Fruit that is Good and Pleasing to the Eye – Part 2

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img_3260In Part 1, I touched on ministry and social media.  Here are two more fruits that are good and pleasing to the eye that can turn into the bitter fruit of disobedience.

Food:  I’m going to be blunt and just say it. We have made food a major sin problem.  Food was one of the things that God created for Adam and Eve to enjoy in the Garden of Eden. And they most likely did not need to eat the fruit since their source of life was God.  However, since sin came into the world, food is one of the necessities of life.

God gave us food not only to live but also to enjoy.  Yet if you haven’t noticed, we enjoy it a little too much.  40.4% of women, 35% of men, 29.5% of girls, and 29.7% of boys in the US are obese. (stats from World Obesity Federation 2013-14).  We don’t eat because we are hungry.  We eat because we are bored, stressed, and highly addicted to the taste.  Eating is a major part of celebrations and holidays, culture traditions, and social events. And we have all heard, “eat your plate because children are starving in Africa.”  What? Who even started that phrase?  Eat everything regardless if you are full because some child won’t get any food. It’s almost an insult when you really think about it.  Waste the food by shoving it down your own throat just so you don’t feel guilty that someone somewhere won’t have a meal tonight. C’mon.

Oh and speaking of wasting food…..do you know that we waste 50% of food grown, prepared, served?   50%. I’m guilty myself; we all are.  But I wanted to puke after hearing that and then listening to an agriculture company (which I will not name) explain why they believe genetically-modifying food is absolutely necessary: because we won’t have enough food to feed the 9.7 billion people by 2050, according to the UN.

I’m not here to give you my opinion on GMO foods. (although it is a little “trying to be God” when you watch how they extract the DNA from strawberries or change the DNA of corn so that worms won’t eat it).  My point here is that at this conference I attended, basically in the same sentence I heard how much food is wasted, there’s too many people in this world, and therefore, we need to create more food. Ok. But how about making strides to re-purpose or prevent food waste so that we can take that 50% and feed the kids who are starving in Africa.    We either over stuff our faces….or we waste it.   This is a problem.  And honestly, we can try to do everything right, but it won’t ever go away until Jesus Christ comes back and redeems this earth.

My question to you then is this: what can you personally do about this problem of stuffing or wasting? It would be an interesting challenge to calculate how much money we personally waste in food. That would include both the amount we eat more than our bodies physically need (stuffing) and and the amount thrown out that we bought but didn’t eat (wasting). Then give that estimated amount to our local homeless shelter.

Or is food a source of sin to you in another way?  I could go on and on with several other examples of how Satan uses food to destroy us instead of bring blessing.  Enjoy the wonderful and delicious food that God has given you but ask the Spirit to show you if food is an idol and/or is destroying your health because of personal choices.

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Sex: “Really, Christina?” Yep. I’m on a soap box roll, so I might as well keep going.  This topic is an awkward one and no one wants to talk about it.  I grew up in the generation where no one talked about the s-e-x word.  But it needs to be talked about because Satan has taken the shiny fruit of beautiful, God-given gift of sex and DESTROYED it.  And I know that you have noticed this apple being a major source of sin outside marriage and how God intended it to be.

I have recently been so burdened by how destructive sex has become in our world. I literally wept and wept the other week crying out to God regarding this issue.  If I could have washed Jesus’ feet with my tears, they would have been clean over and over again. I cried out for..

…my dear friends who have been sexually abused, used, raped.

….my husband who has to daily fight temptation when he goes to the store or is on his computer and an ad pops up when he is researching film equipment.

….the thousands of women and children who are forced into sex slavery all over the world, and maybe right in your neighborhood.

….my little boy who has to grow up and face his own temptations.

….my beautiful little girl who is becoming not so little anymore and is growing up to be looked upon as a sex object.

…my new friends who dance at the strip club where I minister.

Since I have a growing intense compassion for anyone a part of Satan’s destruction of sex, this past year I became involved with a local ministry at a church in Indianapolis called, Unconditional.  Once a month, we divide up into teams and head out to 7 different clubs in Indy bringing gifts to all the employees, specifically reaching the dancers.  Our mission: “to unconditionally love women in the sex industry with the love of Christ, to empower and encourage them on their journey, and equip them for a full and healthy life.”   Jesus went to the sick who needed a Savior.  Many of these girls will not step foot in a church, so we, the Church, are going to them. I have been so blessed and humbled by this ministry. God is moving in the Indianapolis strip clubs!

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When I was weeping, I thought abut how sex is a gift that God gave us to enjoy only here on earth.  I mentioned this to Brett and this was his response: Everything about marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ (the Groom) and the Church (the Bride). That includes God’s gift of sex. The enjoyment that a husband and wife experience during sex is a foretaste of the heavenly bliss, the ultimate ecstasy that the Church will experience in heaven. So why wouldn’t Satan attack and seek to destroy one of the most beautiful moments that God has given us to experience?

And Satan has done exactly that.  And this is why I will fight to preserve this gift by waging war on my knees in prayer, teaching my children biblical truth over the world’s lies, showing love to a dancer, and sponsoring a child to meet his needs and rescue him from the evils of sex slavery.

