You have all heard of this book. Passion, sensuality, lust, and domination are some of the racy and controversial themes in this story.
So why am I even writing about this? I haven’t read it. Nor do I ever intend to. Then why do I think I have any license to speak on this? Let’s read Genesis 3:1-5
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” “
In this section, Satan wasn’t outright lying. He was twisting the truth. He was skewing things bit by bit. He was drawing all the attention to the ONLY thing to which God said NO. Everything else was yes. But Satan focused in on that one thing…that one NO.
Eve did not wake up and think, “I am going to disobey God today.” She was away from her accountability (Adam), she twisted what God said (I will die if I touch it instead of if I eat it), and she listened to the serpent.
Satan doesn’t come at us obviously. He is “the most cunning” and the most deceitful. He is the best actor. He can present Himself even as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Satan’s biggest advantage is turning things from black and white, into shades of grey.
Here is what I am getting at.
The 50 Shades of Grey in our lives are those little discrepancies we make every day.
“This isn’t that bad. This song doesn’t effect me that way. This is research. I don’t do it that often. It’s not like I am addicted to it. That only applied back then.” – Liberalism
“God said this, so I am going to not even go within a mile of that.” – Legalism
Often, the “things” we do or accept are not bad in and of themselves. But they open a door in our hearts and lives for something one step further down a path toward sin.
When I was in high school, a friend told me that she had heard someone say that romance novels and movies are emotional pornography for girls. I have found that to be so true. In fact, during the time Travis and I were dating, I had to completely cut myself off from romance novels and movies. They gave me a false sense of reality and pushed my heart toward lust, especially when I was with him.
Even now that we are married, I’m very careful about what kinds of movies I watch and books I read.  They put thoughts and images in my mind that can stir up wrongful lust for another or cause me to put unrealistic expectations on Travis.  Worse then that, they are what my heart and mind begins to dwell on in my moments of thought and solitude instead of dwelling on Jesus.
But I’m not just talking about sexual sin and lust.  I’m talking about attitudes.
This is an area where I really struggle.
I rationalize…
“But what that person did was wrong and hurtful!  I can say those unkind things, or mention it to a friend.  Other people need to know.  They might get hurt too!”
“I can’t believe that person struggles in that area.  It is so simple.  It’s even in THE BIBLE. Just read it and obey it…it’s not that hard, people!”
“This work is so tedious.  It’s not a big deal to ignore it.  No one will notice.  I work hard.  I deserve a break. I’ll get to it later…or somebody else will do it.  I need to rest or I won’t be able to give my best.”
Do you see the gossip, bitterness, judging, comparisons, and laziness that can stem from these attitudes?  These are all things I HAVE THOUGHT!
Praise the Lord for His unending grace and forgiveness!
The list of wrong attitudes that we can rationalize our way into could go on and on.
His biggest advantage is turning things from black and white, into shades of grey.
This Sunday my pastor said…
“It’s like we download poison into our lives…by seeing things we shouldn’t see and thinking things we shouldn’t think.” –  Ben Phillips
Often times, we don’t even realize we are doing it. We slowly allow our hearts and minds to rationalize, to become more and more comfortable with things until we are way down a path we would never have imagined ourselves going down.
We are lustful
or arrogant
or a gossip
or lazy
or bitter
Black and White has become Grey.
So how do we know?
Read God’s word. – I’ve heard it said that so often we interpret God’s word by our culture, when we should be interpreting our culture by God’s word.
Pray – I need to read God’s word and then pray it into my heart and mind. Ask God to keep me from starting down the paths of legalism or liberalism.
Keep accountable – When I am not being real with others, I am often not being real with God.
I talk about this, not because I am perfect, but because I know the struggle this can be.  I can look back and see battles I’ve lost that I didn’t know I was in at the time.
I encourage you to pray with me.  I’m asking God where I have given the devil a foothold without realizing it. I’m asking Him to show me what grey areas should really be black and white.  I’m asking Him to convict me of sin.
Trust me, if you pray those prayers in sincerity…they WILL NOT go unanswered.
Be blessed.

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