Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Bob Lepine: As we get started with our session here, I need to start off and make sure that we’re friends, right? We like each other, and we’re doing okay.

Leslie Basham: When Bob Lepine prepared to address a group of women, he discovered that you can literally buy a can of real worms online.

Bob: I almost bought one just to bring it here because I’m about to open one up as we get into the subject we’re going to talk about. They say that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and the topic I’ve selected to speak here may ultimately prove that that statement is right and that I’m a fool.

Leslie: We’re about to listen to Bob open that can of worms here on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, December 6.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’ve sometimes said that the very first sin committed by the very first woman back in the Garden of Eden had to do with overeating. Ever since that day, a lot of us women have struggled to maintain a healthy approach to food.

Over the next few days, Bob Lepine is going to help us explore this idea further. Bob is the co-host of the daily radio program Family Life Today. He also serves on the advisory board of Revive Our Hearts, and he was the emcee at three True Woman conferences this past year.

At the True Woman event in Fort Worth, we asked Bob to conduct a breakout session. He got into some really practical issues that we want to unpack this week. He began by laying some scriptural groundwork from the book of Genesis. Let’s listen.

Bob: Here’s what I want us to do this afternoon: I want us to spend some time thinking about a subject that I want us to think through together. I’ll tell you a little bit about what prompted my interest in this particular topic, and then I’ll tell you why I think it’s important that we boldly go where no man I know has ever gone before. Okay?

Here’s what I want us to think through together in this time: I want us to think about three areas that, through my observation and through my interaction with women, I have found these three areas can be a particular trap or a particular snare in the lives of women. The three areas we’re going to talk about are food, beauty, and control.

Now, let me quickly say that men can have traps in these areas as well. I’m not suggesting to you that these are not issues for men. Men have issues related to food. They have issues related to a desire for control. I don’t know if beauty is one of men’s issues or not, but we have our issues. The thing is, I’m not talking to a room full of men today. I’m talking to a room full of women.

Here’s the other thing: I also want to suggest to us that it is not wrong, it’s not sinful, it’s not inappropriate for women to pay attention to what you eat, or to have a desire to look good, or to exercise some degree of control over your surroundings. In fact, the Bible teaches that it is wise and prudent to exercise some wisdom in these areas.

But it’s my observation that these areas are areas that can take on an unhealthy and idolatrous proportion in the lives of a lot of women. That’s what I want us to examine together in our time this afternoon.

Here’s what got me started thinking about this subject: I was looking at those early chapters in the book of Genesis. I was reading through them again. You know, Genesis 1, 2, and 3 are really foundational to everything that’s in the Bible. In fact, they just got me thinking about this subject that I want us to unpack, and the verse is Genesis 3:6.

What we’re going to do in this time together, let me just be clear . . . I’m not going to exegete this verse. I’m not going to go word by word and try to pull it together. I’m not suggesting that all of the principles I have for you come out of this verse, but it just got me thinking. As I read,

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.

When she saw that it was good for food, it was pretty, beautiful, a delight to the eyes, and it was desirable to make one wise, controlfood, beauty, controlit just popped up at me. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. But quickly, I want you to know that my motive in talking about these three issuesfood, beauty, and controlas traps for women, my motive is, number one, not to make you mad at me, although that could happen.

I don’t think I’m trying to push a particular agenda of my own or my own opinions on these subjects. As best as I can tell, my motivation in trying to unpack this subject is to help you examine your own heart, your own life, to determine if you have an unhealthy or unhelpful preoccupation with beauty or food or control; to examine if any of these three things, any of these issues, are interfering with God’s priorities for your life, your love for Him, your love for others.

In other words, my goal is to try to be helpful, as you seek to serve God, to say food, beauty, and control, are they good things in your life in terms of the mission God has called you to? Or are they pulling you away from the mission that God has called you to?

With that thought in mind, we jump into Genesis 3. As I’ve said, it’s so pivotal. I trust many of you have read Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. If you’ve not read that book, it starts in Genesis 3 with the father of lies coming to the woman and lying to her, and she believes the lie. So many of the issues that Nancy addresses in the book are founded on that one principle: believing a lie and moving away from God’s truth.

