On Being Beguiled

“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “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.”
The woman was convinced...” (Gen 3:1-6a, NLT)

Guys, I have been struggling lately and it put me in an interesting place. It wasn’t a dry spell exactly, but I believe that would have been the next step had I not decided to deal with my heart. The thing is, the issue did not just spring up. It has been brewing, stirring, percolating over time; very subtle, behind the scenes. Even though I know better, I chose to ignore it, so a small crack turned into a hole, then into a major break. The waters came rushing in and I was being swept away.

I wonder at human nature sometimes or at least at my nature. There is a reason why God repeats himself to us. There is a reason why He reminds us of the same truths over and over. It’s because we tend to forget. Paul hit it on the head when he talked about how we look at our image in a mirror and then immediately forget what we look like when we walk away.

The Bible also talks about knowing how our enemy operates so we can withstand his attacks. After all, we don't want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we're not oblivious to his sly ways! (2 Cor 2:11, MSG) Knowing his tactics is one of the things that helps us avoid his traps and plans for us.

So how does all this tie in together? I’m glad you asked! You see, as I was floating along I started thinking about Eve and the serpent in the Garden. The Bible often makes things look as though they happened one right after the other and there are a lot of gaps that are not filled in for us. The story of Eve is no exception. Reading it gives the impression that one day a serpent walked up to her, said a few words, she and Adam ate the fruit, and sin entered the world. I think this was the end result of a process

I believe that the serpent had been working on Eve the whole time. First he studied her for a while before he ever approached her. He watched her actions and reactions, learned what she responded to, and discovered her likes and dislikes. Once he had a handle on that he started showing up in her circles. He didn’t interact with her directly, he just started coming around so she would get comfortable with him being there. Next he started having harmless conversation with her - the weather, the beauty of the Garden, how things were going with Adam, etc… small talk to get her even more comfortable and to lower her defenses. Finally, after who knows how long he had her where he wanted here and in one of their conversations, but brought up the Forbidden Tree. It was a work of time, because our enemy if patient, persistent, and relentless.

The enemy has not changed his M.O. He still studies us, learns what makes us tick, plots and plans what will work best on us. He still starts to show up in our circles to make us comfortable with him. He engages us in conversation and we lower our defenses. Then he zeroes in for the kill (because his purpose in coming is only to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10) - that never changes either). He questions us about what God has told us and we start thinking about his questions. We begin to believe that God is holding out on us and before we know it, we sitting in front of a heaping bowl of Forbidden Fruit Salad!

Knowing this about him, I still forget and, like recently, I miss it. Sometimes I let my guard down and slack on my vigilance. Sometimes I don’t catch on until I am being swept away. In those times I am thankful for a God who doesn’t mind repeating himself, who doesn’t mind saying it until I “get” it, and for a God who always stands ready to receive, forgive and cleanse me when I miss the mark.

I encourage you today to be on your guard and not ignore those subtle, small cracks. If you find that you are being swept away know that you can turn and run to the loving arms of the Father who is slow to anger and full of compassion and lovingkindness. He knows we tend to forget and He has made provision for us. Isn’t that great news today? I sure think so!

Have a blessed one!