Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams

The Following is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook titled: “Lessons from the Village…”

Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams

I believe we all like to look at a few good church signs now and then. Some of my favorite are as follows: “Jesus – Don’t Miss Him for the World!”; “What in the World are You Doing for Heaven’s Sake?”; “Don’t Be So Open-minded That Your Brains Fall Out!”; “Wal-mart is Not the Only Saving Place.” I saw one sign that paraphrased an Oscar Wilde quote; it read, “Forgive Your Enemies – It Messes with Their Minds.” Another one that I came across caused quite a stir, although it had good intentions. The church sign read, “Call 911, This Church is on Fire!” But, after a few short days the sign had to be reworded to say, “Please Don’t Call 911, But This Church is on Fire!” apparently many 911 calls had ensued.

My favorite church sign though is one that read, “Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams.” How sweet is that? Many of our worse temptations come from our own personal forbidden fruits – which always seem to taste the sweetest. Of course, the whole concept of forbidden fruit comes to us from the Garden of Eden in the Bible. For whatever reason, it was frequently symbolized in Renaissance paintings as being an apple. Although the origins cannot be ascertained, many scholars believe the apple’s inclusion came as a result of mixing Greek mythology with Biblical history. In the Greek story known as the “Judgment of Paris,” a golden apple is plucked by the goddess of discord, Eris, and taken to a party. On the apple was inscribed “for the fairest one.” Three goddesses fought over who should deserve the prize apple, and Zeus decided for a mortal, Paris, to make the call. The story then proceeds with Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena all tempting Paris and revealing sexual parts in order to persuade his decision.

In Latin, a nice pun exists between apple and evil – both words are listed as malum! This Latin root word serves as the basis for such words as “malady,” “malignant” and “malfunction.” According to legend, the apple that Adam ate following Eve’s persuasive dialogue got stuck in his throat. For this reason, we now have an “Adam’s apple!” It is quite interesting though that an apple became the tainted fruit. I mean after all, it was fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to make garments following their sinful act. Therefore, would not a fig be the most logical speculative fruit?

At any rate, my daughter is now six years old. I have noticed the hint of rebellion in her. If I ask her to eat any of the M&M’s except for the blue ones, because they’re my favorite, guess which ones she begs for permission to eat? In St. Augustine’s timeless book “Confessions,” he tells of the famous “pear-picking” story. He would steal pears from his neighbor’s yard, not because he was hungry, but only for the thrill of stealing pears. Upon deeper reflection, St. Augustine states that he does not even like pears and did not even want them at that time! Judges in chapter 14 in the Bible tells of a great story regarding forbidden sweets – it’s about Samson.

Now, Samson was a Nazarite. This is not to be confused with a Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth like Jesus Christ (who was sometimes referred to as “the Nazarene”). A Nazarite was someone who took the Nazaritic vow found in Numbers chapter 6, which meant they would abstain from the following: drinking wine or any similar drink, cutting their hair, coming into contact with anything dead. Many people remember Samson’s incident with Delilah and declare this his downfall; however, Samson actually backslid on his Nazaritic oath long before Delilah.

In Judges 14, we see Samson secretly killing a lion in verse 6, but being careful not to tell his mother and father what he had done later. I wonder why? Well, the Bible stresses that Samson had “nothing in his hand” and that it was the overwhelming “spirit of the Lord” that came over Samson to give him this kind of strength. Afterward, in verse 8, when he is going back to get his fiancé, he sees the carcass of the lion laying there with a swarm of bees surrounding some honey. Then the rest is told in 14:9: “He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.” (NIV) Whoa! Wait a minute! So, Samson literally killed something, and then after he had caused the death, he actually went back and willfully, voluntarily reached into the dead carcass of it just because a sweet morsel caught his eye!?!  Here is the crux of the story.

God had given Samson super-human powers that he would not have otherwise had in order to slay something that was upon him and meant him harm. The Bible compares Satan to a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) How many times have we had some hidden sin, or some consuming lust or sick behavior that we could not shake, but by the grace and mercy of the Lord, he allows us to conquer it bare-handedly? But, then what do we do next? We reenact what Samson did; we go back to that which God has helped us to slay, and we reach back into that dead carcass to stir it up again! Let a dead dog stay dead! Why did Samson do this? And, why do we do this all the time? We often rekindle an old sin because something sweet or tasty has brought our attention back to it.

Samson notices the sweet honeycomb with the buzzing bees surrounding it laying there in the dead carcass. Therefore, this causes his lust to overtake him, committing him to do an act that he knew was against God’s will. Often, we follow suit. Perhaps your sin is a pornographic site and you just couldn’t get away from it despite many attempts. God finally allows you the strength to conquer and slay your situation, but then you start wondering if any new material has been uploaded since your last visit. So, you re-visit it just out of curiosity. Do you know what the Bible says happens when we stir up old conquered sins? It’s pretty scary: read Luke 11:24-26.

Something interesting is revealed in this story too. Notice that Samson cannot just eat the fruit himself. He has to offer it to someone else. We don’t like to feel alone when we do things we know are wrong, do we? That’s why there are porn communities on the internet. So that we can justify our lusts of the flesh and feel that it’s alright – we are not alone. We like to have a sort of camaraderie for comfort when we do our deeds. Hence, Eve tempts Adam after biting the fruit, and St. Augustine went with friends to steal pears. Likewise, Samson offers the honey to his parents as well and does not tell them anything of where it came from. Sound eerily familiar? What we see here is a cycle. The duped become the dupers; the sick become the viruses themselves. For whatever reason, we do not like to suffer alone.

In conclusion, I would like to say this: whenever we pray to God to give us the strength to conquer some habit, sin, deeply rooted lust, etc., and he actually does what we pray for…let’s be careful not to go back and stir it up again later – no matter how sweet the forbidden fruit may seem. Remember: “Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams.”

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