Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dangerous Faith: Curiosity Killed More Than the Cat

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 surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:1-5

There’s an old saying “curiosity killed the cat,” but curiosity is responsible for much more than that. It lies at the heart of almost all sin. Consider the passage of Scripture above. Satan offered Adam and Eve a new, “eye opening” experience. He convinced them that God was holding out on them. He had access to some good thing that God was withholding, namely knowledge of good and evil. He offered them an opportunity to become “like God,” and curiosity drove them to take it.

Of course curiosity is often a good thing. It has driven men and women to invent things like the light bulb and the automobile. Without this God-given urge known as curiosity our lives would be much worse. So how does this good thing drive us to sin?

At the heart of every curiosity lies a question. For a medical problem the question may be, “How does a particular virus affect the human body?” For Adam and Eve (and for most of us) the question at the heart of our sin is this: “Is God withholding some good thing from me?” It is this doubt, this questioning of the goodness of God’s plan for us, that drives us to sin. Like Adam and Eve, when we doubt this, we begin to grasp at things that God never intended for us to have. We believe that we are missing out on something, and the curiosity of what that thing may be and how pleasurable it may be overtakes us.

Consider, for example, the temptation to have premarital sex. For our entire lives we are told that sex is the ultimate pleasure, and that the best sex is experienced by young, beautiful people in promiscuous situations. The end result is that many of us way overestimate the pleasure of sex before marriage and way underestimate the value and pleasure of sex after marriage. Oftentimes, when we live life by God's rules we feel like we are missing out on the party. We find ourselves asking questions like, “Why doesn’t God want me to have any fun?” The truth is that most of what we have been told about sex is a lie. Sex before marriage always brings pain, and research shows that it is actually less pleasurable than sex within a monogamous marriage relationship.* It is very hard for us not to believe the lies that the world tells us. It is even more difficult for us to believe that our life is better and more joy filled because we aren’t having sex before marriage. I am using sex before marriage here as one example, but the point stands on its own. As long as we doubt the goodness of God’s plan for us, our hearts are fertile soil in which sin can grow and bring forth sin and death.

We must constantly be on our guard against the lies that the devil tells us. They are designed to pull our hearts away from God. We must be vigilant. We have to test everything against Scripture so that we may know what is “good and acceptable.” We cannot afford to simply receive all the messages that we hear in pop music and on TV. We must filter them.  You have a junk mail filter on your email. You need a junk filter on your mind. Filter out all of the lies or they will slowly take root and tear you away from your God.

So here’s what dangerous faith is really all about—are you willing to trust God? Will you trust that His plans for your life are far better than your own? Will you resist the temptation to believe that He is withholding good things from you? Will you resist the temptation to grasp at all the things in life that you want? Will you walk humbly before your God as His eager servant? Here’s the really mind-bending part. Are you willing to believe that you would have more joy sitting in a Chinese prison for Christ than you would making millions selling drugs? Dangerous faith chooses to believe, even to the point of death. Dangerous faith combats the lies of Satan with the truth of God. So I ask you, will you believe the lies of this world or will you believe God? Will you be dangerous today?

For further reading this week…
  • Genesis 2 & 3: Check out the full story on Adam and Eve.
  • Psalm 37: Those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
  • Daniel 6: (pay special attention to verse 23): Consider a familiar story from this new perspective.
  • Psalm 9:10: "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."

*"A large-scale study of 1,100 American adults by the Family Research Council found that 72% of married people who attended church weekly reported being "very satisfied" with their sex lives, thirty points higher than their unmarried counterparts, and thirteen points higher than other marrieds. In these days when we are being bombarded with attacks for our stance on sexuality, perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves why sex, in the Christian context, can be so wonderful." Quoted from the web page "The Joy of Christian Sex" on Sheila Wray Gregoire's website.

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