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’?”
Deception takes two. The first case of it in recorded history, per the Bible, underscores this. Eve had to agree to be deceived. If you’ve ever been tricked by somebody, a con artist for instance, and then you analyze how it happened, you know that you had to provide a platform for it. Children are tricked by strangers with promises of candy and stories of lost puppies. Adults are tricked in the same way, but the content is different. Knowing the content that you might provide a con artist can do more than prevent victimization. It can be a key to self knowledge, which can open the door to a closer relationship with God.
Often, it is our desire for good things that gets twisted. Eve sought transcendence, many commentators agree. Adam sought peace with his noninvolvement. Many, many times we participate in deception, either by receiving it or providing it, so that we can improve something for ourselves or others. Again, to make an earlier point, deception deceives us.
But, deception can also educate us. What e-mail scams or clearly fraudulent marketing appeals to you? Do you secretly hope that there is a 100 million dollar bank deposit that you can help a new Nigerian friend with and keep 10% of it? Do you really want to lose weight or increase stamina in some way with a wonder pill? Do you seek secret information about a celebrity? Dig down on each one of these and you will find the positive desire that fuels them. You want to have means for blessing those you love. You want to have the energy to make the most of this life God has given you. You want to feel connected and important. Now, once deception has showed its hand and you see what’s really driving you, ask God alone for the blessing you seek. Provision, wellness, and belonging are all great things to seek, but seek God first. And may He bless you with the deepest desires of your heart.
(PS – For this blog, Sundays will be a day off. FYI – Sundays are considered days off during the Lenten season too.)