By Kathryn Graves, Crosswalk.com
The story of Adam and Eve in the Bible is one we learn in nursery school. But it isn’t one we often study in depth.
The lessons from the first couple seem pretty obvious. Obey God and don’t listen to Satan. But if we look beneath the surface, we might discover how much like Eve we are deep down—and how to avoid repeating her mistakes.
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1. Count Your Blessings
When you’re tempted to believe the “grass is greener,” remember what you already have.
Eve lived in the most beautiful garden we could ever imagine. She wandered among flowers, trees, and shrubs in an array and design that would put our best master gardeners to shame. She ate sumptuous bounty from an enormous variety of fresh produce.
All she needed to do was pluck a fruit or vegetable at its ripest, juicy best any time she so desired.
There was only one tree from which she was not allowed to eat—just one out of hundreds. But because Eve focused on that single forbidden taste, she no longer appreciated any of the others.
It’s easy to criticize Eve for her faulty vision, but we shouldn’t be too hasty.
Whenever we look past the good that we have and are tempted to trade it for sinful indulgence, we fall into the same trap as Eve.
For instance, consider the person who knows she can’t afford to purchase an item advertised for sale—but she buys it anyway because it’s such a good deal. Over time, these “bargains” add up to big money troubles. What we must remember is that the financial problem didn’t begin with the purchases. It began with the shopping.
We might think it won’t hurt to “just look.” But when we do, we forget about all the things we already own and focus on the one we want to buy.
The next time I’m tempted to want what I don’t have—whether material or intangible, I’ll remember the great cost to Eve when she gave in to that forbidden fruit—and the hidden dangers and cost behind a single impulsive decision. Had she fully understood the goodness God already gave her, and would give her in proper time, she could have resisted Satan's scheme.
2. Remember That God’s Intentions for You are Good
Eve forgot that God wasn’t set on making her life miserable. He loves us and only wants the best for us.
When we read in the Bible that something is off-limits for Christians, we should recall the motive behind the instruction. The Ten Commandments were given to make our lives better, not worse.
God understands all the possible ramifications of behaviors and He desires to protect us from negative or harmful consequences. But He doesn’t force us to comply.
Think back over your life. Consider the major life choices you’ve made. Which ones brought pain or difficulties into your life? Were they decisions that violated biblical standards?
Now think about the small, daily decisions you’ve made in the last month. Did any of them cause trouble for you? Might they have been on the edge of what you knew was best—instead of sticking to a firm commitment to do what you believe Jesus would do?
I think sometimes we’re a lot like Rapunzel, the fairy-tale princess who let her hair down from her tower. She perceived that structure as a prison rather than protection from dragons. If we view God as a prison warden, we’ll be tempted to “let our hair down” sometimes—just to see how far we can lean without falling.
Like Eve and Rapunzel, when we forget how much God loves and wants to protect us, we’ll end up resenting the rules instead of thriving within them.
Like Eve had the choice to, look around the garden life has given you and appreciate all the delicious, sweet fruit that is there. Let that be a reminder for the next time you feel restricted from something--God's heart is always for your ultimate good!
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3. Know What God Really Said
Listening for God’s voice over all the other voices calling out to us requires intention. It’s a bit like tuning a radio to the station you want.
When the static fades, you can hear the words or music—and discern whether the station playing is the one you searched for. If not, you keep turning until you find it—because you know it when you hear it.
The Bible is God’s station, but we have to open it and read it in order to be able to recognize the difference between His words and all others. Many so-called teachers and preachers say nice things that do not square up with what the Bible says.
Even if something sounds right, we should make the effort to confirm its veracity.
This is what Eve failed to do. The serpent told her just enough truth mixed with error that she slipped under his guile. It was the first time doubt had ever entered her mind. And that doubt was directed toward what God really said.
When challenged, Eve couldn’t remember God’s exact words.
Can you recall any of God’s words without a Bible in your hand? This is the greatest challenge some people face—memorizing Bible verses and passages. If you are unable to memorize well, at least have a Bible handy. It can be a small paper copy in your purse, or a Bible app on your phone.
It should have bookmarks in places that are meaningful to you. And you should be making an effort to read and mull over at least one verse—or chapter—every day.
4. Be Ready With Your Armor On
It appears that Eve’s experience with the serpent caught her off-guard.
He initiated a conversation she should have avoided. He asked her questions she did not recognize as half-truths. She had been going about her life in a routine that felt comfortable—maybe too much so.
Although Eve had no prior experience with sin or doubt, she also didn’t yet absorb the full reality in which she lived.
It can be easy for us to assume we have it all together in the spiritual department and churn through our to-do lists and commitments every day without paying much attention to God. Oh, we know he’s there—we go to church and read the Bible and all.
But in the day-to-day, we can get comfortable with the flow or distracted by the unexpected. Our reasons can be as varied as the possibilities for Eve. The bottom line is this: we think it can’t happen to us.
But that is exactly when Satan will attack by planting a new thought that occurs out of the blue. Or he’ll call our attention to a book we’ve never considered that is fodder for doubt.
His tactics are sly—he’s an expert at mind games. We need to guard our thoughts because we don’t fight a physical battle so much as a spiritual one—and the battleground is our minds. Ephesians 6:10-18 describes what we face and how to be prepared. We need to pay serious attention to this passage.
Because it can happen to anyone—not just Eve.
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5. Tell Satan to Go Away
Eve hung around with the serpent and allowed his questioning conversation to continue. She didn’t cut him off or tell him to skedaddle. Rather, she listened and considered his line of reasoning—even though his arguments went against all her previous experience with God and everything he said.
Jesus faced a similar attack and in Matthew 4:8-11 he flat-out told Satan to go away. We should imitate Jesus and not Eve.
We are assured in James 4:7 that we have the same power Jesus did to send Satan packing. All we have to do is invoke Jesus’s name—saying out loud something like this, “In the name of Jesus and by His power I command you, Satan, to leave me alone!”
I dare you to try it the next time you’re pestered by a temptation you don’t want. It’s a practice I’ve adopted that has been a tremendous help—and it’s made me more aware of the daily presence of my Savior.
The advantage we have over Eve is that we have Scriptures that tell us what Satan's character is. She was thrown off, but we don't have to be.
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV): Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
John 10:10a (ESV): The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
1 John 3:8 (ESV): Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Don't be unaware of Satan's deceit, flee from Satan, and he will flee from you! (James 4:7)
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6. Choose to See the Hope in the Judgment
The name “Eve” means “living.” Even though she committed a terrible sin, and God had to judge her for it by subjecting her to death, He still offered hope.
He didn’t change her name, and He promised she would procreate life through descendants—and that one of them would defeat the enemy forever. Just because she sinned, it didn’t condemn all of her posterity.
God offered new life instead—and it would come through Jesus Christ.
We have the same hope Eve had. The really cool thing is that we live on the other side of Jesus’s resurrection. We don’t have to live in fear or discouragement. All we have to do is confess our sin and ask Jesus to forgive us. When we turn our lives over to him to control, we experience true life and the freedom it brings, as John 8:32 describes.
Revelation 2:7 tells us we can regain what Eve lost when we submit to God and resist the devil. What did she lose?
The garden was closed off and she traded her innocence for death. While we also now live in bodies that will return to dust, we will receive new, incorruptible bodies in exchange one day. We will fellowship with God on the new earth and in the new heaven. It will be as beautiful as Eden—probably more so. We will eat the fruit from the tree of life in paradise.
Eve may have set up the world for death and judgment, but she didn’t write the ending to the story. We can learn from her mistakes and find comfort in knowing the truth that sets us free.
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