Possible, Not Effortless

First, let me not yet let on what my post will say is possible, but not effortless.

Here are two verses with a similar structure. To disclaim any observant credit, it was my ESV Reformation Study Bible that pointed this out to me. First, to the garden of Eden with Eve, successfully tempted by Satan to disobey God in the matter of the fruit of the garden she was not to eat:

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be 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.

Now to several generations after Adam and Eve’s first descendants:

Genesis 6:1-2 – When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.

The Hebrew word for attractive is often transcribed as ‘good’ also. Here then is a description of the pattern of sin as it first entered the earth. A human saw, desired, and acted, irregardless to God. Promptly following this description is one of God’s grief and rage at human disobedience, and the destruction he caused to happen with the flood out of sovereign and righteous anger. Through this destruction, grace and mercy is shown to Noah, who listened and obeyed. This obedience and reverence was pleasing to God and He promised not to send such destruction on the world while it remains until the final judgment.

The pattern of sin is not hard to follow. Many things I can see and access could be pleasing in short or long-ish term, and so I act upon it: a scathing remark about something that annoys me; things that fill up my day to satisfy lesser desires and obstruct more godly desires and disciplines; food gluttony; distraction and procrastination that wastes significant chunks of time such that I am in a bad mood afterwards… In the moment, I do not cast my thoughts towards being mindful of God’s grief or righteous anger. Yet it is always possible to listen and obey; it’s just not effortless.

Thus the heart and spirit in Paul’s words of 1 Corinthians 9:27.

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. [NIV]

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. [ESV]


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