Home > Christianity, Exposition, Living, Theology > A carrot in Front of Your Face

A carrot in Front of Your Face

The devil can dangle a carrot in front of your face, but there is something inside you that actually wants that carrot. You aren’t lustful because some demon comes on you. You are lustful because you have within you a desire for what isn’t right.

Steve Gallagher, At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry

I tired of hearing the same mantra from people:  “Oh, the devil made me do it. Oh, this world is such bad it is so difficult to stay away from temptation.” We shift blame best in all of creation. How often do we hear of corruption being found out among community or world leaders and that a number of people knew but keep quiet? It happens often enough that it doesn’t exactly raise the alarms in our minds.

It’s been happening since the beginning. We were born into that sort of nature. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). So, not only does Adam not own up for speaking truth into Eve’s ears when the snake tempted her; he also blamed God for putting her there to begin with. Adam was quite the snake himself. But that is our forefather; that is everybody’s nature outside of Christ (Romans 5:12-14). In fact, outside of Christ, our nature closely resembles the devil’s:  intentional deception, murderers in our heart. You will recall Christ’s discussion with the Jewish leaders in John 8:37-47. He concedes that they are Abraham’s descendants. But Abraham’s children? By no means. If they were Abraham’s children, they would do what he did, among which things would not include trying to kill Christ. No, they have another father, whom Christ describes, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources (i.e., from his own character), for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

In the beginning, Satan tempted Eve with an (admittedly) tantalizing prospect, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). He clearly wasn’t talking to a brick wall without desire. Something in Eve was intrigued. What exactly that was I am not prepared to give an answer, although I have some thoughts. Nevertheless, the potential for sin–the imperfect, or incomplete (by which I simply mean the potential to fall was present, whereas in God that is an impossibility because of his perfectly complete nature)–was realized and made an actuality. Satan could have merely served as an expedient; the potential may have been realized at a later date.

Regardless, we live in the full condition of sinful people without hope outside of Christ. Meaning, we are so entrenched in that condition that we need no external tempter to overtake us. We are sinful enough on our own to accomplish that desire. The carrots around us are enticing enough that the devil does not even need to dangle it there. It could sit in the trash heap covered in mud and blood, and we would still pursue it for the addictive pleasure, as seen in those with addictions around the world who sacrifice everything, including dignity, to fulfill the desire and in the Prodigal Son, who ate from the pods (Luke 15:16).

The blame-shifting must cease, but that is impossible outside of Christ, wherein the Father redeem his children from their death and grants them new desires and new affections for things that satisfy wholly and perfectly, namely himself. Peter points to the root of this change, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19). That’s the root of new life:  the precious blood of Christ. He has bought his children with that blood from trying to strive to be holy and from living in willful rebellion like Satan. The Christian may lean on the cross of Calvary with full assurance, knowing that it is sufficient for everything that he has ever, is now, or will ever do. Period. End of story. “It is finished,” in Christ’s words (John 19:30).

I intended to continue with this post, speaking ill of our tendency to blame the circumstances or even the principalities of this world for our poor choices. But we know that in Christ we are laid bare before him, we are naked and without cover. He strips us of all our self-imposed righteousness and self-exaltation. And then he clothes us with the precious nature and blood of our Blessed Redeemer. Hosannah, hosannah!

What great hope we have. Lean on Christ and on Christ alone.

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  1. Dave M
    April 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I think that Eve was given the desire for wisdom. This is not a bad desire. We have many desires that aren’t good or bad. The problem is the source of fulfillment is not God but rather against God. Furthermore, James makes no distinction in the Greek between good and bad desires. The desire for food can bring forth gluttony. The desire to multiply/procreate (as God commanded) can bring forth sexual lust. etc. The issue is the fulfillment. The desire does not go towards its created end.

    James 1:14-17 “14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ”

    The issue is not always where the carrot first came from. Its the dirt attached.Impurity after the fall warps our natural desires into things/directions that they originally were not intended for. Many of our desires originally were means to glorify God but we do not. Likewise, we receive the penalty of that in our persons in various ways. Romans 1.

    Side note: “So, not only does Adam not own up for speaking truth into Eve’s ears when the snake tempted her; he also blamed God for putting her there to begin with. Adam was quite the snake himself.” Is this how the text reads? or is this what is read into the text? We must be exactingly careful here… even if it seems true for other reasons.

    • April 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      I hear what you’re saying. The desire for wisdom is not bad; the desire for food is not bad; nor is that of lust. The issue seems to arise when the desire begins to supplant the desire for God. That is idolatry, pride, etc. It seems that you can trace most sins back to a pride-issue: “I know better than God, or I do not need God, or I am God.”

      Par. 3: Yes. But, none of our, as in your and my, desires have ever been to glorify God outside of a redemptive work of Christ. I don’t believe that any new desires have arisen since Adam and Eve that are not simply variations of their own. So, in that sense, all of our desires were designed as a means to glorify God. But we weren’t born pure and spotless. We must be reborn and drawn out of death to claim that sort of title. Adam and Eve were born into a good state–a state without fault but able to fall. We were born into a twisted and ruined state, death, separated from God, and we can do nothing but fall.

      Par. 4: That’s what the text does seem to suggest. “… the woman whom you gave to me” are Adam’s words. Perhaps I am misinterpreting the verse, but there does seem to be at least a hint of blame being put on God’s shoulders, as though Adam were saying, “I didn’t even want her here but you put her here.” Thoughts?

      As always, I appreciate it.

      Josh

  2. Dave M
    April 17, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Hey,

    Par 3. I was holding a broader view of God’s glory outside of image bearing but one of creation. Desires thus fall in the second category. I do not disagree with the comments though.The analogy wasn’t the best with the carrot/dirt only because it indicates a more sick not dead condition. Or assumes a continuity between un-fallen and new man.

    Par 4. Consider in 1 Tim. 2:13-14. Paul considers Adam to not have been deceived. “13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Past people have used these verses to put too much blame on the woman. (Not the man like the “Adam wasn’t leading” doctrines) This is equally wrong. Early christians used this extra woman guilt to explain why Mary had to undo Eve’s additional disobedience in bearing Christ in Eve’s curse. Hence, the place of early Marian worship/veneration among catholics. Simply, the curse is shared.

    Likewise, God to Adam: Gen 3:”17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’…” God does not view Adam’s statement as blame-shift but as integral what his sin actually was.

    I read Gen 3 more as an inquiry by God and tracing the problem to the source. God does in fact move on twice before coming back to Adam’s sin. Any blame shifting would be irrelevant to gender issues since both Adam and Eve do it. It is also irrelevant since God does not respect the blame shift (if there was one) from Adam or Eve in His ruling. Why should we. Simply, the curse is shared. Both genders die.

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