It's something you’re read, without giving it a second thought. It just didn’t jump out at you at the time. Ironically, it’s in the middle of the single sadness moment in the history of the world, found in Gen. 3. It pinpoints the location of ‘The Fall’ of Adam and Eve. Yes, we know this happened in Eden’s garden. But where in the garden? Where was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil located? In her conversation with the devil, Eve reveals its exact whereabouts in Gen 3:3. Eve says, “you must not eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden,” You would think that God would have tucked such a deadly tree in the back of some dense forest. Maybe place it up high, on the top of some hard to reach mountain, jutting out on a rock ledge. Not so. You find it smack in the middle of the garden. Right in the middle of the daily comings and goings of Adam and Eve. Was the Lord God setting them up for failure? Purposely baiting a trap where the victims would find it? That doesn’t sound like our God.
Stop and think about where you find temptation today? In the middle of your thought life. In the middle of your conversations. In the middle of your internet search or TV channel surfing. In middle of a coffee shop, shopping mall or even a grocery store. The opportunity to say, do or think the wrong thing is front and center, within our daily living. Smack in the middle of life, as we know it! So, is this God’s cruel cosmic joke on us? Certainly not. Evil is real, therefore temptation exists. However, temptation is not sin. Temptation is an ungodly opportunity to do the wrong thing. But temptation is also a godly opportunity to do the right thing. To experience victory instead of defeat, self-control instead of self-indulgence. Temptation can be an encounter where you witness your positive Christ-inspired spiritual growth and development in the Christian life. Take to heart of what the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor.10:13-14 (NIV)
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
The Apostle Paul is telling us that temptation is bearable and escapable. The reason why this is true is because we always have a choice. The Lord will always faithfully provide a grace-filled strategy to cope with and conquer temptation. So get ready. Be ready! The challenge to overcome evil by rejecting temptation is just around the corner. Remember, it might turn up in the middle of the very next thing you do.