But let me set up Genesis 3. In Genesis 1 and 2, it says God created everything. At the end of each day of creation, what did God say? “It’s good.” First day: “It’s good.” Second day: “It’s good.” When He gets done with all six days, He looks at all He has created, and He says, “It’s very good.” “It’s good; it’s good; it’s good. I’m done. It’s very good.”

The next time you see the word good is when Eve is looking at the fruit. You see, it’s God who has been calling things good up until now, and a part of this temptation with the woman is that she’s beginning to want to decide for herself what’s good.

But here’s the picture: God had created everything. He had not only created everything, but He’d come to the man and the woman, and He had said, “My assignment for you is that you will subdue the earth; you will rule over it. Adam, you’re going to be the co-regent. You’re going to name the animals. You’re going to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. Eve, you’re going to be co-regent in this. You’re going to be helper to the man, and the two of you will rule and reign with Me over My creation.” Right?

So there was one thing that God said after He’d created it all. He said, “Now, there’s one thing that I want you not to do, just this one thing. That tree . . . you see it? The one in the middle of the garden. Don’t eat that fruit. It’s the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Don’t eat that fruit. Everything else is yours. Everything else is yours to enjoy, to exercise control over, but don’t do that one thing.”

In the midst of that, here comes the enemy of God. Now this enemy of God is a rebellious angel. You know the account, right? You know how the serpent got to be the serpent? Actually, the serpent is the embodiment of Satan who was originally called Lucifer, and you know what the Bible teaches us? Lucifer was originally one of God’s angels. He was talented; he was beautiful, and he was a little too full of himself.

One day Lucifer was in the angel lunch room . . . you’ll have to do my paraphrase with me. He was in the angel lunch room with a bunch of other angels, and this idea pops into his head, and he says it to the other angels. He says, “You know, I sometimes think I would make a better god than God.”

Some of the angels there said, “You know, we think that you might make a better god than God, too.”

Lucifer says, “Well, what do you think if we . . . maybe we could pull this off. Maybe we could overthrow God. Maybe we could get a little coup going, and we could depose God, and then I can be god.”

So as they’re sitting in the angel lunch room trying to hatch their plot of rebellion, what they’d forgotten is that God is omniscient; they’re not. He knew what they were thinking before they thought it. So to try to launch a rebellion against an omniscient God is a fool’s errand. But so swelled up with pride was Lucifer that he went out, and he attacked God and tried to pull off this coup.

Of course, God cast him down to the earth along with a third of the angels, according to Isaiah. It was in that environment where He said, “You have some level of dominion over the earth, but you still have to do it under my control.”

So here comes this serpent. His one assignment or his one job, his one mission, now that God has created the heavens and the earth, created the man and the woman, he wants to see if he can incite rebellion in the heart of the man and the woman. He still wants the coup. He still wants to take over. If it didn’t work with a third of the angels, maybe if he can get the man and the woman on his side . . . I don’t know if that’s what he’s thinking or not, but his design is to pull the man and the woman down.

So he shows up in Genesis 3 and look at what he has to do. He comes to a perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, where the man and the woman had been created. They daily fellowshipped with God. They walked with God in the day. They have everything they need, and they’ve been told, “There’s only one thing that’s off limits for you.”

So if you’re going to incite rebellion, then what you have to do is get them to do the one thing that they’ve been told not to do. God’s given them free reign all over the place, and they walk with God every day.

Well, we know the account of what happens, right? He’s successful.

I just have to stop here a minute and exhort you ladies. You have to recognize that this was no small accomplishment on his part. I think we can sometimes think, “Well, that could happen to anybody.” No, this was the father of lies using every diabolical trick and tool at his command.

Martin Luther says in his hymn,

The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not at him.
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God")

We must not forget that the enemy of our souls is crafty, devilish, diabolical, and he’s shrewd. Here’s a man and a woman, walking with God every day, and he tempts them to rebellion. So the progression comes . . . you know the progression.

“The serpent, craftier than all the beasts of the field,” Genesis 3, “comes to the woman” (see verse 1). The first thing he does is he says, “Can I ask you a question, ma’am? Did God say you’re not to eat of all of this food?”

What he starts off with is by saying to the woman, “Is there anything off limits for you? Did God say you can’t eat of all of this food?”

