Intention

God was clear and simple. It wasn’t complicated or confusing. It wasn’t an accident or a mistake. It was an intentional choice.

Gen 2:16-17 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 of it you will certainly die.

Eve decided to trust the lies of Satan and indulge her temptation, rather than obey God, and Adam to join her in rebellion. Each of us faces the same choice they did. We now have the knowledge of good and evil. We now know the difference between good and evil, and God holds us accountable for that knowledge. We try to hide our choices behind fig leaves, but God already knows the answer when he asks us “Where are you?” The older I get, the more I suffer from the consequences of my sinful choices and the pain of the sinful choices of those I love, the more I sense the pain in that question. God’s power in our lives and in our world is not limited by his capability; it is limited by our choice to disobey.

Satan is the epitome of evil. Satan is a bully who doesn’t fight fair, who intentionally attacks us at our weakest, most tender place. We aren’t fighting against flesh and blood; we are fighting evil itself. Satan seeks our destruction, but will settle for our shame. He would love for us to worship him, but will settle for our ignoring God and the specific instructions he has given us. Shame is his signature, and our destruction is his goal. Temptation always looks attractive, and it always costs us more than we intend to pay.
The holiness of our God and the power of our enemy require that we take our sin seriously. Those of us who have been scarred by or survived a season or moment of sin know its power. Any victory we have over sin will only come from intentional choice.

Successfully confronting and defeating sin in your life is rarely an accident. You can achieve almost nothing without a plan and some sacrifice of all that doesn’t conform to that plan. The world teaches that we should take the easy way out – that’s why gambling and the lottery and entitlement programs so rarely lead to progress and so often become a trap . Those plans rarely satisfy. Social Security has not become a tool that people use temporarily to get themselves out of poverty; it has become a snare that has lured more and more people into it. The disproportionate numbers of people who worked hard for their riches and those who got rich by gambling are odds no rational person would bet on….yet so many do. Long term success requires strategy and sacrifice, whether you want a diploma, the top score, a gold medal, a new title, or just a promotion. If you want to win the contest, the game, the battle, or the election, you will have to exert intentional effort. A successful athlete, candidate, or soldier will sacrifice ease and indulgent leisure in order to win. Battling sin is no different. Our relationship with God becomes carnal and ineffective when we acknowledge the power of sin, and have no plan beyond some really good intentions to have victory over it. Really good intentions rarely produce results. Not obeying is disobedience; partial obedience is disobedience. You will either consistently choose obedience, or you will be scarred or destroyed by disobedience.

The amazing thing is that God wants us to choose obedience. He’s not hoping we’ll fail so he can zap us; our disobedience breaks his heart and cost him the suffering of his only son. We will not defeat sin with good intentions; we will find relationship with God only by intentionally choosing him. May God give you the desire to seek him, and may you know the comfort and power of his presence, and may the power of his presence give you the strength to intentionally choose obedience, rather than the lies of the one who seeks to deceive and destroy.

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