We all treasure our God-given freedom. We are free to make choices and to enjoy everything that God bestowed unto us as blessings. In fact, we want to be as free as the birds of the air that are unrestrained and without worries. To emphasize this similitude to birds, Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26). But even birds can be ensnared. In their quest for better food, they can fall into a trap. When things seem to be too good to be true, we need to be cautious – it could be a trap. But whether we fall into a trap or not, it is the result of our freedom of choice. We can choose to align ourselves with God’s will or fall into the trap of the wicked one. Jesus warned, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24).
Often, our struggle is in the exercise of our freedom. While we are free to make choices, we just do not know what the outcome will be from the beginning. For this reason, the apostle Paul warned, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature” (Gal. 5:13). It is when we indulge the desires of the sinful nature that we are trapped. Slowly but surely, we are imprisoning ourselves and thus curtailing our freedom. No amount of effort can restore our freedom, but only our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
The devil is good at setting up snares that will lure unsuspecting believers into his trap. He will come as an angel of light to inject doubt in their minds. Up to this day, he uses the same strategy that he used to lure Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He would come with a question like, “Did God really say..?” (Gen. 3:1). Unless we smarten up, we can fall into the same temptations as Adam and Eve. They were given the freedom of choice and they chose to disobey God in spite of the clear instruction for them not to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. “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” (Gen. 3:6).
From the experience of Adam and Eve, we can see three major snares that the devil can use to trap us. The first is that the fruit of the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh). There are those who are willing to sell their soul for food. They are like Esau who sold his birthright just for a bowl of soup. He said, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished! Look, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?” (Gen. 25:30-32). Because he despised his birthright, he eventually was denied of the blessing of a firstborn. “Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears” (Heb. 12:17).
The second snare is that the fruit was pleasing to the eyes (lust of the eyes). We tend to assess things on the basis of their outward appearance rather than their intrinsic value. Because outward appearance is deceiving, King David prayed, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word” (Psalm 119:37). Even when dealing with people, we tend to prefer those who have good looks. But the Bible says “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
The third snare is that the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom (pride of life). There is nothing wrong with desiring to have wisdom. In fact, God wants us to have wisdom. However, the motivation in desiring it is what matters. The devil said to Adam and Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). Their ultimate goal was to feed their ego. But the Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
The devil will continue to set up traps, hoping that we will fall into one of them one day. Let us, therefore, be more vigilant. While it is true that we now have freedom in Christ Jesus, the apostle Peter admonished us saying, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16). Enjoy your freedom. Hallelujah!