you don’t need? Being lazy or not working as hard as you should? Gossiping or saying unkind things about others? Being jealous or envious of others? Lying or cheating? Expressing anger or going “off” on someone? Drinking too much or misusing prescription medication?

Why worry about those seemingly insignificant  temptations in our life? Because, as it was with the first family, there will always be consequences when we yield to even the most minor sin. 

We too easily blame God for our temptations but He tempts no one. The source of all our temptation lies within. (Read James 1:12-15). The place in which all temptation originates is our own evil desires. And, then the Enemy beckons to us and says: “Hey don’t worry about it – it’s only an apple.”

In the Garden, Satan manifested himself to Eve as a snake. When the enemy of this world dangles temptations and desires before us, the only thing that has changed is his disguise and he is hunting for us. A commentator wrote: When we reach out to satisfy our (temptations and) desires, we have become the prey. We have crossed a dreadful line into the gun sight of an expert hunter (the Devil) and are in danger. We are about to be shot, captured and imprisoned.

Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil desires within us.  Deliver us from all excessive, unhealthy and sinful afflictions and from all the temptations and deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil. We pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen!