By: Staci Stallings
Okay. Let’s play a little game first. Here’s the way it’s played.
I’m going to give you either ten million dollars or nothing.
It’s your choice.
Now, let’s pretend just for a moment that I’m here and I’m holding out to you these two choices–ten million dollars in one hand, nothing in the other. You’re looking at the options.
Which one are you inclined to take?
But don’t make your choice just yet. There’s more…
As you stand there observing your options, someone comes up to you and says, “You know there’s a catch, right? She’s not just going to GIVE you ten million dollars. I mean, even if she does, you are going to owe her forever. It’s much better to take nothing. At least with that, you’re not going to owe her anything. She won’t have control over your life forever.”
Now what are you going to do?
Take the ten million and risk me being in control of your life (which by the way I never said was a stipulation of taking the money) or nothing because you don’t want to be “owned” by anyone?
Maybe it seems an easy choice. Maybe you think, “Well, with ten million I could tell her to go jump in a lake if she gets too obnoxious.” But then your friend says, “Oh, and there’s no guarantee that she won’t just take it right back either. I mean sure, you’ll have it for a minute, but what good will that do? It’s HER money after all. It’s not yours. Even if she gives it to you, it’s not really yours. It’s still hers. Wouldn’t it be far better to know whatever you have is really yours?”
Now, you’re breathing hard, trying to decide.
But here’s the thing. I never said anything that your friend is telling you. None of it. I said nothing about the gift being conditional. I said nothing about giving it to you and then taking it back. I said nothing about you owing me anything if you take it.
However, your friend isn’t finished. “If you take that money, she will hold it over your head forever. You will never be free to do your own thing again. She will remind you all the time about what she gave you, and you will feel so guilty for taking it that you’ll probably want to get rid of it anyway. Do you really want HER to be in charge of your life forever? Do you really trust her like that? Wouldn’t it be much better to just walk away? At least then she wouldn’t have reins on your life.”
After thinking long and hard about what your friend has said, you reluctantly tell me you want no part of the ten million dollars. You’ll take nothing. I say, “Fine. Then you’re on your own. Good luck.”
Now, let’s say that a short time later, you come to understand that the offer I was making was for real. I really would have given you ten million dollars. And let’s say that you come to understand that it would have come with no strings attached. In fact, behind that ten million was another ten million and another ten million that I wanted to give you, but in refusing the first, you refused all the others as well.
Here’s a question. Who are you mad at?
The strange thing is, we often get mad at the wrong person in this scenario. We get mad at the person offering the ten million instead of that “friend” who knew exactly what that would have meant for us and talked us out of taking it.
That’s what happened in the Garden of Eden (and what happens to us every day). Here was Eve. Everything was hers. God withheld nothing from her. She didn’t have to worry about where supper was coming from, what she would wear, if anyone would love her. She had all of those things. She already HAD the first ten million God gave her.
Then the serpent, Satan, came along. He acted like her friend though he was anything but. He planted a seed of doubt that God’s offer wasn’t really what He said it was, and Eve fell for it. She started doubting that there weren’t massive strings attached to what she had been given. She listened to the serpent, ate the fruit she knew God had forbidden, and then gave some to her husband. She took nothing when she could have had ten million and ten million after that and ten million after that.
But here’s the thing. Once she took the offer of nothing (of her own free will), she could never go back and ask for a do-over. She knew almost immediately that she’d chosen the wrong thing, but notice who she got mad at. She didn’t get mad at Satan (though she did try to excuse her behavior saying he had tricked her). She became afraid of and mad at GOD!
God, Who had made the offer. God, Who had loved her so much. God, Who even stitched clothes together so she wouldn’t be naked after she had disobeyed.
She became afraid of Him and mad at Him. She (and all those who came after her) blamed God for what He had done in the Garden. Somehow the fact that it was Satan’s lies that were the turning point doesn’t really come into mind.
Is that the way it is with you? Do you have anything in your life that you chose to listen to Satan about (i.e. you lied when you should have been honest, you cheated, you stole, you got angry and killed someone’s spirit, you made something else your god and it came back to bite you)? Are there places were you went willfully off into the tulleys, found yourself in a mess, and got mad at God for not making sure you didn’t get off the track?
Maybe it’s time to get mad at the RIGHT person–Satan. Maybe it’s time to stop listening to him and his insidious lies. Maybe it’s time to start trusting that the offer God made doesn’t come with strings, that He loves us no matter what, and that He will even stitch us together clothes when we make the wrong choice.
God’s offer of life and death is real, and Satan is always going to be there to tell you that the offer isn’t what God says it is. Which one are you going to believe?