She says, “No. God said we can have it all. It’s just that one tree. He said we’re not to eat it.” Then she goes on, and she says, “In fact, He said we’re not even to touch it, or we’ll die” (see verse 3). Now had God said not to touch it? No. Eve becomes the first pouty legalist in history. She’s putting words in the mouth of God that God had not said. But she says, “No. He said that we can’t even touch that.”

So he says, “Did God really tell you not to eat?” I don’t think it was an innocent question. In fact, we don’t hear the inflection, but I think the way he said it in the garden was kind of like this: “Did God really say you can’t eat of all of this stuff?”

You can ask questions in such a way that you can kind of stir up emotions in people. If I came to you and said, “Did your son’s teacher really say that you need to hold him back a year in school?” Just asking that question with the tone of voice I’m asking is kind of like, “What does that teacher know? That teacher is trying to be cruel to your son.”

If a guy comes to me, and he says, “I just heard from Fred that your wife said she needs you to stay home next Saturday around the house. She doesn’t want you to play golf. Did she really say that?” Now, what he’s really saying is, “Are you going to be a man or not?” Right?

You see, the implication is, “That’s not very nice of your wife. That’s not very nice of that teacher.” So, when the serpent comes and says, “Did God really say that you can’t eat any of this?” he’s trying to stir up discontentedness in the heart of the woman.

And then the second question. God had said, “You can surely eat of every tree of the garden except the tree in the center of the garden.” Now Satan says, “Did God actually say you can’t eat of any tree?” God had been generous and gracious. Satan turns it around and tries to make it sound like God’s being stingy.

So at this point the woman’s thinking, “Well, why is God trying to keep this from me? What is it He doesn’t want me to have?” You can see from the woman’s response that these seeds that Satan is planting is starting to bear fruit.

Instead of saying, “Look, Satan, God’s a good God. He said we can have all of this. He just said stay away from that one, but look at the abundance that He’s given me.” The woman could have focused on the goodness of God, right? But instead, she goes right to the prohibition. She says, “No. He says we can’t eat of that one tree. He said, ‘Don’t even touch it.’” She forgets that God had said, “You can eat from all of the trees in the garden.” Then she adds that, “You shall not even touch it” (see verse 3).

When Satan hears that, he pounces. He says, “You will not surely die” (verse 4). First, he raises a question and causes doubts about the goodness of God, and now he lies to the woman. “You will not surely die. God is keeping knowledge from you. He doesn’t want you to know what He knows. He wants you to have to depend on Him your whole life. You’ll never be independent. You’ll never be in control. You poor thing.” Now, that gets you to Genesis 3:6.

So the woman who first is starting to go, “I wonder why He won’t let us eat that one fruit? I wonder what He’s keeping from us?” That’s when it says in Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes, and was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

Now, let me just point out: Where was old Adam? With her! We get this idea that Adam was off plowing, comes home, and goes, “Oh, Eve. Did you get in the garden again?” No. It’s not that at all. He’s standing there. What should he have been doing? He should have been stepping forward and saying, “Snake, get out of here!” He should have been protecting his wife. He should have been speaking truth and said, “Sweetheart, we’re not going to listen to him.”

When God comes looking for the couple after the rebellion, who does He come looking for? “Adam, where are you?” Who does He hold accountable? Adam.

In the New Testament when we’re talking about the second Adam, Paul, in 1 Corinthians says, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (15:21-22. NKJV).

If I was talking to men here, I would say to them that the passivity of the man is probably the original sin. The deception of the woman, in fact, the New Testament says that the woman was deceived. The man wasn’t. The man was passive but was engaged when the woman came with the temptation.

I would say to men today, and I do say to men today, that passivity of the men today is one of the great sins going on in the church. God has called men to be leaders, to guide, to guard, to protect, to feed, to lead. And men say, “Just give me the remote, and let somebody else handle it.” That’s what a lot of guys will do, and it goes back to this passivity.

Since it’s women, I’m going to talk to you about what’s going on with the women. She’s got this variety of food she can pick from in the garden.

John Calvin said that this tree that was in the center of the garden, she had probably walked past it many times, and every time she walked by it, didn’t engage, didn’t go touch it, didn’t go look at it, she was giving glory to God because she was saying, “I will obey.”

