The serpent’s words in the Garden of Eden were intended to plant a seed of doubt in the human heart. They subtly called God’s goodness into question, and as a result, challenged the basis upon which God’s trustworthiness rested. ‘Did God really say you mustn’t eat the fruit? Oh, you won’t surely die! God just knows that if you eat the fruit, you’ll become like Him.’
Notice how similar these words are to those spoken by the devil to Jesus in the desert. ‘If you’re the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.’ In other words, ‘Come on! Your Father isn’t providing for your needs. Just look at you. But, all isn’t lost. You simply have to trust in yourself. Take matters into your own hands. You are the Son of God, aren’t you?’
Both instances suggest that God is withholding something good. They also imply that it’s always bad to be without something we believe would be good to have.
In Eve’s case, the serpent implied that being without one particular fruit proved God’s selfishness. In Jesus’ case, the devil implied that being without food was an unacceptable condition for one claiming to be the Son of God.
These instances are consistent with what temptation looks life in your own life. Satan wants you to doubt God’s goodness, stray from His promises, and become, in effect, your own lord. Men, think about Satan’s methods and strategies, and set yourselves wholeheartedly against them.
A man wrote this comment about his relationship with his wife: ‘I did not reveal myself to her. I stuffed many of my thoughts, emotions, and needs that I feared would lead to rejection if I voiced them’This was cutting her off’I believe this was an abdication of my responsibility. I have known for many, many years that honesty and openness is God’s way but had not really come to terms with it until recently.’
As a man, you likely agree that not every emotion you feel’for example, fear, inhibition, or intimidation’is good. You probably realize honesty and openness is God’s desire but struggle to obey. Haven’t you wondered if Adam ever said ‘I’m sorry’ to Eve. Think about it. There he was in the Garden, listening to Satan tempt his wife, and he did nothing to interfere, to keep her from giving in. And the rest is history.
As one prominent psychologist noted, ‘Adam was there and he was silent.’ I wonder if Adam ever spoke to Eve about his shame. And I wonder if we men have inherited his silence.
You don’t have to give in to the temptation of silence. Share yourself with your wife. Come to terms with the fact that the silence that fills your home is like a fog and obscures you from her. But you can begin to clear the fog. Give her the opportunity to receive what you say with trust and grace. It might be scary. But you can do it.
Sure, Eve was the first to be deceived in the Garden of Eden. We’re told that in the Bible. But Adam, on the other hand, knew that eating the forbidden fruit was in direct contradiction to what and Adam did so anyway!
Through the millennia, Adam’s sons’that’s us, guys’have been just as rebellious. We’ve chosen our own way with a high-handedness and intensity far beyond that shown by most women. Do you doubt this? I invite you to consider just one illustration that demonstrates my point: crime. Who commits crimes at a far greater rate, men or women? Men do. And of the crimes committed by men and women, which group commits crimes of a much more violent nature? Again, men have a clear and decided edge.
I’m not saying men are greater sinners than women. I’m saying that sin affects men differently than it does women, and consequently, that sin expresses itself in ways that demonstrate that difference. My point is this: men tend to be more rebellious than women.
Now, lets translate this point into the dynamic of marriage. Men are more likely to get bored with the straight and narrow; to grow tired of submitting to the needs of their spouses; to demand having things their own way.
Men, know yourselves! Not in order to ‘fix’ yourselves. That’s impossible. But in order to identify areas in need of transformation by the grace of Jesus Christ.