I enjoy reading through the Bible each year. I’ve used different translations and Bibles over the years, but no matter what Bible or translation you use, they always begin in Genesis on January 1st and end in the book of Revelation on December 31st. The first year I decided to start reading through the Bible in a year, I actually picked up a Chronological Bible sometime in the middle of the year and began there. It was the first year I read through Revelation during Christmas, and it was so neat to see our Savior worshiped as the Lion of Judah and no longer the babe in Bethlehem, but what truly struck me that year was the contrast between
The worship going on in the book of Revelation (notice here in Rev 4:11-14:
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that lives for ever and ever.)
And the selfish, self-seeking and prideful people found in the book Genesis. I was truly stunned at the contrast and could totally relate to the Psalmist when he asks: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him…?” Psalm 8:3&4
But He is mindful.
Let’s look at Eve’s fall from grace and see if we can detect where it all went wrong so that we might not be tempted to do the same.
It’s important to remember Eve was the perfect woman, fashioned by God and given everything in the garden except the fruit of that one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The world often speaks of having it all and Eve did!! At least far more than any of us have. Everything except that fruit!
Before we begin, let me ask you: Is there something you desire right now, perhaps long for; something that seems unattainable? Is there something you find yourself thinking about often and perhaps trying to come up with a way to attain it? If so, proceed with caution.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast…” (Genesis 3:1)
Let’s first remember the picture of heaven above. What or Whom are they focused on? I remember a very long time ago, when I was teaching on this passage or one like it in a children’s Sunday School class, one of the boys asked, “Is that all we’re going to do in heaven, is worship Jesus?” and when I answered in the affirmative, I remember him rolling his eyes as if to say, “I’m not so sure about this heaven thing.” To be honest, I hadn’t thought about that until that question came, but all we have to go on is what we see in the book of Genesis before the fall and what we see in Revelation.
I’ve showed you a bit of Revelation. Now let’s think about Eve before the serpent showed up. John MacArthur writes: “Chapter 2 ends, verse 25, the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed. You know why they could be naked and not ashamed? Because they didn’t have an evil thought about anything. There was not an evil thought in existence. Their thoughts were only pure and God-honoring and God-exalting. And their perspective was God’s perspective. There was no ego, there was no “I”, they didn’t view the world in any selfish manner. There was no perversion of any kind of thought. There was no such thing as an evil thought. And so there was no reason to be ashamed of nakedness. Full exposure on the part of man and woman without any shame because there was no such thing as evil in their mind or in their actions.” (John MacArthur in The Breadth and Depth of Sin)
I picture Eve standing there gazing at the forbidden fruit, purely out of curiosity, but completely and utterly innocent when the serpent appeared. Now let’s take a look at Genesis 3:1-7.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
Stop right there:
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh) and pleasing to the eye, (lust of the eye) and also desirable for gaining wisdom, (pride of life) she took some and ate it.
All sin comes from just three roots which are found in 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” And all three roots were found here with Eve.
And you know what they say: “The rest is history and for another day,” but let me ask you again? What have you been gazing intently at lately? Have you been tempted to “bite” and entice your husband as well? One day, this life will cease and our thoughts will only be pure and God-honoring and God-exalting. And our perspective will be God’s perspective. There will be no ego, no “I”, we will no longer view this world or heaven in any selfish manner, and we will be able to devote all our time to Him, but what about today? How can we keep from being tempted by things we have no business gazing at? How can we keep our focus on Him, when life goes on and there are jobs to do, children to raise, meals to prepare, the never-ending piles of laundry, etc? How can we keep our focus primarily on Him?
We are commanded to:
“But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ( His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”
It isn’t a matter of consciously focusing on the Lord in order to gain what we desire, but truly making Him and His ways supreme in our lives, and all those “things” the enemy will try to entice us with will pale in comparison. There was a man who lived over 400 years ago who learned how to keep focused on God throughout his daily routine and sought to teach others as well. His name was Brother Lawrence.
Brother Lawrence, who was stationed in the kitchen of a monastery, once explained, “I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world.” Brother Lawrence felt that he cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world alongside God. One of his most famous sayings was: “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.” Imagine living like Brother Lawrence, where the circumstances around us had no impact on our relationship with our Lord.
If you’d like to learn more from Brother Lawrence, you can download his entire book Practicing The Presence of God for FREE!
Your turn: We’d also love to hear what you have to say about keeping our focus on the Lord. Share your success stories and failures. Please join in the conversations by going to Women in the Word’s Facebook page and requesting an invitation. There you can freely share and see what others are saying! If you’re visiting us today, you can find out all about our online Bible study of the Women in the Word right here!
Til next time,
Soli Deo Gloria!
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