Genesis 3:11 – “And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” As many times as I have read this verse, I never reflected on the question that God is asking Adam & Eve. Something that appears to be just a simple question has so much meaning to it that I did not realize. In looking at the narrative, creation has taken place and Adam and Eve are given specific instructions on how to take care of what He created. Let’s stop there. How often do you read your instructions, i.e., the Bible? Is it just what you do on Sunday because it’s the “thing” to do? How would your situation have turned out, had you referred to your Bible first? If you had prayed first? What path would you have taken if you had put God first? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make any more decisions without seeking Him first. Taking a closer look at this situation, I am realizing that if God had given Adam & Eve specific instructions on what to do, could that possibly mean that God had already equipped them with what they needed to adhere to the situation? The Bible does not mention if there was dialogue between the two, if Adam or Eve asked questions or if they fully understood the instructions. God simply said in Genesis 2:16-17: “The Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.’ Plain and simple. Right? Isn’t it interesting how every time you try to live right, to say the right things, to do the right things, to focus on positive things and try to let go of negativity, there is usually something or someone hovering….waiting….watching….ready to destroy everything you are trying to work so hard to do. You are just trying to get through the day and…someone cuts you off while driving to work…your checking account is overdrawn….someone needs to borrow money and they didn’t pay you back from the last time you loaned them money…the doctor gives you bad news….your children are going through something…it’s always something. Adam and Eve were not exempt from this either. God had given them instructions, specific instructions, and before you know it, here comes the serpent. The serpent had nothing else to do that day but play games with Adam & Eve. And because they did not have their guard up, (for us, that means not reading our Bible enough, or praying enough, not seeking God enough), he was able to convince them that basically, God had no idea what He was talking about. And they listened to him! Who did you listen to that you wish you had not? I’ll be transparent here. I listened to a man who told me he loved me and left me to raise a child on my own. I listened to someone who told me I could not raise a child on my own. I listened to people who did not have my best interest at heart. I listened to so-called friends who supported my choice in being in unhealthy relationships instead of trying to help me stay out of them. I listened to the silence of my father who never spoke into me and never affirmed me. I listened to the negativity. Genesis 3: 4-5 states: “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ It was all a trick. It was all a game. And they, nor myself, saw what was coming! My pastor always says that sometimes, satan does not always present himself wearing red and holding a pitchfork. Sometimes satan can come in the form of the man or woman of your dreams. He can appear in your finances, your marriage, your children, your co-workers, your manager, and if you’re not careful, you too can be bamboozled, hoodwinked and tricked if you don’t recognize the signs. You see, I believe that evil, demonic spirits exist and they can appear in the very ones that are the closest to us. Adam & Eve did not recognize the signs, and thus, they ate from the forbidden tree and realized that they were naked. Let’s not forget that Adam and Eve were perfect just the way they were. Just the way God made them. There was nothing they needed to change. Even in their nakedness. God made me just the way He wanted me to be and I didn’t see it because of the negativity that I allowed to come into my life. I let other people use me, abuse me, and make me believe that I was something I was not. To you I ask, who told you that you were naked? Like Adam & Eve, you were already equipped with what you needed to survive. You were already walking the path that you needed to, so what stopped you? Who told you that you wouldn't survive the divorce? Who told you that you could not raise your children as a single parent AND get your college degree? Who told you that you could not lose the weight and get healthy? Who told you that you could not beat the cancer? Who told you that you could not be debt free? Who in the world had the authority to speak negativity over something in your life that God had already put in your Spirit as something positive? Start listening to the right voices and pray that God closes those doors that don’t’t need to be open. You have the power to change your atmosphere because God has already equipped you with what you need. He has a plan for your life and it is up to you to find out what that is. Who told you that you were naked? But the better question is….why did you listen? Forever Hoping for You, Y.