But now here comes the serpent, and he says, “But what about that? What’s God trying to keep from you?” This awakened in her a lust of the flesh. She wanted to eat it. Her appetite was aroused, not so much because that fruit looked better than all the rest of the fruit on the buffet table. Stop and think about it. It’s not because she looked at it and said, “Boy, let’s see, I’ve got blueberry pie; I’ve got peach pie; I’ve got pecan pie. I’ve got all of this, but I really want apple.”

It wasn’t that. The appetite in her that was aroused was the appetite to take what was forbidden. For the first time in her life, she is now dissatisfied with what God has given her. She believes she will be happier or more contented or more fulfilled in life if she just goes ahead and eats.

I want to make a couple of points here. I want you to see that all of us are in danger when we become dissatisfied with what God has provided for us.

I just spoke last week to a group of people on the 10th commandment. Anybody remember which commandment number 10 is? “Thou shalt not . . .” anybody? “covet. Thou shalt not covet.” What does it mean to covet? Well, it means to want what somebody else has, what you don’t have.

You go, “That’s really one of the ten? I mean, right up there with, 'don’t lie; don’t steal; don’t commit adultery?. . .don’t want things other people have?" That doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? What’s at the root of coveting? What’s at the root of coveting is a discontentedness with what God has provided for you, and that’s a huge trap. That’s a huge trap.

So what’s happened here is the woman has become dissatisfied with what God has provided, and that puts her in danger. When you step across the line, when you say, “I want what God has forbidden, and my life will be better if I take it,” what you’re really saying is, “God does not know what’s best for me. He’s not a good God, and He doesn’t care for me.” Do you understand that?

You’re attacking the character of God when you say, “I know better than God what is good for me.”

Nancy: When you think of especially destructive sins, discontentment may not come to mind for most people, but Bob Lepine has been showing us how serious that sin really is. In fact, my own heart was really pricked when Bob said that we’re in danger when we become dissatisfied with what God has provided for us, when we focus on what we don’t have rather than on what God has provided.

That’s caused me to evaluate some issues in my own life, and I hope you’ll take time to let God search your heart. Have you let any seeds of discontentment take root there? Is there an unfulfilled longing that has led you to a place of doubting God’s goodness? Perhaps in the process you’ve even subtly attacked the character of God.

Let me encourage you to confess whatever God may bring to mind and, where needed, to repent of the sin of discontentment and to affirm your trust in the goodness and wisdom and care of our loving God.

When we come back tomorrow, Bob Lepine will pick up on the theme of discontentment and some other related issues. His message is called, “Food, Beauty, and Control: Three Snares Women Face,” delivered at the True Woman conference in Fort Worth a couple of months ago.

Women who attended that conference have been spreading the message of revival and biblical womanhood that they heard there, and so have the women who attended True Woman events in Indianapolis and Chattanooga earlier this year.

For instance, a woman named Susan attended the Fort Worth conference with four other women. Afterwards she wrote and told us,

We’re going to do a mini-True Woman conference after the holidays with the materials we received at this event. We’re excited to share this biblical, timeless message with other women and see their lives changed for the glory of God.

We’re still getting many of those kinds of emails from women who were energized at the True Woman conferences. That’s one reason why I think this may be one of the most fruitful years in the history of Revive Our Hearts. At the same time, it’s also been a year where we’ve been stretched financially.

We intentionally kept the conference registrations low so as many women as possible could attend. So these three conferences represented a significant financial investment at a time when some of our other revenue streams were decreasing. As a result, in recent weeks, we’ve had to cut some of our ministry outreaches.

We’ve also been through agonizing decision to discontinue the broadcast on a number of radio stations. Would you help us avoid further cuts? During this season we’re asking God to prompt many friends to step up to the plate to help us avoid further cuts and to make it possible for this ministry to continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ in the days ahead. So I want to ask if you would consider giving a special year-end gift.

Some friends of the ministry are doubling each gift in the month of December up to a matching challenge amount of $300,000. Would you help us meet that challenge and exceed it? Your simple act of giving a gift at this crucial time will make a huge difference.

You can make your donation by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Now, why does it seem like food, beauty, and control are such big issues for so many of us as women? Well, Bob Lepine talks about it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

 Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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