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Oh the Consequences!

September 7, 2010

Consequence:  the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier.

Looking back over my life I realize that seldom have I understood the full consequences of seemingly meaningless choices.  I could never have known how the poorly-considered decision to disregard truth about purity would lead to the most devastating event of my life just five years later.  But neither could I have begun to predict that the casual choice to attend a concert on June 12, 1995 would lead to a marriage that has now celebrated more than 14 years together.

“She took of its fruit and ate, and also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” ~ Genesis 3:11 ESV

Such a tiny, little thing.  Something we do every day without a second thought … she ate and then she shared with the one beside her.  And yet that tiny, little thing had such consequences.  Not just in her life but in all our lives.   It wasn’t the bite … it wasn’t the sharing.  Those were outward.  The issue was the heart.  Both Eve’s and Adam’s.   The issue wasn’t about following the rules ~”Don’t eat from that tree.”  The issue was far deeper ~ They didn’t trust the nature of God and so they acted in opposition to it. {Read Kristi’s post yesterday for more on this idea of the deeper issue of sin.}

And because they … and we, every day since … chose opposition to God’s nature, sin, we live in the results, the consequences of that very choice. We have traded God’s nature for our own and in doing so have also made the following trades.

Trading Confidence for Shame

In the garden they walked with God, sharing an intimate, face-to-face relationship with Him.  They lived in the truth of being created in His image, unbroken fellowship with Him.   But after their choice, they hid from the God who called to them (Genesis 3:8-9).  Why?  Because they had given up the confidence they had in their relationship with God for shame.  Verse 7:  “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and make themselves loincloths.”

“They knew that they were naked.”   This sentence speaks so clearly of the assurance Adam and Eve had in their relationship with God and with each other.   They had been unaware of and unashamed by their nakedness … What a vivid picture of trust.  We trade our confidence in God for shame before Him as a result of our sin.

Trading Love for Blame

Created specifically for each other, Adam and Eve enjoyed a communion with each other unlike any human relationship since.  A perfect love, fulfilling every description uttered in all of Scripture.  Likewise, they lived in the fullness of God’s love for them.

Until … “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (v. 12)  and “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (v. 13).

Blame.  Oh that sad result of sin!  His fault, her fault.  Someone else’s fault.  In our culture refusing personal responsibility has become an art form.  “The victim mentality” has taken firm grasp on the hearts and minds of people – believers and unbelievers alike.  And we have even blamed God … “If God was really loving, He wouldn’t have …”

In our quickness to assign blame, we have lost the beauty of love. This kind of love:

Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.  Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG

Trading Wholeness for Pain

Unbroken communion with God, each other and all of creation.  That’s what they had. The only two humans to ever have experienced on earth what will be again in the new Jerusalem:

“Behold the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be their with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:3b – 4 ESV

This description of what will be in Heaven is also a description of what was in the Garden.  God dwelling with them, walking with them.  And yet, the choice to reject His nature led to this one devastating result –  life with pain. The spiritual pain of separation from God, the emotional and social pain of difficulty in human relationships, and the physical pain of hardships in all of life … The results of trading wholeness for pain.

It’s so easy to focus on the behaviors and outward consequences of sinful choices … But it is always those deep truths of the heart that bear the deepest wounds of sin’s results.   How I pray that I’ll be always mindful of the sorrow-filled results of trading an obedient, G0d-seeking heart for a sinful, God-rejecting one.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 6:26 am

    I hard hitting post today. I always find it hard reading this book, i question why so many times, Eve had perfection yet wanted more. How many times have I done that.

    • September 7, 2010 1:09 pm

      Sara, I think we can all relate to wanting more. The difficult process of learning contentment is one of the biggest battles in a believer’s life, I think.

  2. September 7, 2010 8:01 am

    Great, great post!

    I hope many people come across what is written here.

    • September 7, 2010 1:10 pm

      Thank you, Shelley! It’s nice to see you here on SD … and I loved what you wrote on Steph’s blog today too.

  3. September 7, 2010 8:04 am

    Thank you Teri Lynne! Sin has so many devastating consequences. Even though the ultimate consequence is eternal separation from God, we sometimes forget about the destruction it causes in this life. Thanks for the reminder!

    • September 7, 2010 1:12 pm

      Kathy, you are so right. The ultimate price is eternal. But the daily consequences are so real … learning as believers to grasp that can be so difficult.

