Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be open, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. ~ Genesis 3:1-6 (NRSV)
Good, bad, or indifferent, I feel better knowing I’m not the first woman to be tempted by food. But let’s be real about two things: 1) Eve knew the limitations set by God and disobeyed; and 2) Satan is a sneaky bastard for being calculating and deceptive during our weak moments.
Eve knew she had freedom to explore and taste the fruit in the entire garden, except for one tree.
We want what we cannot have and Satan is always perfectly positioned to help us make our want a reality. He has a way of twisting words, deceiving us into trouble, and making us believe our choice isn’t that bad. He tricks us then justifies our actions. Eve wouldn’t really die if she ate the fruit, she would be pleased with its sweet taste and be rewarded with great knowledge. But, she disobeyed God.
In 2004, after years of suffering internal digestive tract ulcers, I was diagnosed with a severe allergy to dairy (cow’s milk). I was dairy free more than a decade. In early 2015, after Kamden stopped nursing and I quit pumping, I tested limitations and indulged in frozen yogurt made with cow’s milk. I didn’t take a huge bite, for fear I would react like I had in the past, but I convinced myself it would be worth it if, in fact, pregnancy hormones and child-birth had miraculously dissolved my food allergies. After all, a woman’s body IS a miraculous thing and stranger things have happened. I waited three days for a reaction. Once I realized my fortune, I thanked God for his divine providence and drove straight to Dairy Queen for a large cookie dough blizzard.
Because I lack self-control, my consumption of dairy has been unrestrained the past few months. Peek inside my fridge or pantry and you’ll see butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and milk chocolate chips. Dining in restaurants is no longer a chore but something to enjoy because I don’t have to play 20 Questions with the waiter about ingredients and cross-contamination. My stomach is the ideal consumer and I am a marketer’s dream – always wanting more. Large is better than medium. Four cookies are better than one.
I hear God whispering, “Nicole, my beloved child, restrain yourself.”
Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Easu said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. ~ Genesis 25:29-31, 33-34
Esau sounds like a noble and hard-working guy, but he’s got an impatient appetite. Jacob is a gifted chef, preparing a meal he knows his brother won’t deny in hopes they will negotiate for what they both want. Thinking with his stomach, Esau relinquished his birthright (double portion of inheritance) in order to eat a meal. That’s an expensive bowl of soup!
Like Eve (me), Esau doesn’t die of starvation. He gets his belly full and goes on his way, only he’s lighter in savings. His selfishness and lack of discipline cost a fortune. Jacob saw an opportunity to seize what he wanted and attacked Esau in a weak moment. Satan strategically plans his attacks too, allowing us to satisfy immediate desires while ignoring the consequences that will eventually come later.
Lord, forgive me for being like Eve. I want what I want when I want it and ignore your instructions to have restraint. I blatantly disobey you.
Forgive me for being like Esau. I sacrifice long-term goals for short-term desires.
Forgive me for being like Jacob and listening to Satan’s deceptive words. I hear your voice but ignore it when cravings are stronger than my will to be healthy.
Lord, I need you. O, I need you.