Most of us who have attended church for awhile have heard the story of Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent and eating the apple, thus committing the first sin of humanity (Genesis 3). It’s an important story to know and most of us like to imagine that story in our minds. But rarely do we take the time to really think about what it teaches us about sin.
Sin is Sneaky
The serpent told Eve that if she ate the apple she would be like God. We often think Eve’s sin was being disobedient by eating from the tree she was told not to (though, to be fair, God gave the command to Adam before Eve was created, but I digress). But the key point here is that sin was crouching at her door. This wasn’t about an apple, this was about her desire to be more like God. A woman made by the hands of God, in the image of God, thought there was something more she needed to be like God. And so she ate.
And the result was nothing like she expected. Instead of feeling great power or knowledge, she immediately felt shame. Shame of her nakedness for the body which God had just deemed “very good.” You see how sin deceived her? She wanted to be in control and be more like God, but in fact it was the sin which ended up controlling her.
In the same way, we have to understand that sin does not show itself to us in neon lights that say “SIN”. It is sneaky and disguises itself as things which are good for us, will bring us joy, will solve our problems, etc. But just like Eve discovered, these temptations to sin never live up to the great things they offer. While Eve wanted to experience greater knowledge, she actually experienced shame.
Our Response to Sin
1) Just like Adam and Eve, our initial response to sin is to hide it. Adam and Eve ate of the apple and immediately hid from God. They knew they had done wrong but they didn’t want anyone else to know. In the same way, even when we are aware of our sin, we are embarrassed and so we hide it so nobody thinks less of us. Church goers are especially guilty of this as we try so hard to make everybody think our family is a good Christian family every Sunday, regardless of our faults and struggles the other 6 days of the week: “As long as we wear collared shirts and dresses and bring our Bibles to church, nobody will notice our disdain for each other, dad’s porn addiction, mom’s constant cynicism, and Julie’s cut up wrists,” they think.
2) After we get caught in our sin, our first reaction, like Adam and Eve, is to blame somebody else. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, I blame my wife, you blame your co-worker, etc. When we are in the middle of sin, we don’t want to accept fault and so we push it to somebody else thinking this makes us clean. We don’t even have to be taught this behavior – spend a day with a toddler and you are sure to hear some creative stories passing blame from the child to the stuffed animal.
So How Do We Fight Against Sin
Praise God, He gives us a strategy to battle against the temptations which confront us. Yes, sin is sneaky and is quick to control us, but our defense is the same for sin as for fighting off stealth ninjas – TURN THE LIGHTS ON!
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. (Ephesians 5:11-14)
Just like this passage describes, we need to expose the sin in our lives for what it is, then with the lights on it, we can actively fight against it. This is why confession of sin to God and to others is so important. When we stop hiding our sin, like Adam, and start exposing our sin to God, then we are in a position of strength to fight against the temptations in our lives.
So recognizing that sin is sneaky, I urge us all to turn the lights on our sin and expose it so we can fight against it.