Bible Reading: Genesis 3:1-7
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
Your best friend passes you a cigarette. You’re shocked. “You smoke?” you protest. “Smoking is wrong. It’s stupid!”
“Says who?” sasses your friend. “Your mother?”
You stand firm. “Did you sleep through those pictures at school? Smoking makes your lungs look as black as dirt.”
Your friend pushes back. “Those pictures are all fake. The only reason adults tell us not to smoke is to keep us from having any fun.” Then your friend takes one last shot at you: “Don’t you have a brain of your own?”
That’s a scene all of us face as we grow up. If the argument isn’t about smoking, it’s about some other activity “everyone” says is way too fun to pass up. And the temptation grows strongest when others say we’re able to make up our own mind.
Back in the Garden of Eden, Satan convinced Eve that God wasn’t looking out for her good-and that doing her own thing was the smart way for Eve to get what she wanted. The serpent’s sly argument worked, of course. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that they were bright enough to pick right and wrong all on their own.
Know what? Satan still wants to keep us from recognizing God as the only true judge of what’s good. He’s happy to help us cook up excuses for behavior God says is bad. He makes it sound smart to toss out God’s commands and make up our own minds about right and wrong.
That’s like a sailor on the ocean who spins himself in a circle and points willy-nilly to decide which way is north. Back in the days before ships had sophisticated navigational systems that showed exactly where they were in the ocean, sailors looked at a certain star—called the North Star—to know which direction was north. When a sailor was surrounded by water and didn’t have any landmarks, it was easy for him to get confused, so he couldn’t trust his sense of direction. If he didn’t chart his course by the North Star, it wouldn’t be long before he was lost. If we ignore the fact that God alone gives us direction, we’re bound to go astray.
God loves us so much that he doesn’t make right and wrong a matter of opinion. He loves us so much that he makes his commands clear and easy to understand. And he doesn’t teach us right from wrong to mess up our life. He wants to show us how to make life the best it can be.
TALK: When have you listened to the wrong person tell you what’s right? How do you rely on God to tell you right from wrong? What happens when you don’t?
PRAY: Lord, you alone know what’s best for us. Today and always, we want to listen to you to help us know right from wrong.
ACT: Make a list of people or other voices that try to sway you to act a certain way. Talk about which ones are worth listening to—and which ones steer you away from following God’s commands.