Avoiding Mistakes Is Not the Same as Pursuing God

Why would Eve trade paradise for the knowledge of good and evil? Why do I swap peace and joy to worry over a decision?

Photo by: Lea Dubedout/Unsplash

I recently realized Eve and I share a common problem. We’ve both allowed the desire for knowledge to rob us from the pleasure of trusting God.

Choosing fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil made her miserable. My desire for the knowledge of good, better, and best has stolen my joy. See if you can relate.

I bought a neutral colored jacket I thought would go with everything. But after I brought it home, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear with it. The time to return it ran out before I realized my purchase wasn’t as smart as I’d thought.

“If only I’d thought it through better,” I moaned.

That’s when the Eve analogy struck me. The serpent told Eve that if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would be like God (Gen. 3:5).

  • How many times have I beat myself up because of a decision that didn’t turn out well?
  • Was my “If only I’d known,” an echo of Eve’s obsession with the tree of knowledge?
  • Was I trying to be like God—all-knowing?
  • Is my desire “to know” a way to replace my need for God?

What about you? Have you let decisions you’d like to do over with the knowledge you’ve gained from time and experience steal your peace?

Even though God’s Word and Spirit guide us, we still learn as we go. Even Jesus “grew in knowledge” when He walked the earth. Where did I get the idea errors are catastrophes? I’ve felt worse over a mistake than over sin. I knew God forgives sin, but I felt I had to pay for my mistakes.

Here’s a little grace and help for the next time you wrestle with indecision or over a poor decision.

  1. Before a decision ask God to lead you.
    Sometimes that means first asking Him to help me want His will. I know His will is always good, acceptable, and perfect and leaves no regrets. Mine is often shortsighted and fickle.
    Ironically, I’ve found surrendering my will to be freeing, not confining like you might think. However, wanting God’s best doesn’t mean things will turn out like you imagine. Many biblical saints hit bumps in the road when they were trusting God (John the Baptist, Daniel, and Joseph).
    Recently, I practiced this during a visit to Chicago. A pair of boots captivated me. They were a timeless style, fit like a glove, and gorgeous. It was snowing outside (I needed them). I peeked at the price. Gasp! They cost a small fortune.
    The store offered to hold my size to give me time to decide. A battle between why they made sense and why I was CRAZY to think about them ping-ponged through my mind. The next morning I asked God to guide me, especially in regard to the boots. I opened my Bible and read out loud. “Spare no expense!” (Is. 54:2 NLT).
    Ginny and I laughed out loud. “Mom, you turned there on purpose.”
    I hadn’t, but it assured me I didn’t need to worry. God would lead me.
    When I tried the boots again, they rubbed my heels. I walked away without feeling deprived. I knew my Father wanted only what was best for me.
  1. Before and after a decision, exercise faith through thanksgiving.
    God promises to cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:27 NASB). Since God can’t lie, even when a decision doesn’t turn out as we’d hoped, we thank Him that He will use this for the good of those who love Him.
    We may ask Him how we can participate in that. Maybe my jacket is meant for someone else or for another season. Maybe it’s a reminder He’s bigger than my shortcomings. Faith tells me to quit fretting and start resting in Him.
    Knowing God is more important than knowing how something will work out. Share on X
  1. Lighten up.
    God created us to need Him. Joy comes from leaning on Him, not from making perfect decisions.Since God erases our sins His grace certainly covers our mistakes. Share on XThere were two trees in the center of Eden. Satan diverted Eve away from the tree of life to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn:14:6). Let’s not let a decision or outcome draw us away from Him.

By the way, before we left Chicago a pair of ankle boots grabbed my attention. Cute, comfortable, and affordable!

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#Teaching What Is Good#w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Moments of Hope, #Word of God


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  1. Ann

    AWESOME Debbie!! ” Where did I get the idea errors are catastrophes? I’ve felt worse over a mistake than over sin. I knew God forgives sin, but I felt I had to pay for my mistakes.” WOW! That is a mouthful and speaks volumes to me. I am still working on seeking Him before decisions – slowing down and not trying to rush through things in my own wisdom and strength but I am still a work in progress. I have learned to speak and believe that “He will make even my mistakes to prosper” and so He does!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes!! He does. I still have to remind myself. Thanks, Ann.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    Thinking of my mistakes makes me sad. But, God knows my mistakes and He has forgiven me. Now, I need to move on and not repeat those sinful actions. He has forgiven and forgotten my sins. Praise God! 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Praise God, indeed, Melissa! But too often I’ve let mistakes that came from inexperience or lack fore-knowledge, which only God has, make me miserable. What a relief that God is bigger than our mistakes!

