Murder. Adultery. Lies. The previous three words don’t exactly give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, do they? No. When spoken out in the open, without any context, they have a very negative connotation. But let the Devil get a hold of them, and they can end up sounding like one’s favorite past time. You see, the Devil has a way of making horrible, despicable sins seem absolutely normal. He makes them not only justifiable, but attractive. Why do otherwise decent, loving, wholesome people make such terrible mistakes? Well, it’s because the devil doesn’t offer rotten fruit.
Remember the Garden of Eden? Picture this. Adam and Eve, all alone in the garden (except the animals God had provided for them), without a care in the world. They didn’t have to worry about what to eat, because it was provided. They didn’t have to worry about what to wear, because they had no need for clothing. They didn’t have to worry about going to work every day or paying any bills. They knew nothing of pain, sickness, or death. They had but one rule to follow: Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s it. One rule. Don’t eat the fruit of that ONE tree. They had permission to eat of any other tree, except that one. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Apparently not. You see, there was one animal in the garden that had a plan. The Bible says in Genesis 3:1 that “the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” The KJV dictionary gives one definition of subtil as this: sly; artful; cunning; crafty; insinuating; as a subtil person; a subtil adversary. This subtil serpent was, of course, the devil in disguise. He was so cunning that he convinced these two people who had everything in the world going for them, quite literally, to break the one rule that had been given to them. He used some of the same tactics that he still uses today to convince them to commit that sin.
First, he lied. God had told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit of that tree, they would surely die. The serpent outright lied to them and said in Genesis 3:4, “Ye shall not surely die.” He tells us today, “Go ahead. Go to his house. Your husband won’t find out.” Or maybe he says, “Go ahead and lie about it, it won’t hurt anyone.” And guess what? Just like Adam and Eve, we believe him. We believe him; we commit the sins, and then we find out the consequences. The worst part of all is that we only face the earthly consequences right now. We face divorce, which means a broken home and “joint-custody” for our children. We face the loss of a friend who heard from someone else about our “little white lies.” My grandmother told me once, “Don’t worry. It’ll all come out in the wash.” What she meant was the truth will eventually come out. Sometimes later, sometimes sooner, but it will come out. Eventually we will give an account of everything we’ve ever done, whether it was discovered while we lived on this earth or not. Matthew 12:36 says, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
Second, he appealed to their earthly lusts. He told them that if they ate of the fruit, they wouldn’t die. Genesis 3:5 says “Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Ye shall be as gods. He puffed up their pride a little, promising them an increase in status from men to gods. Sound familiar? He whispers to us, “You can’t go to church tonight. You have to meet that deadline for work so you can get that promotion.” And guess who falls for it? We do. Promotion= more money. More money= increase in societal status. Humans have a natural desire to be put up on a pedestal. We want to be admired, even idolized. Just think about how many thousands (or more) of people who try every day to get their “big break” in Hollywood. The devil’s good at what he does.
Third, he used one to get to the other. Genesis 3:6 tells us, “….she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” How often do we know of families who stop coming to church services because the father wouldn’t remain faithful in his attendance? Many Christian wives and mothers go year after year to every service without their husbands. Sadly, many give up the fight, and the exasperated mother stops bringing those babies to church. (Or vice versa, maybe it’s the mother/wife who is the unfaithful one). Maybe the father is the one at home who is determined to stop watching movies that the Lord would not approve of, but the mother won’t stop renting them, so he just gives in and watches them. After all, she already paid for it, right? You see, the devil uses the ones we love sometimes to accomplish was he so desperately desires, and that is for us to be disobedient to God.
The Devil was certainly Adam and Eve’s adversary, as he is the Christians’ adversary today. There are so very many examples we could use today of the devil convincing us to sin. We are constantly bombarded with the media telling us homosexuality is a genetic condition and that disagreeing with that premise means we are bigots and heartless. Every other song on the radio helps to condition us to believe that fornication is not that big of a deal. Billboards and magazine ads try to convince us that social drinking or “responsible drinking” is not a sin. The devil has become so cunning, in fact, that he tries to convince us to sin by insulting our intelligence and therefore damaging our pride, sending us over to the “other side” with our tails tucked between our legs and the fight gone out of our hearts. Anyone who believes being a Christian is synonymous with a lack of intelligence should do a little studying of their own. The devil uses many “fiery darts”, and it is our duty as Christians to make sure our battle gear is up to par (See Ephesians chapter 6).
I guarantee the devil didn’t point out a piece of rotten fruit that had fallen to the ground underneath the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for Eve to try, and he doesn’t half-heartedly attack us today. His efforts are constant. 1 Peter 5:8 tells Christians, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
The warnings and examples offered in the Bible are given to us for our use and protection. If we are aware of his devices, he will be much less successful in his efforts to dissuade us from obeying our Heavenly Father.