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"Forbidden fruit" appeals to the lusts of our flesh, the lusts of our eyes, or the pride of life. "All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16).
By gazing on forbidden fruit, we stir up sensual desires to enjoy it. This is what happened to Eve: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat” (Genesis 3:6). By focusing on forbidden fruit, we overlook the lies of Satan, as Eve did. At the base of every temptation is a lie.
Our soul is made up of our mind, our emotions, and our will. Any two can overpower the third. If we allow our emotions to focus on a sensual pleasure and then think about doing it, our thoughts and emotions will overcome our will, and any previous decisions that we have made will be broken.
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1).
In contrast to lusting after forbidden fruit, we are to focus on the fear of the Lord. If we knew that all of our secret thoughts, words, and actions would be displayed publicly so that everyone could watch them and evaluate them, it would make a profound difference in the way we live! We have an instinctive concern about what others think of us and how they will judge the things we do.
If we have this much concern over what other men and women think of us and our actions, how much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives?
Each of us will give an account of our lives to God, and He is fully aware of everything we think, desire, speak, and do. (See Romans 14:12.) The fear of the Lord is overwhelming awe and reverence at being in the continual presence of a holy, just, powerful, and all-knowing God. When Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” he cried out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isaiah 61:1,5).
Those who saw God fell on their faces before Him. When John saw a physical presence of the Lord, he “fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). We may not actually see the Lord Jesus Christ. However, He is always with us. He promised “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). His parting words to His disciples were “lo, I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20).
It is very comforting to know that God is with us when we go through trials and tribulations. However, we tend to overlook the fact that he is also with us when we plan to carry out sensual pleasures. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
When Joseph was urged by Potiphar’s wife to commit fornication with her, he did not say “How can I do this sin against you?” or “How can I do this sin against your husband?” Instead, he answered, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
It is by the fear of the Lord that men depart from evil. (See Proverbs 16:6.) Andrew Murray wrote, "Let deep fear of the Lord and dread of all that might displease or grieve Him, fill you. Then shall you never have any evil to fear. He that fears the Lord and seeks to do all that pleases Him, for him shall God also do all that he desires. The childlike believing fear of God will lead you into the love and joy of God, while slavish, unbelieving, cowardly fear is utterly cast out."
Copyright © 2002–2011, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.