the first temptation to sin started with four simple words: "did God actually say..."
God created adam and eve and gave them just one rule. only one; not that hard to remember! and it just took four words from satan to begin unraveling their faith in God. not only did he question God's word, he also twisted it. whereas God said not to eat of the fruit of that one tree, Satan changed God's words: "did God actually say 'you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'".
it is easy for me to read this story and laugh or be saddened by adam and eve's folly. we might even be temped to think "if i only had one rule to follow for my whole life, i could easily do it!"
but sisters, we fall into the same lie all of the time. we might not question God's word about eating the fruit, but we'll question it in just about every other area. we are temped to think that we are so modern, smart and advanced that God's word doesn't apply to us anymore (chronological snobbery). or we wonder if the scriptural writer actually meant to say it that way (some scholars will obscure God's word by saying, "well in the original greek it really means this". funny how the original greek happens to change so easily to fit what is upheld and popular in our current culture, even if Christians have been doing it differently for thousands of years.)
often, satan adds to God's perfect and freeing law (james 1:25) so that it becomes imperfect and stifling.
here are scriptures that i am tempted to question (or are commonly questioned in our culture)
"do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (matthew 6:19)
satan says: "did God actually say that you aren't even allowed to have a savings account? what if something bad happens? maybe that worked back then, but these days you can't possibly live a secure life without health insurance, a 401K, a big savings account, life insurance, property insurance, owning your own home, a diversified portfolio, banking your baby's umbilical cord, a college savings account for your kids, a trust fund..."
"wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord" (ephesians 5:22)
satan says: "did God actually say that women are to submit to all men? that wives should accept physical and verbal abuse from their husbands? that women shouldn't have any ideas or thoughts of their own? so sad that paul was such a misogynist, so unenlightened back then. anyways, this was written so long ago, we can't know what paul actually meant by this, so don't even bother trying to follow it."
"whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery" (matthew 19:9)
satan says: "did God really say that no one should get divorced. how quaint! but this is the 21st century. try hard at your marriage, but if it doesn't work out, don't feel bad, lots of people get divorced!"
"do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (james 4:4)
satan says "did God really say that living in the world will make you an enemy of God? surely not. a little internet time, a little bit of "the today show", a little bit more food than you need at dinner, a little time flipping through that magazine, a little bit of staring at that hot guy without a shirt, a little bit of time gossiping with your neighbor (after all, you are trying to reach out to her)... they are all so little. they won't take your eyes off of God and cause you to befriend the world."
"young women [are] to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" (titus 2:4-5)
satan says: "did God actually say that women are never to leave their house? surely God wants women to do something more significant than to just love their husbands and children. i mean, you have so many talents. you went to college! you are so enlighted and smart, don't waste your talents on your children. the world needs you more than they do."
i will say it again. God's law is perfect and freeing (james 1:25). but satan wants to enslave and kill us (2 peter 2:19). dig down deep, seek to know, understand, love and follow scripture and you will feel that freedom.