Re-scripting Your Life, Part 5
How The War Was Won.
Back to the scene of the crime…
In earlier posts we have already laid out the anatomy of The Fall and how that affected the relationship between God and humanity and what happened to the soul of man in the process. We are now going to shift our attention to the effect salvation has on the healing of our minds. If Jesus was going to save us fully (body, soul, and spirit), He would have to go back to the scene of the crime and do what Adam and Eve failed to do. In the Garden, the temptation scene contained three elements that awakened Eve’s soul to the possibility that what Satan was saying to her could actually be true. Once these thoughts were planted they began to grow and stir her imagination of what she would be missing if she rejected the challenge to eat the restricted fruit. At that moment, human logic and reasoning became the decision driver rather than trust and obedience in God.
The temptation starts in the form of a question… Has God really said?... A question is designed to start a thought process that needs to have an answer in order for the matter to be settled in the mind where the question was planted. In processing the answer to that question, she took in outside information from her senses and soul and used that as the basis for coming to a conclusion. The biblical account says that when Eve saw that the fruit was beautiful, that it was good for food, and that it could make one wise, she took it and ate it. The conclusion seemed perfectly logical to her. Let’s take a closer look at these three logic steps that led to the tragic outcome. These aspects of the temptation push on the basic foundations of human security and significance that can either be rooted in a trust-relationship with God or a trust-relationship with the world around us.
The first thing that was aroused in Eve was the fruit’s beauty. Beauty speaks to the desire of the human heart to be surrounded with an environment that is pleasing to the 5 senses of our feeling/emotional world. We all have an innate need and desire for emotional security and therefore an innate desire to fill our lives with beautiful things is part of God’s design. (Note: after The Fall, man’s twisted pursuit of beauty was perverted by Satan. Beauty is now in the eye of the beholder rather than in the presence of God so that even something crude and evil can be seen as beautiful). God placed Adam and Eve in a spectacularly beautiful Garden that must have been a thrill to all 5 senses! There are many verses of scripture that speak of the beauty of God and all that is in His presence. Everything God created was good and beautiful. God built the desire for beauty into the DNA of humanity when He created them in His image.
So the line of logic could have gone something like this… God loves beautiful things, this fruit is beautiful, God put the desire for beauty in me, so if beauty is good, the more beauty I have in my life, the better, so eating this fruit must be good for me.
The second aspect of the temptation says that Eve also saw that the fruit was good for food. The desire to eat to stay alive was hard wired into humanity. I believe that the desire to eat good, healthy food is part of the hard wiring for humans. However, as we can see today, we can be tricked or deceived into thinking that some foods are good for us even though they are actually killing us! Eve’s line of logic here could have gone like this… We need to eat to live, eating good foods makes us feel better and work better, God wants us to be healthy and productive so this fruit must be part of a balanced, healthy diet. What could be wrong with that?...
The last part of Eve’s logic process tempted her intellect. The account says that Eve also saw that the fruit was good to make one wise. Intellectual security and significance are powerful motivators of human behavior. Being stupid and naive is not high on the list of things we want to be. We have a powerful need to know - just spend a day with a 4 year old! God built her brain to house her mind which was designed to communicate with God and comprehend the magnitude of His greatness. To know God is eternal life (John 17:3). Her line of logic could have sounded like this… I want to know God more fully and the only way I can do that is to get wiser. I don’t know what the difference between right and wrong is yet, but I want to know so I can be more like God and get closer to Him…
In a matter of seconds these three logical conclusions were strung together in Eve’s mind and the decision to take and eat was made. Before Eve knew what was happening, her eyes were opened and instead of becoming just like God as Satan promised, she (and Adam) had become fearful and filled with shame. This mental state triggered the fight/flight response and they hid themselves from God and each other.
I believe that at that moment a dramatic shift was made in the human brain that has plagued humanity ever since. The salvation Jesus came to secure must incorporate healing for our minds by hitting head-on these same three logic processes. This is precisely what we see at the beginning of His public ministry. The Gospels record that just after His baptism, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Here is the epic re-match of all human history. Satan held the title of Ruler of This World for thousands of years after The Fall.
Jesus, as a human in the likeness of Adam, was now stepping into the ring to face Satan and would need to take the same punches Adam and Eve took, but without so much as a flinch of hesitation in His thought process. His counter-punch must be directly connected to a core belief system that would not entertain any doubt or shadow of Who He was and Who His Heavenly Father was.
Satan’s first jab was again a question (nothing changes in his tactics). This time it focused on Jesus’ identity. “If You are the Son of God”... Identity is the key to understanding how and where we get our security and significance. Remember, what (or who) we see as our source will determine our course. Satan was trying to get Jesus to have to defend His position with logic, trying to prove to Satan that He was indeed the Son of God.
Instead, Jesus punches right back by only allowing to come out of His mouth what had already come out of the mouth of His Father… It is written. This was a left-hook that Satan did not see coming. The rest of the fight goes the same way, punch - counter-punch. Jesus never backed up in defense to think about His response. His automatic response was rooted and grounded in His identity and relationship to His father. This is a key that we will unpack when we examine the practical side of renewing and rewiring our minds.
In this account of the temptation of man, Jesus wins a TKO and sends Satan scrambling to regroup and look for a way to get through this defense system. Jesus was tempted in the same three specific areas that Adam and Eve were tempted in. In all three of these situations, the answer was the same, “it is written.” In 1 John 2:16, these three aspects of temptation are described as “the lust of the eye (beauty), the lust of the flesh (physical appetites), and the boastful pride of life (desire to make one wise).” These are the three base areas where our minds must be renewed if we are ever going to live in the freedom of our salvation.
In the next installment we are going to dive head first into the process of what renewing the mind really looks like. Remember, God wants to turn you into a new person by changing the way you think!
by Pastor Jim Anan