We have just gone through the Lenten season, I know, but this random thought just hit me today:
Humanity’s greatest downfall and the dawning of humanity’s greatest hope took place in a garden.
Genesis 3 lets us in to the scene of the crime. Just like in any crime movies, the day started out like any other day. It was at the Garden of Eden.
In the middle of the humdrum, the day took a fateful turn. The questions were thrown at the unsuspecting victim — the woman. The lies were spoken; the serpent’s words were too alluring that the woman’s heart was deceived. Soon enough, the man, who was with her, also took part in the crime.
When the flesh of the forbidden fruit touched the flesh of man, the fall of humanity has begun. When their lips touched the forbidden fruit, it was the serpent’s kiss of death on humanity. And when the fruit fell to the ground that fateful day, humanity’s glory fell with it.
As sin entered into the world, it brought with it pain, tears, bloodshed, decay and death.
In another garden and in another time, we see another man. The setting of the drama is the Garden of Gethsemane.
But it wasn’t like any other night. This man was about to be sentenced to death, and he knew about it. He has seen how it will be like; he took part in making that plan. He knew how painful it will be — the physical pain of the thorns and the nails; the emotional pain of betrayal, false accusation and rejection.
He was about to pay for the crime that was committed at the Garden of Eden. This man was Jesus.
In this garden, we see him kneeling to the ground, overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, asking the Father if it’s possible for him to be delivered from what was about to transpire (Matthew 26:38).
But when he said, “let Your will be done,” humanity’s hope was restored.
At the Garden of Eden, we see Adam’s failure and man’s descent to hell. But at the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus’ love taking over in order to redeem us and provide the way for us to heaven.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8, NLT)
After watching a wildlife documentary about lions, this passage of Scripture came to my mind. If one hopes to withstand a lion’s attack, one must learn how it carries out the ambush before going for the kill. In the same way, Christians must learn the enemy’s ploy in order to overcome the roaring lion’s attacks.
Here are some insights I got after watching the film.
Always be on your guard. The element of surprise is a lion’s special weapon. It stealthily sneaks out on you, patiently waiting for the right timing, and attacks when you are most vulnerable. An important thing to do: Identify situations and circumstances that often lead you to fall prey and avoid being in the same spot ever again. When are you most vulnerable? Which places often lead you to sin?
There is strength in number. A lion’s game plan is to split the herd and attack the lone prey. Don’t leave the herd no matter what. It will try to attack you on all sides in a bid to lure you away. Don’t let it.
The next time you feel that all things are coming against you from all directions, you are probably under attack. Stay with the church. Don’t turn your back on the people who will protect you and keep you from being the lion’s next meal. Don’t let the problems and pressures lure you away from the herd.
Flee. Do not try to befriend it or even wrestle with it. Do not give the devil a foothold. When you feel that you are being targeted as the next prey, bolt out of the door at once. When you try to wrestle with it using your own willpower, you will definitely fail at the attempt. The most logical thing to do when confronted with temptation is to flee from it.
Tame it. You have been given the power to say “No” to it. Don’t let it bully you. Show him who’s the boss around here. You have the power and the tools to tame the lion and get rid of it. The Word of God is your whip and the Holy Spirit is your shield — use them religiously.
Don’t feed it. Some people feed their lions by frequently giving in to the lion’s attacks, offering themselves as prey and succumbing to its power until they get completely devoured. Feed the lion and it will grow stronger in you. So stop feeding it. Quit your favorite sin before it consumes you. Starve it until it weakens and dies.
In the heat of the moment, the lion will make you believe that you are helpless and that there is no way out. Don’t believe it.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (I Corinthians 10:13)