So far in this study we’ve tackled what I view as two of the biggest obstacles to cultivating a thankful spirit, negativity and bitterness. We learned from Job’s wife how negativity can not only affect our own attitude but also the attitude of those around us and from Naomi we learned that when we let bitterness trap us in our current situation we fail to see the blessings God has for us on the other side. Today I want us to tackle the biggest obstacle yet- selfishness.
Selfishness makes it all about me and focuses my attention on what I think I deserve, even if it hurts the people around me.
Today we’re going all the way back to the beginning, the beginning of the Bible and the beginning of creation. Here in the book of Genesis we find Eve living in the garden of Eden with her husband Adam. They are given very specific instructions from God in Genesis 2:16 when He says “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” I’m sure we all know the story, Satan disguises himself as a snake, sneaks into Eden, and convinces Eve that the tree isn’t bad, but will actually make her like God. In Genesis 3:6 Eve sees that “the tree was good for food and delightful to look at and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it.”
Notice the things that drew Eve’s attention. Instead of being thankful for her close relationship with God, loving husband, and beautiful home, Eve chose to focus on herself what she felt like she deserved. She saw that the fruit on the tree looked tastier than the fruit on the trees she was allowed to eat from (no boring old granny smith apples on this tree), she also noticed that the tree would make her wise, so wise she would be like God. The Bible doesn’t tell us what was going through Eve’s head when she chose to take the fruit but we can make a few guesses based off of our own experiences. It doesn’t seem like Eve was thinking about God or how disappointed He would be at all, she wasn’t even thinking about her husband Adam who she was dragging down with her. Satan had convinced her that she deserved more than what she had and selfishly she chose to believe him.
Have you ever been so set on getting what you thought you deserved that you ignored the consequences to the people and loved ones around you? If Eve would have taken a moment to think about how blessed she was to walk daily with God in His garden and to be with the man who was literally designed for her maybe she wouldn’t have been so tempted to take the fruit. What areas in your life are you looking for an “upgrade” because you think you deserve it? Maybe if we do what Eve didn’t do and take a minute to take stock of all of the ways we are blessed we’ll realize that we don’t need to risk it all for something God doesn’t have planned for us in the first place.