Forbidden Fruit

Obey is one of those words that we don’t like hearing. From the time we are toddlers, whenever we hear “Obey me”—or it’s shorter version “NO!”—we immediately think of what is being withheld from us. I can’t touch, taste, smell, or do what I want to. But the reality is obedience protects.

This reality of protection in obedience hit home for me one day when I was babysitting a toddler who was determined to destroy both herself and my house. After rescuing her from everything from toilets to outlets, I put her in the playpen for a nap. To little Taylor “No!” obviously meant “Go for it!” How was I to teach her otherwise?

How could I get her to understand that toilets and outlets are dangerous when she couldn’t  comprehend the words drown or electrocute, or even death?

It wouldn’t have done any good to have sat her down and shown her electrical diagrams and explained currents and wiring.  Instead, I had to confine her within the boundaries of the playpen to keep her safe, until I finished a few tasks and could watch her like a hawk.

That evening, I was talking to a friend who was suffering a lot of consequences from making wrong choices. I shared with Him about little Taylor. When he was defying God’s “No’s” all he could think about was what God was withholding from him. Now He was learning the hard way that God’s “No’s” were for his protection.

Sound familiar? In Genesis, God places Adam and Eve in a Paradise of “Yes’s”. He only gives them one “no”. They are not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

If the serpent (devil) had told Eve to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree because it tasted better than the fruit from the other trees, she might not have fallen. But the enemy didn’t deceive her with the fruit, he deceived her through a lie—a lie about the goodness of God. If he could get her to doubt God’s heart for her, he could get her mistrust God and convince her to sin, bringing death, disease, fear, destruction and every other wicked thing that could harm her into her life. The more she believed the lie, the more appetizing the forbidden fruit looked.

The devil still uses the same tactics today. That is why we struggle with obeying God’s “No’s”.  When we choose to sin, we might not always be aware that we are doubting God’s goodness, but we are. Whenever we deliberately make a wrong choice, we are inwardly telling God that we doubt His heart for us. We see Him as withholding, instead of holding out His hands to bless us.

God wants to withhold evil from us; not to withhold what is good for us. But, unfortunately, you and I sometimes  have to get shocked a few times or nearly drown in tears from our decisions until we realize that God really knew what He was talking about when He told us “No!”.

God is a good father and He knows what will truly bless us (his children). The devil wants to steal from us and rob us of our peace. God wants to give us peace, and part of that peace comes through obeying Him and resting in His care for us. Trusting leads to obedience—and obedience leads to rest. May you and I purpose to trust Him, obey Him, and rest in His care!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Genesis 3:1-7

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV).

Counterfeit Fruit

In my last post I mentioned that I was asking God for more revelation concerning my past false definition of gentleness. By the end of the day I had written down false definitions for all of the Fruits of the Spirit. Since the Fruits of the Spirit are grown in relationship with the Lord, wouldn’t it make since that counterfeits of the Fruits of the Spirit would manifest in our lives through self-reliance or faulty understanding about God’s love and character.

When you and I don’t understand our identity in Christ or know what healthy relationships are supposed to look like, it easy to confuse the fruits with their counterfeits:

Lust feels like love- until you are finished using or being used.

Happiness feels like joy-until trials come, or you don’t “feel” happy anymore.

Denial feels like peace-until your circumstances become unbearable.

Passivity feels like patience (long-suffering)-until you’ve had enough. Then it can easily turn to rage.

Permissiveness or being subservient feels like gentleness-until you discover that you lost the real “you” a long time ago.

Self-righteousness feels like goodness-until you see your flaws. Then it turns into shame and self-loathing.

False responsibility feels like faithfulness-until it turns into resentment.

Enabling feels like kindness-until you realize that the people who are using you aren’t getting better and that you are paying the cost for their bad decisions.

So if the counterfeits fruits often feel like the genuine fruits how can we tell the difference?

The true Fruits of the Spirit bear good fruit in our lives.

Counterfeits will keep us guarded, Real fruit keeps us guided by the Holy Spirit.

Counterfeits make us feel intimidated or cause us to intimidate; Real fruit leads to true intimacy (into-me-you-see)

Counterfeits bring frustration; real fruit brings freedom.

Counterfeits are birthed out of pain, loss, disappointment, fear, failure and believing lies about God , ourselves and others. Real fruit is birthed out of passion, love, desire for relationship, faith, freedom, and believing the truth about God, ourselves and others.

The other day when I was paying for my groceries with a fifty dollar bill, the cashier shared a story with me. Apparently, a few days before, the cashier had to call the police because a woman had given her a counterfeit fifty dollar bill. The woman proved to be innocent, but since the bill was fake, the woman lost fifty dollars.

The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. One of the ways he does this is through counterfeits. Thankfully, because of what Christ had done, you and I don’t have to lose out when counterfeits are discovered, we just have to take hold of the truth and allow God to restore!

May the Lord abundantly bless you!

Jeannie

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).