Food and sex: 2 necessities of life. 2 choices. Obey God and take a bite that brings life and blessing or follow the ways of Satan and take a bite which will steal, kill, and destroy.

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That darn apple.

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That darn apple.

Many reading this may be very familiar with the Genesis 3 account of Adam and Eve committing the first sin, which brought sin and death into the world. Let’s review God’s command:

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”            Genesis 2:9, 16-17

As I wrote the above, it hit me that food was used as the determining factor of either continuing life or choosing death for Adam and Eve.  I mean, duh, I knew that but it didn’t really sink in until now.  I sit here and wonder if Adam and Even had to eat in order to live. They were human, although perfect. Yet, on the other hand, they were in the presence of God, the source of Life.  And death was only brought on if they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (aka “the tree”), and not because they didn’t eat at all. Which we imperfect humans would die if we don’t eat. Maybe someone with a bunch of theology credentials behind their name can tell me that one.  Either way, God gave them food to eat. And not just any food, but good and pleasing to the eye food.  I’d like to have a taste of that.

Well, if you know the story, Adam and Even ate the fruit from the tree and death entered the world.  One fruit. One bite each. Forever their lives and the rest of mankind changed for all time.   That darn fruit. We don’t know what it was but I’m gonna just say it’s an apple from good ole children’s Sunday school curriculum.   I wonder what that apple looked like?   Genesis 3:6 says, When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye…” Therefore, it had to be very similar to the other fruit on every other tree in the garden that she could eat from.  It was good and pleasing to the eye. It was shiny and perfect and clean. After all, God did create it.  All that He created was good. And God does not create sin. Keep in mind that the apple was not sin; the act of choosing to eat the fruit was sin because it disobeyed God’s command. Big difference.

I can picture hundreds of trees in the garden, and somehow Eve and Adam ended up right beside THAT tree.   Were they going on a leisurely, romantic walk hand-in-hand one day and came across the tree?  Maybe they were chasing an animal for fun and it led them under the tree.  Or maybe they just plain were curious.  They wanted to see if the fruit was really any different than the other fruit trees.  You know how we humans are: say don’t touch or don’t do, and we want to get as close as possible, and if you are my kids, you do the opposite of what was just told.   Regardless, the Bible doesn’t say how they got to the tree.  All we know is that they were at the tree and a serpent started talking.

Satan hasn’t changed since that first encounter with humans in the garden.  I’d like to give Adam and Eve the benefit of the doubt, and maybe they were taking a leisurely walk minding their own business and then out of nowhere, a serpent is talking from the tree that they didn’t even realize they were so near to.  Once Satan got their attention, he laid it on them with half-truths. He knew right where to lure Eve. He had the perfect bait. All he had to do was keep her focused on that fruit on that tree.  Distract her from the hundreds of blessings of good and pleasing to the eye fruit around her.  But oh, it looked just like the others! How could it be any different? And if it looked the same, wouldn’t it taste the same?

I do wonder what it tasted like.  Because Eve chose to disobey God, I like to think that it was bitter.  The Bible says that she took some and ate it, and then gave some to Adam.  Maybe the first bite wasn’t so bad.  However, I want to believe that each bite would have been more bitter than the first.

Take a bite. “I can get away with it because it wasn’t so bad.  No one noticed.”

Take another bite. “I can handle this.”

Take another bite.  “Ugh. Yuck. I don’t care though because I need more!”

Take another bite.  “This isn’t satisfying me. The next bite will!”

Take another bite. “I’m addicted even though it leaves a horrible aftertaste.”

Solomon described this well in Proverbs 25:16 ~

“If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.”

I have written beside this verse in my Bible, “What I think will fulfill my desires only makes me sick!”

Oh that darn apple.  I think it will satisfy me because I believed the lies of Satan: “See, it’s perfect and shiny.  It can satisfy you even more than the others! God’s design of love for you is not good enough.  Take a bite. Try it and see.”

And then after the first bite and then the second and third and so on, I realize that this ain’t tasting so good. This is not satisfying me, and instead I’m sick!

Why? Because there is only one thing that truly satisfies. Everything else is a copycat that Satan dangles in front of us to convince us that it’s better than the original. And it will all make me sick if I’m replacing it for Jesus.  Oh, I’ve been there my friend. Haven’t we all?  Replacing Jesus, the only One who can fulfill me for a darn apple that Satan lured me with. Just taking a leisure walk and he called me over. Distracted me. I ate and ate. And soon got sick until I realized that this will never satisfy.

OH! but I praise Jesus for redemption. For paying my penalty of eating the apple so that I do not have to experience eternal death and separation from God!   My sins have been removed from the east to the west and remembered no more.  Yes, when I choose to disobey and take a bite, I must pay the consequences of eating the apple. But by His grace and everlasting love, Jesus’ death and resurrection once and for all flushed out all remnants of that bitter aftertaste left behind.

What’s that darn apple in your life? What is the copycat fruit that Satan is luring at you? Walk right on past it. Don’t look. Don’t believe his lies and half-truths. Don’t get distracted on what you can’t have and look around to all the blessings that you do have. That apple will never satisfy.  Run my friend. Run into the arms of Jesus who will always satisfy.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you. ~Psalm 63:1-5