Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-5)
God placed Adam and Eve on the earth and provided for their every need. The only restriction was that they were not to eat of the fruit from the one tree. Satan told Eve that the reason for this was God did not want her to be like Him. He was appealing to her self-nature by implying that God had held something back from her and her husband. God had supplied for all of their needs. He even walked with them on a daily basis. Satan was still able to find a weakness he could exploit. The world was perfect. There were no storms or natural disasters. Eve had no reason to doubt God’s love for her. She had no reason to believe that God was holding anything back. Satan was still able to plant a seed of doubt in her mind. This is the first recorded temptation. It was based on Adam and Eve’s self-nature which allowed a seed of doubt concerning God’s supply to be planted in their minds. She chose to dwell on Satan’s lie and the end result was the fall of mankind. We all start out as infants totally focused on our selfish needs. Many remain focused on self and are never able to crucify the flesh nature. It is our selfishness that keeps us focused on what other people say about us. It is our self-nature that is easily offended and that seeks to get back at people.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)
A person who has submitted themselves to Christ will crucify their flesh. The things that hold us back will no longer be a hindrance once our flesh has been crucified. Let’s pause for a moment to think about this. Jesus was alive when He went to the cross. He was a corpse when they took Him off of the cross. A person who has been crucified is dead. Have you ever seen a corpse? If you spit on it, will it jump up and come after you? It won’t because it has no life in it. It is dead and would not even know we spit on it. We can kick a corpse, slap it, or even call it names and it would not react because it is dead. People will come against us when we discover the plan of God and begin to walk in it. If we have taken the time to prepare ourselves before stepping out, our self-nature will be crucified, and we will not be affected by how people treat us.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The writer of Hebrews compared the Christian walk as a race. He described the great cloud of heavenly witnesses that are cheering us on. This verse became very real to me shortly after my father passed away. Our church has prayer for volunteer workers one hour before each service. I was scheduled to serve and was present for the prayer service. The staff member scheduled to lead prayer opened by asking everyone to raise their hands to praise God. I lifted my hands to praise God and suddenly the presence of God enveloped me. Words are not adequate to describe what followed. It seemed as if the veil between heaven and earth was removed. I was able to see my father in heaven. He was aware that I was worshipping and lifted his hands to worship with me. No one around me knew what was happening to me and the presence lifted when the leader ended prayer. As I headed to my station the words of Hebrews 12:1-2 rose up from my spirit. It became clear to me that the people in heaven are aware of what we are doing for the Kingdom of God. They are not interested in natural things like what home we are living in or what car we are driving. They do cheer us on though as we progress in our spiritual walk on a day by day basis.
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