  4. Ron Quarterman permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:49 am

    I’m a guy who can totally relate to what Teri has written. I indeed made those bad choices before I got saved, and am now living with what I have done. My choices, which were not good at all, have manifested themselves into a life of pain and separateness. Granted, I’m saved, but I’m living with the choices that I didn’t consider the consequences when I made them. My life would have been different if I would have just thought about what I was doing and who my choices were affecting. Now, God has to pick the pieces up and rebuild me from the ground up.

    • September 7, 2010 1:04 pm

      Ron, thanks for your honesty. As you’ve testified, sin does have consequences, but praise God, He is also merciful and faithful and His love knows no bounds!

    • September 7, 2010 1:15 pm

      Ron, I appreciate your sharing … as believers we are released from the eternal price of separation from God … but the ongoing battle with sin is not eliminated. Learning to be faithful and trust God in the midst of the consequences of our choices is indeed a hard process.

      • Ron Quarterman permalink
        September 7, 2010 1:21 pm


        It really is hard. There’s been a lot of “I wish that I wouldn’t have …” on my part, but I really can’t look back. God saved me from that life, and now I’m here to give Him glory. And, that’s just what I’m doing. I’m loving Him and giving Him the glory for what He’s doing in my life. It’s just hard to live with the consequences of the choices that I’ve made in the past. I sure wouldn’t make those same decisions today if faced with them!

      • September 7, 2010 1:24 pm

        “God saved me from that life, and now I’m here to give Him glory. And, that’s just what I’m doing. I’m loving Him and giving Him the glory for what He’s doing in my life.”

        That’s the best way I know to walk out the change He’s brought inside us. What a great testimony!

  5. Cindy Conner permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:20 am

    Wonderful post. Goes right along with what I am teaching on Wed. nights right now. “The Lies that Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Thanks for this post Stephanie. It will be a great aid to our lesson. Cindy

  6. stephanieshott permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:59 am

    Great post, Teri Lynne! Sobering to know that even the simplest act of disobedience can hold such serious consequences! Thanks for the reminder to live a surrendered life. 🙂

    • September 7, 2010 1:17 pm

      Surrendered life … that’s the biggest challenge, isn’t it? Daily I’m learning more and more how little of my life I have truly surrendered to the Lord … but He is so faithful to show me and guide me as I lay down every bit and piece of me, entrusting it all to His tender care.

  7. September 7, 2010 1:38 pm

    Your words are so true! Trading God’s best for our own plans never works out the way we hope. Thankful for this reminder and also thankful for grace!

  8. September 7, 2010 2:20 pm

    I pray that I would always weigh the consequences of my decisions. Even the small, seemingly insignificant decisions. I believe in Hosea it says we sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind.

    I led a online study on rest and covered this same topic. God is still teaching me this very thing. When I read of Eve in the garden, the Lord constantly brings me back to a verse in Psalm 34 (Taste and see that God is Good). I believe Eve had to taste and see IF God was good. The same doubt that crept in her mind, creeps in mine as well.

    Praise God that although He drove Adam and Eve out the east entrance of the Garden, He set a star in the East leading the wise men to Jesus! What a God we serve that He always makes a way back home…

  9. September 7, 2010 4:27 pm

    And I think it’s so true, that our sinful choices start with a seed of calling God’s nature into question. Amazing that it’s His nature of compassion that pursues us to restore what is lost.

  10. September 8, 2010 12:03 am

    This is a very good post — thank you for sharing your heart, Teri Lynne. God’s desire has always been that we would know the beauty of the fellowship that He has within the Trinity — In His deep love, He wanted to share Himself with us…thankfully, though man wanted His own way more than he wanted relationship with God, God still wanted to share Himself with us: while we were yet sinners, He loved us and sought to redeem us to Himself and wants us to experience as much of His fellowship as is possible within our fallen form. Yes, we will always reap what we sow and oh! how sad the grief that we bring to Him through our sinfulness…but as we submit to His loving hands, He turns even the consequences of our sin into beauty…beauty from ashes…I am so thankful that He never wastes anything — as I acknowledge His way over my own way, He will use even the consequences of my sin to bring about His beauty in and through me~

  11. Charlotte Tison permalink
    September 9, 2010 3:12 pm

    I am grateful that I took time today to read your entry on Scripture Dig. Your description of what Adam and Eve traded with the bite of the apple made the impact of sin very clear for me. Thank you!

    • September 9, 2010 3:47 pm

      Thank you, Charlotte, for taking time to read!! I appreciate your friendship and encouragement. ~ Teri Lynne


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