Freedom to Choose — A Gift of God
The story of the fall of Adam and Eve, and the story about the tempting of Jesus are two interesting and contrasting stories. Most of all, they are stories about making choices.
For Adam and Eve, God gave them the Freedom to Choose. He gave them the opportunity to do the “right thing” – the right to be moral in their actions. They had the opportunity to live by choice, to live consciously, unlike animals who live by instinct. They could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God, and, as we know, they abused that freedom. In choosing evil, they, and we, abuse the freedom with which we are gifted, for the essence of the gift is essentially the freedom to choose what is right.
Jesus was also faced with the decision to choose evil over good. It was not easy for he too had to struggle to do the will of God. He was divine, true, but he was also very human.
Every day we are faced with decisions — choices to do good or to do evil, to choose God or not. We have within us a certain self-centered attitude of “I know what is good for me;” or relativistic attitude of ‘what is true for you isn’t true for me.’ This is shortsighted behavior that leads to self-destruction.
Jesus won in the desert, but that battle is not over. Everyday we have to make the same decisions over and over…the good news is that the more we make the ‘right’ decision, the easier it is to continue to do the same. The real punishment for choosing evil is that it is also easier the second and third time to choose evil and this becomes self-destructive behavior.
The winning is in the fact that not choosing evil does not bring us to the original innocence of Adam and Eve, but helps us to rise above sin and temptation; we become virtuous, unwilling to commit sin. Jesus’ way!
~ Deacon Paul