Since having a strong appetite for food is my natural tendency, I’ve discovered that I need supernatural help to keep it under control.
Before, I tried to control myself through my natural willpower. But there was only one problem: My natural self did not want to do the right thing! As soon as a food I desired appeared, I ate it.
The desire to eat the wrong thing was birthed in Eve, the first woman ever created. In spite of God’s direction to Adam not to eat of a single tree, she tempted him to disobey God’s instruction: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6).”
Let’s examine Eve’s descent:
- She looked at the tree.
- She decided the tree was good for food.
- She decided the tree looked good too.
- She decided that eating from the tree would give her something she wanted.
In Proverbs 23:1-3, the scripture tells you that it is wise to ‘Consider carefully what is before you’ when it comes to food. Even though Eve considered carefully, she actually didn’t need to consider that tree for food at all! God has already told Adam not to eat from it, so why did she even consider it? To do so would cause her to be a stumbling block to Adam.
With a clear focus on helping her husband, she should have just focused on the other trees God told Adam they could eat from freely.
In our case, we are told:
- 1 Corinthians 6:12: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:23: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
So it is clear that while you can eat anything, you shouldn’t eat everything. You should have standards. These scriptures tell me that in my careful consideration of food, I should consider whether the food I intend to eat is:
- Helpful to me
- Would be easy or difficult for me to exercise self-control once I eat it (brought under the power of)
- Whether that food would improve my body or health in some way
If the food is not helpful, would make it more difficult to act self-controlled, or would not improve my body or health in any way, then the wise conclusion would be to either refuse the food or limit the amount to avoid future problems.
In Eve’s consideration (which we agree she shouldn’t have been making anyway), she concluded that the tree was good for food. That shows she did not believe God because Adam must have told her God said that they would die if they ate from it.
Imagine that! Eve was willing to risk death to eat of that tree. Eve clearly had a strong appetite if food could tempt her in that way. And it wasn’t just mere hunger either because she had many trees she could eat from at any time to satisfy that.
Instead, Eve had a fatal attraction; she fixated on the one tree God kept from her because He didn’t want her to die. God knew that disobedience would usher sin into the world, and the wages of sin is death. God wanted to do her (and Adam) good and keep them from harm.
Eve’s next consideration was how the tree looked. She concluded that it looked good, that it was pleasant to the eyes. And she increased her desire by continuing to look. That’s always a bad idea. Eve should have looked elsewhere. Since she couldn’t remove the tree, then she should have removed herself!
Finally, Eve decided that the tree could give her what she wanted. According to the text, Eve wanted wisdom. What has always puzzled me is – if Eve wanted wisdom, why didn’t she just ask God for it? The first couple had free access to the source of all wisdom. So do we.
James 1:5 says “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” I am confident that if Eve had gone to God to ask Him for wisdom, He would have given it to her freely. I am also sure that He would had answered if she had asked Him: “What is evil?” Because up until that point, Eve had only known good.
But instead Eve “leaned on her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).” Her actions showed that she did not trust the Lord. You may wonder why. I am thinking it is because she did not know Him. She was in His presence, yes, but she couldn’t have known His character nor His ways. Otherwise, why would she obey a stranger’s voice above a loving, all-wise God?
Here’s an example to which I relate: I know my husband’s voice. Let’s say my husband had asked me to do something, but a stranger came along and told me that my husband lied to me. Instead, according to the stranger, I should do the exact opposite. Would I do what that stranger said? No!
I would not do that because I love my husband. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me. I trust my husband and believe that he has my best interest at heart. Even if the thing my husband asked me to do was difficult, I would still do it because I love and trust Him. Plus, I know my husband’s character as a Godly man. My husband would not ask me to disobey God’s word.
I think Eve’s Bible story highlights the importance for us to know God. We need to know His character and His ways so that we can better recognize His voice. In the Bible, Jesus compares us to sheep: “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5).”
Jesus also said later, “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:26-27).”
Analyzing what Eve believed is a great warning for us. We need to be sure that we are listening to and following the right voice! We can only know the truth through studying God’s word.
Then once we hear God’s voice, we must be diligent to obey it and no longer follow a stranger’s voice – especially when that stranger is our enemy who lies and seeks to steal, kill and destroy! But Jesus died so that we might have abundant life. We must learn to treasure the words of God’s mouth that bring life above our necessary food.
P.S. Want to learn more about avoiding making wrong decisions about food? Then check out my followup article: What Esau Believed.