My desk sits close to a window that opens into our neighborhood. From that vantage point I’m privileged to watch birds perch on the trees nearby. Some come to the window to eat insects trapped in the screen.
The birds check their immediate surroundings for any danger, listening attentively as they look about them. Only when they are satisfied that there is no danger do they settle down to feed. Even then, they pause every few seconds to scan the area.
The vigilance these birds demonstrate reminds me that the Bible teaches us to practice vigilance as Christians. Our world is full of temptations, and we need to remain constantly alert and not forget about the dangers. Like Adam and Eve, we easily get entangled in attractions that make the things of this world seem “good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Gen. 3:6).
“Be on your guard,” Paul admonished, “stand firm in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13). And Peter cautioned, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
As we work for our own daily bread, are we alert to what could start consuming us? Are we watching for any hint of self-confidence or willfulness that could leave us wishing we had trusted our God?
Lord, keep us from the secret sins and selfish reactions we’re so naturally inclined toward. By Your grace, turn our temptations into moments of growth in Christlikeness.
The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.
In Genesis 3, the serpent twists what God has said to Adam and Eve about the fruit in the garden. Rather than directly challenge what God has said, the serpent exaggerates the claim by asking if God commanded no eating from any tree (v. 1). This distortion on the part of the serpent elicits a similar response from Eve. Instead of responding with God’s own words (see the example of Jesus’s confrontation with Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4), Eve adds to His words. After rightly correcting that it is only from the tree in the middle of the garden that they may not eat, she adds the prohibition that they may not “touch” the tree (Gen. 3:3).