Is there an unmet desire or two that’s frustrating you in marriage?
Maybe you want to reply, “Can you listen for an hour or two?!”
At one point, this was my perspective too! 😉
Almost ALL of my marriage messes were and are due to my desires either clashing with my husband’s desires or allowing them to turn into demands.
That’s why the story of Adam and Eve provides such a wealth of insight into how to battle effectively in times of spiritual warfare.
So, today, we’re moving further along in the story that we began to look at last week. Click here to go there.
Here’s a quick review: The serpent had asked Eve: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” And in reply, she misquoted God, saying that she must not eat the fruit (true), as well as she must not touch it either (false).
Let’s pick up with the next section …
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:4-6
This week I’m going to zero in on four kinds of strong desires found in this passage that Satan uses to tempt us.
4 Common Ways Satan Tempts You . . .
1. The enemy tempts your flesh—normal bodily desires.
When Eve saw that the tree was good for food (Gen. 3:6)—a normal bodily desire—she decided her hunger for the fruit was more important than her hunger for God. This is where the sin sprouted and bore fruit, pardon the pun! The desire itself was not sinful until it transformed into the ugly choice of idolatry.
What bodily desire is tempting you to sin in life and/or marriage?
- Are you tempted to meet your sexual needs in an illegitimate way with porn or an affair?
- Do you lack self-control when it comes to your diet?
- Are you turning to alcohol much more than you should—more than to the Lord for comfort?
Battle Strategies: Look to your church family, a good Christian counselor, God and His word to give you the insight and support you need to resist these out-of-control desires.
2. Satan tempts you with what is “pleasing to the eye.” (Gen. 3:6)
These are the desires for beauty, beautiful things and beautiful experiences.
I believe that women and wives typically struggle here with the desire to stay and look attractive. They also can give more attention to making their homes and surroundings attractive than they give to the beauty of their hearts.
Men, on the other hand, generally struggle with desiring an attractive wife, house, or car. OR they might try to craft a perfect image in their careers.
Regardless, this desire can easily become idolatry at its ugliest for both men and women.
What are the ways you let your desire for beauty rule your life, marriage and emotions?
Ladies, here’s a battle strategy tailored for you . . .
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Gentlemen (and gentlewomen), engage this battle strategy . . .
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:15-16
Regardless of your gender . . .
3. The enemy tempts you with the “desire for gaining wisdom.” (Gen. 3:6)
Eve wanted to control her destiny and life. She wanted to be equal to God and to function independently from Him. If she could become like God, she falsely believed “the world would be her oyster.”
- What do you desire to control that’s negatively impacting your life and marriage?
- How has the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge made you arrogant?
- How are you operating independently from God and/or your spouse?
Battle Strategy: Begin to pray for God to open your eyes to any arrogance or self-sufficiency that’s overtaking your life. He loves humility and always answers prayers like that when given from a sincere heart.
4. Satan tempts you to enlist others in sin in order to get what you desire.
She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6b
God has wired us with a good desire to seek companionship and support from others. Sadly, we allow this desire to be perverted when we enlist our spouses and others in sin.
This desire also stems from selfishness and unbelief. We make our desires the priority over God’s, wrongly believing His way is not the best way.
How have you enlisted your spouse or others in sinful activities?
- Are you criticizing your spouse to others?
- Do you encourage your spouse to drink too much? To watch shows that are inappropriate?
- Do you commiserate with your mate about how awful certain people are?
Battle Strategies: Begin to pray with your spouse daily, if you’re not already. Then ask God to give you the courage to resist sin together. Evaluate how you each did at day’s end!
I hope you’ll join me next week when I’ll continue in this series—Marriage Battle Strategies—examining the next few verses in Adam and Eve’s story. The theme of that post will deal with hiding and shame, considering these in the context, not only in life but also, in particular, in marriage.
Which of these desires and temptations is strongest for you, and why?
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