Mind Games Pt. 1 - Rebuke vs. Respond
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when[a] you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God,[b] knowing good and evil.” 6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Let’s take it back to verse 1 one more time...He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
This question leads to the beginning of so many doubts, temptations, bad decisions and consequences.
We have all heard this question from friends, family, strangers, enemies and even our own minds. Four small words that when not checked can cause a domino effect of doubt, bad decisions and disobedience- “Did God really say…?”
Did God really say that you can’t drink? Did God really say that you couldn’t go to the party with us? Did God really say that you can’t get involved with so and so? Did God really say that it is wrong to do blah blah blah blah blah?
The problem with these four words is they cause us to question what God has already made clear. They cause us to let down our guard and enter into a conversation that will plant seeds of doubt and confusion. Eve knew exactly what God said and she should’ve just repeated it verbatim and been done with it. But no, she left room for the serpent to respond and give his two cents...two cents that ended up costing a lot in the end. When we read Genesis, we love to point the finger and play the blame game like Adam but really, we aren’t much better. Many of us, like Eve, fall right into the trap time, after time, after time. I know I have and it has never led to anything worth what it cost me. We have all ignored the provision of God for a taste of forbidden fruit. Because Eve entered into a conversation with the enemy, her eyes were open to and enticed by the forbidden fruit. In an instant she forgot that she could eat from all of the other trees in the Garden and she became fixated on the one percent that was not her portion. Now how many of us can be honest and say that we have done just this?
“The woman said to the serpent,”
And that was Eve’s first mistake. She RESPONDED to the serpent instead of REBUKING him.
Some would argue that her first mistake was hearing what he had to say but we can’t control what thoughts come, we can’t control who approaches us with things contrary to the Word of God, but we can control what thoughts remain and what conversations we will entertain. Eve messed up when she chose to respond and hold a conversation with the enemy rather than putting him in his place as Jesus did in Matthew 16:22-23.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no,[a] Lord! This will never happen to You!” 23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns,[b] but man’s.”
Genesis 3:1-2 and Matthew 16:22-23...Two incidents where the enemy cunningly tried to come across as innocent and concerned, however, two totally different responses were given - which is why the first incident led to the Fall and the other stumbling block was fully avoided, allowing Jesus to lead us to our freedom. The serpent got Eve to evade God’s command but his attempt through Peter did not get Jesus to evade the Cross!
We must stop entertaining conversations with the enemy for these conversations leave room for seeds of doubt and disobedience to be planted. They cause us to stumble and miss out on what God has for us. It isn’t being rude, it is being responsible. PROTECT WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE. You don’t have to sit there and listen to someone question and speak against the commands that God has already given you - no matter if they are family, friend or foe. Matthew 16 shows us that the enemy can even use those closest to you to try to plant doubt in your spirit. We must be heavenly minded and our allegiance must be completely to God and His Word. We get so worried about offending others that we don’t want to cut them off or rebuke them but we don’t mind offending God by allowing them to plant seeds of doubt in our spirits. We rather allow them to taint our spirits than to tell them that we “ain’t tryna hear it”. Eve’s entertainment of the serpent’s convo led to so much pain in her life. Learn from her mistake. Protect your peace, protect your spirit and protect what you know!
The enemy is the ultimate trickster which is why it is so imperative that we study him and learn how he works. He likes to see what you know, test what you know and tempt you in hopes that you won’t hold on to what you know. He doesn’t just come straight out with temptation for you to sin...he first tries to figure out what you know and how strongly you’ll hold on to it. He gets to know his prey before he attempts to devour it. The Word says that the devil prowls around like a lion seeking whom he MAY devour (1 Peter 5:8). This lets you know that he isn’t able to get everyone but rather he studies to see who is vulnerable to his schemes. Know what you know relentlessly with unwavering faith. Don’t leave room for the enemy to plant doubt.
One of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to invade, attack and play with our minds. That’s why the title of this Sowfull Series is called, MIND GAMES. It’s time to learn how the enemy plays.