The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” Genesis 3:2-3
Life can be full of temptations. Sometimes the exact cookies you are absolutely craving have been left in the break room refrigerator. You’re not sure whose they are but you know they aren’t yours. You go in that room several times a day and there is never anyone else there. Do you grab a cookie?
Sometimes it is about much more than cookies.
Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot was a thief. All the same, the Lord made Judas the treasurer of their group. The money bag was always in his possession. The temptation to take what he wanted was ever present.
It has always been so. From even before our text in Genesis 3, the tree of the forbidden fruit grew right in the middle of the Garden of Eden. I have a niece who, complaining about her own temptation once, asked the Lord why it was so convenient. “Couldn’t You have put that tree in the far edge of the Garden and maybe covered it up with bushes?”, she asked.
The answer of course was, “no”. Sometimes temptations are right in the middle of your life because they are not there to be avoided. They are there to be overcome. Sometimes, if temptation is a fire, our job is not to run screaming, but to put it out. If that temptation is a mountain, our job is to climb it, not skirt around it. Our maturity in Christ requires the development of purity, holiness and spiritual strength. Only by the testing of that strength can we know our limits and grow past them.
In a way, this positioning of temptation in our lives can be convenient. Our challenge stands right in front of us. To work, my friends! We don’t have to go farther than the break room to begin the struggle.