After working hard to achieve our goals in life, it’s natural to want to relax a bit and take it easy. However, success in certain areas of our lives could begin to make us less sensitive to temptations. Thinking we’re now safe and secure, we may begin to compromise in small ways. It might be in our attitudes, associations, or practices. This could also happen in our spiritual lives after having struggled in a particular area and then conquering it. We may be tempted to drop our guard, thinking we’ve overcome that sin or weakness. Yet sometimes without even knowing, we begin to drift backward.
Those times when we think everything is going well can be the beginning of disaster. This possibility is not something new because it happened long ago in the beginning of time. Genesis 2:7-17 describes a situation in which everything was the best it has ever been, yet disaster soon followed.
Genesis’ first chapter describes the creation of the earth and everything in it, including mankind. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (v. 27). The Lord concluded His creation with these words: “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (v. 31).
The Lord God planted a garden called Eden, and placed Adam and Eve there. Everything about it was perfect, and He provided for all their needs. There was plenty of food from the many trees, and a river flowed through the Garden, so they never lacked water. Furthermore, the environment was absolutely beautiful.
When God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, He gave him the responsibility of keeping and managing it. Basically, he was a gardener or farmer. He wasn’t supposed to simply sit around eating the fruit and enjoying the beauty. God gave him the gift of meaningful work.
The Lord provided a perfect, beautiful, and fruitful environment for Adam and Eve, and He only put one restriction on them: “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). God placed this tree in the garden to give Adam and Eve the opportunity to choose to love Him. He knows that acceptance of His love makes a relationship with Him more precious and rewarding, but allowing Adam and Eve to make their own choice also introduced the possibility that they might reject Him. Knowing that disaster would result from the wrong decision, the Lord mindfully warned them of the consequences that would follow if they disobeyed—they would surely die.
Adam and Eve had all the knowledge and satisfaction they could possibly need, but Satan tempted Eve to focus on what she didn’t have and suggested that God was withholding something good from her. He told her she could be like God, and she believed the lie and ate from the forbidden tree. According to Scripture, she then handed the fruit to Adam, and he ate as well. He ignored God’s warning and may have even thought that since Eve didn’t die immediately, nothing bad would happen. The result of their sin was shame and an awareness of their nakedness. When God came walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they tried to hide themselves from Him.
When are you more likely to yield to temptation—when life is going well and you have all you need and want, or when you are struggling and desperately need God’s help? Be sure to stay on guard and ready to resist the enemy’s tactics. Because he never stops seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Be Careful When All Is Well” which airs this weekend on TV.