by Kristen C. Strocchia
“To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:17-19
Adam’s turn–third to sin, third to learn the consequence for his actions. And God lets him know on no uncertain terms that following his wife into sin–the excuse he gave when he admitted his disobedience–is exactly the reason why he too is subject to the effects of sin.
Scripture is clear that, “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed,“[James 1:14]. If Adam hadn’t already considered eating the forbidden fruit, Eve’s offer wouldn’t have been so tempting. She affirmed his evil desire to disobey God, and he acted on it. “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death,” [James 1:15].
Adam’s first death–as Eve’s and every other sinful human being after–was the broken relationship with God. His second death came in the form of a broken relationship with the world that he was created to care for [Genesis 2:15].
Where once he could walk freely among the trees and eat of any fruit that God had prepared for him, now Adam was exiled to plant seeds, tend their growth and harvest their fruit. But the ground wouldn’t cooperate with him so easily. Where he planted seeds, he would receive weeds for his trouble. And if he intended to eat [which of course he did], then he would have to hoe and sow, weed and water, fight blight and inspect for insects in the burning sun and hot winds. Adam would have to work hard for every meal that he and his family ate for the rest of his life!
And then he would die, physically, just as God warned would happen if he ate from the forbidden tree. He lost his free meal ticket. He lost his home. His wife subjected herself to pain and heartbreak. And Adam subjected himself to frustrated labor. All because they gave in to their temptation.
But while we all certainly face temptations today, we do not have to succumb. Scripture promises us that, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it,” [1 Corinthians 10:13].
Do you ever find your self-defense starts with, “But s/he did it too?” Ask God to reveal your inner desires, those enticements threatening to grow into full-blown sin and death. Ask Him to show you His provision of a way out of your temptation so that you can endure it.