Discontent

Content with enough.

It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die. Genesis 3:3

When we think of "forbidden fruit," what usually comes to mind are things that are bad for us—alcohol, adultery, the corruption of wealth and power. But forbidden fruit may also signify something we've yearned for that God has chosen not to give us: the success just beyond our grasp, a dream we've chased most of our lives, a relationship with a particular person.

It's easy to obsess about this thing we don't and can't have—this forbidden tree standing in the midst of everything else God has given us. In fact, what we don't have can overshadow all of our other gifts. And with this yearning comes sin, which is the choice to re-create our own lives after our own image of goodness. Along the way we may tell ourselves all sorts of lies, not the least of which is that we can be our own creators. Judging God's work in our lives to be too slow or too fast, too dull or too frightening, we reach for something more than we were ever created to have.

Significantly, when the serpent found Adam and Eve, they were standing by the forbidden tree. I wonder if, like us, they didn't spend a lot of time staring at that tree. There are so many trees that we can freely enjoy, but we fixate on the one that is missing.

Tragically, when we reach for that which is beyond our created limits, we lose the Garden of Eden—often filled with a family, a job, and a lifestyle that really was good enough. In fact, it was more than good enough—it was paradise. But we didn't realize that until we lost it.

It's not that we should never dream or try to improve our lives. But we can, and should, resist the temptation to be consumed by our yearning.

—M. Craig Barnes

Reflection

What does the Bible mean when it tells us that God's grace is sufficient? Sufficient for what?

Prayer

Oh, God of grace, give me the courage to confront the truth about my poor choices, and restore me to the paradise of knowing you.

"We are disgusted by the things that we desire, and we desire what disgusts us"
—Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York

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