When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6
This is the Kiz Kulesi Lighthouse. Kiz Kulesi is Turkish for Maiden’s Tower. It is located on a small islet off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey. The original tower was built during the Byzantine era (1110). It was made of wood and protected by a stone wall. Centuries later, its structure was compromised due to damages caused by an earthquake and then a fire. It has been restored a few times since then and today this 30 feet concrete tower houses a popular high-end café and restaurant.
Legend has it that a prophecy was given to a sultan regarding the imminent death of his daughter on her 18th birthday. The oracle declared that she would die as a result of a venomous snake’s bite. In order to protect her from the prophesied tragedy, he sent her to live in this lighthouse which he built miles away from the mainland where snakes lived. On the day of her birthday, the sultan came to visit his daughter with a bountiful fruit basket. Believing that the prophecy had been broken the daughter reached for a fruit and was fatally bitten by a deadly serpent that had managed its way into the basket. As a result of the sorrow he endured for losing his daughter, the tower was named Kiz Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower).
This legend serves as an analogy for our spiritual life. The lighthouse represents Christ, the Maiden represents us Christians (living in the Light), and the viper in the basket represents sin, which can “hide” itself among the seemingly good (or “not so bad”) things we allow to enter into our hearts.
Living in the light of Christ is being guided by and resting in the assurance of His saving grace. His light illuminates our spiritual walk and keeps us from stumbling during our journey. However, we should never take this light for granted. In other words, we must not let our spiritual defenses down simply because we are living under God’s grace. As children of light, we are not exempt from temptation nor from falling prey to the wiles of the devil, the world, and the flesh (old nature). Nor are we immune from reaping the consequences of sinful choices. That is why we must constantly walk alert and remain vigilant against the unexpected attack of the enemy of our souls; an attack that can eventually cost us more than we are willing to lose in a spiritual battle. We need to be careful with tempting fruits (ideas, desires, passions) that are appealing to the eye, but which can hide venomous snakes (sin) that will strike at the first opportunity and leave us mortally wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
And yes, in Christ we do have the antidote to the bite of sin, but the consequences of being bitten may be irreparable or at least result in a very long recovery time.
Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. For that reason, in order to rightly discern a situation, we need to know and believe in the Word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12
Every believer should earnestly want and seek discernment.
“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” -Hosea 14:9.
In order to foresee and rightly deal with a potential spiritual pitfall, we need to exercise true discernment. It is the only thing that can allow us to rightly differentiate good from evil and best from merely good. In this sense, not only can discernment save us, but it can also reward us with security.
“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” -Proverbs 3:21-24.
Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom to make right and wise choices so should believers seek the wisdom and discernment that comes from God.
“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” -1 Kings 3:9
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” -Philippians 1:9
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” -Hebrews 5:14
“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” -Psalm 119:125.
Without discernment, we end up struggling unnecessarily. Without discernment, we make choices that can hurt ourselves and others. Without discernment, we rush into decisions that we later regret. Without discernment, we reach out for what is seemingly good (or godly) and end up disappointed, discouraged, and defeated. Why take the chances? We must learn to discern or be bitten!
Prayer: Lord, grant me the wisdom to make the right choices in my daily life. Wisdom to properly discern those things that are detrimental to my spiritual as well as my physical well-being. Help to me to stay vigilant against the enemy and his schemes. May I walk in your light so that everything I say, think, and do bring glory and honor to your name. I trust and commit to your Word so that it can keep me from being bitten by the deceitfulness of this world. In the name of your Son, Jesus, Amen.