Forbidden Fruit

At church we've each been assigned certain Scriptures to use to write Lenten devotionals. I'm not sure I like how this one turned out. What do you think?

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

“'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)

Someone recently asked me, “If God didn’t want us to eat of the fruit, why did He put it in the garden?” I had just finished reading the prequel to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series and had Lewis’s answer in mind. “That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after…” In “The Magician’s Nephew” Lewis seems to argue that eventually Adam and Eve would have been given the opportunity to eat the forbidden fruit, just the timing was not yet quite right.

Growing up, I always hated it when my mother would say,, “I’ll explain it to you when you are older.” I knew this meant that she didn’t think I was ready to know whatever information it was that she and the adult world kept hidden from me.

Sin. What is it? Is it only the forbidden fruit? Or perhaps it is fruit that is forbidden for a time so that we can fully enjoy the pleasures of it once it is ripe and we are mature? Or perhaps it is fruit that is good, but when consumed at the wrong time or in the wrong quantity it makes us sick?

For example, shopping could be considered a fruit. There is nothing necessarily wrong with shopping in and of itself. What can make shopping sinful is when we shop at the wrong time, such as when we should be at work or spending time with our children, or when we shop in the wrong quantity, such that we spend more than we have or purchase more than what we need.

In a similar way, there is nothing necessarily wrong with playing video games in and of itself. What can make playing video games sinful is when we play them at the wrong time, such as during the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, or in the wrong quantity, such that we are not meeting our responsibilities.

So often in the season of Lent we give something up in a form of self-sacrifice that reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Perhaps during this season of Lent we should give up consuming “fruit” outside of its proper season or in larger quantities than necessary. What is your forbidden fruit?

God of all Creation, during this season of preparation, help me to recognize the fruit in my life that I am consuming at the wrong time or in the wrong portions.


Katie Z. said…
I really like the direction this goes! I wonder if something can be said about sacrifice however, that entails giving up the right things.

The idea of Lent is that you give it up only for a season... but then are free to take it back up again and even (in some traditions) enjoy it on Sundays!

So, when you ask folks to give up fruits that they overconsume or in the wrong way... that should be what we do anyways... that doesn't really imitate the sacrifice of Christ.

I haven't figured out a better way to rephrase it... but it's an observation. =)

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