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From the Garden to the Desert … and on to the Cross - Part 3

From: Tempted, Tested, True

By: Arnie Cole & Michael Ross



We Ache for Control

Deep in our heart of hearts, we all want to call the shots for ourselves.

I’m going to live my life my waycarve out my place in this world, find meaning, and get the things that satisfy me. Sometimes we even mouth the lies that Satan whispered in the garden: I’m just not ready to fully trust God. I mean, how can I be sure that He really cares about me and my problems? If He does, then where is He? Why can’t I hear Him? Maybe I really would be happier doing things my way.


Yet our preoccupation with me—and not God—is exactly what went wrong in the garden. Adam and Eve rejected that one, single command that God had given them, and all of human history changed. They bought that lie from Satan: They became convinced that being in charge of their own soul was best. The only problem with that strategy is that we humans tend to make bad choices. Part of the reason we make bad choices is that we don’t see the entire picture, the complete story. But another reason is that we are simply selfish. Since the fall, self-centeredness—not God-centeredness—has become the defining characteristic of our lives.


“Governing the cosmos on God’s behalf was and is not enough for humanity,” writes author and Bible expert Scot McKnight. “Humans ache to rule the cosmos. They want to be God. The ache to be God and act as if we are God are what sin is all about.”


Even though there is plenty of evidence through the ages that mankind’s view of good and evil is flawed, we still want to be in control. Isn’t this how most of us live our lives? Its appeal is one to our baser instincts. Yet we are not masters of our fate or captains of our own soul. Like it or not, sin leads us down all kinds of deadly paths…

… we allow our will to usurp the power of God.

… we redefine sin and morality: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”[1]

… we base our significance (and the status of others) on attributes such as strength, beauty, intelligence, achievements, wealth.

… we seek happiness anywhere but the Source: our own pleasures and pastimes, alcohol and drugs, sports and gambling, vacations, money, houses, pets, possessions.

… we seek love anywhere but the Source: human relationships, lust, sex.

… we seek meaning anywhere but the Source: careers, religious practices, power.


Think about a typical day. Much of it is spent trying to make life work without God in the center. Yet we still expect Him to cooperate with us—relating to us on our terms, revolving around our plans, solving problems so we can live the way we want to live. And while we may think our lives are humming along just fine, we are deceived. Gradually, choice by choice, a chasm between us and God grows wider and deeper.


Becoming disconnected from the Source is lethal.

Simply put, separation from the Lord is the root cause of everything that has gone wrong (and will go wrong) in our lives. It’s the cause of that splinter that’s so deeply embedded in our souls. Which brings us back to the question I asked earlier: Why?

“Why is it so easy to listen to the whisperings of a snake and so hard to hear the voice of the Lamb?” asks Steven James. “Why are we drawn so naturally to illusion and so slow to pursue the truth? I think it’s because ever since Adam and Eve’s fatal choice, the jargon of temptation has been our natural tongue and the dialect of love has been a foreign language.”[2]

[1] Proverbs 14:10

[2] Steven James, 89


From Tempted, Tested, True


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