The deception of self-reliance (Genesis 3v1-7)

Published by Jason Shiels on


In the origins of human life designed and made by God we see that Satan’s number one intention is to pervert the way Eve and Adam view a divine command. The crafty being Satan seeks to blacken the good intentions of the Lord God and make the first couple believe that they were better off trying to do things their own way rather than in the way that God had commanded them.

The divine command not to eat of just one tree was a life giving command that would cause them to live in perfect acceptance with their God in a frustration free world. Instead they listened to the deceiver who was working hard to change their view of God and seduce them away from obedience to the Creator. With every crafty suggestion Satan made their desire grew to become self-reliant and to simply do away with the boundaries and limits God had set for them and their relationship with the Creator. Once the evil seed was planted and sin conceived the Fall took place. A fall from the highest seat of honour to one governed by their own shame and appetites. They took control of their destiny and in doing so they thought they had done well. Alas, by doing away with the limits and wishes of their Lord they had also done away with their dependence on Him and sought out a new path of self-determination. Satan must have been ecstatic. The human couple, the apex of Creation, were abandoning the rule of life that had been set for them to flourish and excuses were the order of the day. Satan’s strategy to deceive the couple to doubt the goodness and motive of the Lord God had worked. In place of flourishing came toil and frustration. If only they had seen that the limits and boundaries that the Lord their God had set for them were not to harm them but actually to cause them to thrive. This act of vandalism on Shalom has forever set self-reliance within its proper perspective. It is never good for man to stubbornly furrow his own belligerent path in life. It is never better to do things the Frank Sinatra way (‘I’ll do it MY way…..’).

What limits and boundaries do we rail against and believe that the Lord our God has no right to impose upon us? What shadows have we allowed to creep over our understanding that the Lord God is always good? What malevolent suggestion that we must take back self-reliance from a cruel dictator God have we allowed Satan to plant in our consciousness? Indeed, to what extent do we allow this to become an excuse to justify our own pig-headedness?

As we start 2021 let us be reminded that sin is always bad. If we justify transgressing what the Lord God clearly set as a boundary and limit for us, should we expect to receive His approval for this? Perhaps we need a fresh think about decisions we are making? Have we justified moving in with a partner when it is our Christian duty to ‘wait’ and keep the marriage bed pure? God never makes things easy or convenient for us to follow him (‘let the dead bury the dead…’). Have we allowed our speech to be corrupted or gossip to become justified due to the actions of someone that has hurt us? As James said, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3v11-13)

Its time for us as believers in Christ to remember who we truly are. In embracing limits and obeying divine wisdom we will flourish and display ‘deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom’.

Is our focus to glorify the Lord and put HIM first, or simply to live in self-reliance and self-justification?

To God be the Glory,

JASON SHIELS 14.1.21

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