Forbidden Fruit

Bible Reading: Genesis 1; 2; 3

"And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food…. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil….' [After the serpent tempted Eve:] 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 man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (2:9a, 16-17; 3:6, 8)

God has surrounded me with so much that is pleasing and satisfying. He has granted me complete freedom to enjoy his abundant blessings. Why am I so enticed by that one thing that he withholds? Why does it hold such a strong appeal?

Satan places the "forbidden fruit" in front of my eyes, and points out its desirability. I see that it is "pleasing to the eye and good for food." Everything else that God has freely given me is also "pleasing to the eye and good for food," but it all suddenly pales in comparison, and I must have the fruit that fills my mind. I hold it in my hand and admire its beauty. I begin to rationalize why I must have it. Perhaps God didn't really mean what he said. Perhaps I just misunderstood. Perhaps he doesn't completely understand or sympathize with my situation. Or …maybe God gets some kind of sadistic pleasure in denying me life's greatest pleasures.

If I listen to Satan's deception long enough, he convinces me that it won't hurt to take one small bite. The fruit tastes sweet in my mouth, but drops like lead in my stomach. I know that I have disobeyed God. My guilt and shame cause me to hide from him. My moment of pleasure has created distance in my relationship with God, and carries many difficult and painful consequences.

Sometimes the denied fruit is not sinful, but is good in and of itself …a job, a child, good health, a loving relationship.... Yet, for some reason, God withholds it from me. I long to taste of the fruit that would bring such fulfillment, but it is beyond my reach. I focus so intently on its appeal that I fail to see all the ways God has blessed me; I fail to see the possibility of satisfaction or wholeness without obtaining the fruit that I so desire. My obsession and disappointment create distance in my relationship with God. I begin to wonder if God really loves me. Why won't he grant this longing of my heart? Isn't he listening? Doesn't he care? Satan fills my mind with doubt and bitterness.

As I work through my pain and confusion, God is waiting. He is calling to me. He wants me to open my eyes to his beauty that surrounds me …to the blessings that I have failed to realize. He wants to walk by my side and commune with me. He wants to share his heart with me and give me a glimpse of his dream for me. He wants to be my friend. He wants me to know how much he loves me and desires to have a relationship with me. He wants me to talk to him, listen to him, cry with him, dream with him, rejoice in him, trust him, …love him. How long must he wait?