Desiring experience over command

God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and gave them everything they would need. The garden was perfect in every way. Only one tree’s fruit  was off-limits.

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…(Gen. 3:6).

Eve desired  what was forbidden. God has placed certain areas off-limits in our lives, too. This principle alone may awaken our desires.  For its often when we’re told we can’t do something, that we discover a growing desire to do that very thing (Rom. 7:8).

Whenever I have asked an audience the question, “Have any of you ever touched the painted surface when the sign read, “Do not Touch! Wet Paint!” I’m amazed at the numbers of hands that go up. The follow-up question, “Why didn’t you obey the sign?” always brings the same sheepish response, “I just wanted to see for myself.”

Just like Eve, we prefer personal experience over a command. If the command was given, we reason, someone, somewhere is keeping something from us that we deserve.

Our minds reeling under this intoxication, our desires are quick to redefine right from wrong and justify our actions. They most often do this through what our desires make us feel.

In 1960 Elvis Presley recorded the song “It Can’t be Wrong, When it Feels so Right.” The King put to music what our sinful natures had declared all along. Your desires can be trusted more than what God has said. You will be satisfied, if you give in to them.

When it comes to those things God has placed off-limits, the Bible declares another message: not only is it wrong, but it will bring disaster.

James writes,

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:13-15).

Lessons learned while waiting in line

For many of us waiting is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I have discovered that one of the best ways to wait is to ask the question: “Lord, what are you teaching me through this?”

We all have a tendency to think of God’s teaching lessons as being for someone else. Like the first humans in the garden of Eden we can see others in need of God’s instruction better than we can see ourselves. Or perhaps we look at the situations far too narrowly. If we can only figure this out or work harder than we can quit waiting. I’m all for the fact that we should work diligently along side of prayer.  But what you and I must understand is that anytime we are waiting, and find our selves anxious, worried, or frustrated our anxiety is linked to one thing: our need for control.

Think of that the next time you’re standing in line. You have an agenda. You have things to do. No one in front of you understands that do they? You are simply trying to control what’s on your plate that day, and so you grow increasingly frustrated because it’s not working out the way you planned.

Next time you stand in line for anything, ask yourself “What is God teaching me through this moment?”  So often we think the only lesson we’re going to learn from waiting is patience. Patience is a side benefit of waiting; it is not the sole purpose. Anytime we are frustrated in our waiting – It is always about control.  Doesn’t God know our schedules and our events for the day? Although we aren’t in control of the events of our lives He is.

A friend of mine says it this way: Every trial has a note attached: “Made in heaven just for you.” That’s the essence of what Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 when he wrote, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”