Paul writes in Romans 14:23, “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” That covers a lot of territory in life.
Confronted with temptation from the serpent, Adam and Eve make unwise and faithless decisions. Sin spreads rapidly in their lives. The serpent undermines the relationship between God and Adam and Eve by suggesting that disobeying God is beneficial to them. God’s authority is challenged; the thought is introduced that their Creator is unreasonable and no longer benevolent. The suggestion is that God is selfish with only his own best interests in mind. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'” That’s a distortion, for Adam and Eve were “free to eat from any tree in the garden” (Genesis 2:16). God never said “you must not touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil,…” Instead, they were not to eat from it. Next comes the most alluring thought of all. If they eat of the forbidden tree they “will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The temptation that God is arbitrary, unreasonable, selfish, and not good takes root in the woman’s mind and then spreads easily to the man. They fall for the serpents temptation and choose disobedience, sin, and estrangement from God and each other. There are consequences to their disobedient choices. Now they distrust God. Soon, they begin to distrust each other. Life becomes harder and more difficult in a fallen world yet not impossible. God punishes their sinful choice but does spare their lives and does attend to their new needs in a fallen world. God is good and faithful.
And so we see what happens when we humans choose to live in ways other than what God desires. Temptation comes to us and sometimes, perhaps too often, we begin to think less of God and less of others in order to go for what we want. We think more highly of ourselves than we should. We decide that we know better than God and that we should live for whatever we think is right for us. We become self directed rather than faith directed. And then we mess up and choose what is not of faith.
It is interesting to read Genesis Chapter 3 and then to read either Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-13 when Jesus was tempted by the devil and contrast the responses to temptation. Jesus reminds us: to “live…on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” to “not put the Lord your God to the test,” and to “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” We live in faith whatever we do when we follow the words and example of Jesus.
And Paul writes “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). May we live in faith this day and always.