God’s first rule.
It was God who set up the first rule. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV)
It was almost like a diet. You can eat of every tree in the garden, except one. The first rule was about food. Of course we know disobedience to this rule is a more important concept than just not eating fruit from one tree. It was not like the fruit was poisonous even though God’s command made it sound poisonous. Eat it and die. Like Snow White who took a bite of the poisonous apple. Her excuse was she didn’t know it was poisonous. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was, however, edible. Edible doesn’t always mean good for you. This food had a two-edged sword. They thought it would make them as smart as God, knowing all good and evil. But God said it wasn’t good so leave it alone.
The penalty was death for eating this fruit. Death is a pretty good deterrent to rule breaking. Though we know the death penalty today doesn’t deter. Perhaps, you might say, that Adam and Eve did not know what death was. They didn’t know it meant separation from God and even physical death. Though the Word doesn’t say, I believe God had fully explained what these consequences were.
We know that Satan had a hand in the matter of persuading Eve to take a bite and give it to Adam who also took a bite. It’s amazing how close this parallels our eating habits and why we do what we know we shouldn’t do.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6 (KJV)
With the help of Satan, Eve rationalized her decision to go ahead in spite of the deadly consequences. Even in spite of the fact that God, their creator who they knew in a personal way, had told them not to eat.
It was good for food. No one knows what kind of fruit it was. It’s usually depicted as an apple but it could have been any fruit and probably one we no longer have available. I suspect it was one of a kind. It’s like walking down the aisle of a grocery store and seeing the delicious cookies filled with fat, sugar, and trans fat and saying they look good for food. The box says it’s a snack you must have. It’s pleasant to the eyes. In other words, it was appealing just from its looks. Wow, two delightful cookies with delicious white cream in the middle—sweet and tasty—yummy.
This is man’s propensity to control of his life: I don’t believe in no stinking rules. It just is a way for me to lose my freedom of choice. I won’t be told what to do. I know better. I can make my mind up. I don’t need a rule to take away my free choice.
Hate for Rules
So it started with Adam and Eve, and their first choice was to disobey God’s only rule for them. This nature—this Adamic natural—has filtered down to every man, woman, and child. It is the desire to break rules. It is the desire to direct our own destinies. We want to control as much of our life as possible.
Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this. Listen to what he says. “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Romans 7:14-21 (KJV)
It’s the part of us uncontrolled by the Spirit of God through our spirits. It’s that rebellious part of us that refuses to listen to God and follow his way. It’s the carnality in our souls that drives us to do it our way. Paul struggles with this as seen in Romans 7. That which he even hates he does. The sin nature is strong and holds a grip on our lives.
Being born again does not fully break that hold. The soul of man must be renewed daily. There is a progression of learning and training that the believer must embrace if he is to overcome that hold on his life. We need to learn that God’s way for us is the very best way. He isn’t controlling us; He is leading us into the blessing by teaching us the way to abundantly life.
So no wonder we struggle with dieting. It goes against our nature. We don’t like rules. We want to be in control. Dieting adds rules and takes away control. We have to find a way to accept the rules as not losing control but gaining freedom from unhealthy lifestyles that try to kill, steal, and destroy. We have to see that we are in control of what we decide to eat. We have more control then just letting food control us. We need to take the control and eat what we know is more healthy for us and to help us lose the weight we so desperately need to lose.
Embrace the Rules and Take Control
Rules are usually for our good. God’s rules are for getting the best in life. Pick the right diet and the rules are for getting the best out of life. It’s not that you can’t eat a brownie and occasionally you might, but it’s under your control. You can choose life or death, blessing or cursing. My suggestion is to choose life. A good diet can make a big difference in your quality of life.
So let’s take control and embrace the rules as the way to reaching our goals.