Sunday, December 28, 2008

from the archives: believing the deceiver

Mornings like this only come once in a while - I don't think there was another one so lovely this past year - but when they do, oh, the joy they bring! Through the prism of joy, we seem to see the world so clearly.

I had the most glorious walk this morning. It was one of those sun-drenched Spring mornings, with a cool, crisp breeze, and the air was fresh and clear. Every dancing shadow was sharp-etched and lovely, every finely veined leaf suffused with a deeper meaning, every branch lifted a multitude of tiny twigs to the sky in praise to God.

It was one of those rare times when my eyes were unclouded by tiredness, guilt, discouragement, or illness, and the world seemed fair and unspoiled, like it was made new this morning just for me.

It struck me that this was a small taste of how Adam and Eve must have seen the world, in all its shining newness, when they walked with God in the morning of the world, and discovered its beauties for the first time, through eyes unmarred by sin, doubt, and sorrow.

It made me wonder why they gave all this up to follow their own path away from God. It's not much of a deal is it: "Here, swap this fantastic and wonderful beauty, this serenity and bliss, this tender enjoyment of one another, this intimate walk with God, for a world filled with despair, misery, decay, confusion, pain, and death."

But of course that's not the choice that was presented to them. Satan painted the way he wanted them to take in bright and glowing colours: "God didn't really say that you would die! He's actually trying to keep from you the greatest secret of all: the knowledge of good and evil."

Little did they know the desolation that an inner knowledge of evil would produce.

And is it any different for us? We also hear the taunting, lying words of Satan, the great Deceiver, whispering in our ears, accusing us, challenging us, and tempting us with false promises of wisdom and happiness.

"God can't really have meant he would forgive you, it's obvious that you're beyond the reach of his forgiveness, you've been struggling with this sin for years!" "You don't really believe the Bible, do you, no intelligent person takes it seriously any more." "Perhaps if you expressed your anger...bought this one thing...gave into temptation just this would feel comforted, fulfilled, happier."

Like Adam and Eve, we're tempted by the promise of something better, wiser, more plausible. What we don't remember when we listen to Satan's lies, is that we're giving up all that really matters, all that deeply satisfies, all that is joyful, and meaningful, and true, for a lie that will leave only bitterness and despair in its wake.

And if this world can sometimes be so heart-breakingly lovely, imagine what heaven will be like. Now there's a promise worth believing.

see Genesis 1-3; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3


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