The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:15-17
At first glance, it’s easy to see the tree as a setup to fail. I mean, didn’t God know that Adam and Eve would eat the forbidden fruit? And if so, why would he place it there it to begin with? Didn’t he want them to be happy and live with him in paradise forever?
Well yes, or course. But he also wanted them to have an actual choice in the matter. He was after partners, not puppets or prisoners. And so God let the tree and the Devil coexist alongside them.
It’s similar for us today. Eden may be gone, but we all face a variety of temptations and have a foe who actively opposes us. Battling them can get exhausting, but there’s an upside: God can use Satan and our struggle against sin to highlight our freedom, deepen our dependence, affirm our identity, and strengthen our resolve.
Just look at Jesus. After being tempted in the wilderness for forty days, he returned to Galilee with even greater power and authority. What could have destroyed him actually deployed him.
Every time we say “no” to sin and Satan, we strengthen our “yes” to Christ and righteousness. Every test, every trial, every lie from the Devil, every “this is hard and I really want to give in and I don’t know how much more I can take” can be a catalyst for us to step into greater maturity and kingdom effectiveness.
There’s nothing inherently good about the Devil or our desire to sin, but God can work both for the good in ways we might not expect. Your greatest struggle can become your greatest victory. Anything the enemy uses against you can be used against him.
I’m not suggesting that you go looking for a fight or a place to fall. Inevitably they’ll find you. I’m just saying that when they do, remember this: you can emerge stronger.