  3. Pam Ecrement

    Love this story that includes the neutral colored jacket. I so often have sought to be practical and made a purchase of something neutral that will “go with everything” only to be truly disappointed because my preference is always toward beautifully rich jewel tone colors. Beyond that great story that made me smile, I loved this grace-filled message from His heart to yours to mine! Thanks so much, my friend!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Pam, you’re right. I have my favorite colors I go to and they are my “neutrals.” 🙂 Always love hearing from you.

  4. Michele Morin

    Whoa, we inherited a lot more than our DNA from Sister Eve! Thanks for this very practical illustration of our tendency to make decisions and to have regrets.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Michele, yes, I’m afraid Eve has spoken to me many times. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Susan M.

    Debbie, this is the clearest, most practical explanation of the two trees I have ever read. I applied the principle yesterday and found JOY was an immediate reward!
    Lord, how can I know you more intimately from this right decision, or wrong decision?! Freedom, Grace, the Way, the Truth, the Life, Peace, JOY. Thank you for sharing your practical experiences. They were so helpfuland relateable!
    The good, better, or best knowledge that we desire was spot on!
    I always thought I was missing something from the garden trees and your teaching was IT!
    I am now excited to begin the day eating from the tree of life and lightening up when I eat the wrong fruit.
    Grace is there either way, what freedom, what JOY!
    (My Daddy is in the final stages of cancer and we are having to make daily decisions, hard decisions. I have found needed joy and freedom, through your teaching for his final push into Heaven!)
    “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” (or Deb-bie!!) Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Susan, I’m smiling. Thank you so much for sharing your a’ha moment. You summed it up beautifully. “Lord, how can I know you more intimately from this right decision, or wrong decision?!” JOY come from resting in Jesus. He’s bigger than our mistakes. Angst and misery from thinking it’s up to us to get it right. I pray the Lord will carry you and your daddy through this time of saying “good bye.” Love to you.

  6. Danielle Davey

    This was timely for me! thank you, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Danielle, so great to hear from you!! How are you?

  7. Lori Schumaker

    Such solid tips, Debbie! Our thirst for knowledge is almost consuming, isn’t it? Our flesh tells us if we know the answers we can maintain control. But the truth is no amount of earthly knowledge will give us control. That is only something God has. Complete control. And when we seek Him and rest in that truth, we can find peace – even when we make mistakes. I loved getting to stop by to visit this week! Time doesn’t allow me to do so enough but I am always encouraged and challenged when I do!
    Blessings and smiles,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Lori, you are a real encourager. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts.

  8. Karen Woodall

    I heard a pastor say years ago that in order to keep Satan from using our mistakes as accusations against us, turn them into Memorials to the grace of God. that is, whenever you think of a mistake or sin, don’t beat yourself up over it, turn it into an opportunity to praise God for his grace, and mercy to forgive and restore you even though you don’t deserve it. Try it! It works! Thanks for your post

    • Debbie Wilson

      Karen, I agree. That is the difference in how the Holy Spirit corrects us and our flesh or the enemy condemns us. The Holy Spirit always exalts Christ. Condemnation puts the focus on us and how bad we are. Thanks so much for contributing to the topic!

  9. Gretchen

    Debbie this was so meaningful for me. As a recovering perfectionist, I could relate to your statement about feeling more upset about a wrong decision than my sin. I hate making mistakes. Gets under my skin. And now i know why! I see how the enemy is tempting me just like Eve in the garden. My effort to be perfect is my sin nature seeking to be more perfect like my God. I am trying to be like Him just like Eve was. Yikes!!! I love instruction more than I hate mistakes so thank you friend for teaching this lesson to me❤️

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Gretchen for amplifying this. You said it so well. I hope I remember the source of my drive to avoid mistakes the next time it tries to manipulate me away from resting in Jesus.

  10. Ruth

    I love your story about the boots! and this quote: “We’ve both allowed the desire for knowledge to rob us from the pleasure of trusting God.” Amen!
    Part of my personality is wanting to analyze everything. I have found myself many times leaning on my own understanding instead of leaning on my Savior. God is having to refine me and is helping me to learn to let go of the need to figure it out. It zaps too much energy and, like you said, the joy God wants me to have.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ruth, Oh the blessing and curse of an analytical mind! I can go right there with you. But like you mentioned, it zaps energy and joy when it keeps me from leaning on Jesus.

      • Ruth

        I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one!
        I’m so glad God is patient with us! Praise God for His amazing grace!

        • Debbie Wilson


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