The Scriptures teach that the way of Jesus leads to a different kind of life than most of us experience—one characterized by freedom, joy, peace, hope, and rest. Jesus calls it “life abundantly.” This life is a gift from God, but it requires us to say no to many things our culture promotes as the way to happiness. But, living in a counter-cultural way, saying no to what is easy takes discipline and commitment. The only way we can exercise the self-control it takes to fully embrace God’s more difficult way is if we actually believe that God is good, that he loves us, and that he desires good for us. This understanding of God is foundational. Without a deep conviction of God’s generous disposition toward us our desires will turn and our self-discipline will falter.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”