Have you ever been in one of those cars that have the shoulder harness of the safety belt rigged to automatically cross over the passenger when the engine is engaged? However, the lap belt has to be put on by the rider or driver. Otherwise, they are only partially protected. Same with the armor of God. We don't get to pick and choose what parts to wear. We must place it on in its entirety.

"You can take your stand."

This isn't about someone else's stand. This isn't even about God's stand. Through the words of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to take our stand. That shows action on our part, rather than passivity. After all, a relationship is about two or more people being actively engaged with one another. If we lie like doormats - even in the midst of battle - we aren't truly in relationship with our Captain.

"The devil's schemes."

If you go all the way back to the first biblical mention of Satan - the devil - you will find that he is referred to as "crafty." Indeed, he must have been. With a single question and a simple remark he was able to entreat the woman to leave behind the trust she'd, up until that time, had with her Creator. More than that, he was able to change history.

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Excerpted from Genesis 3)

Though he was able to approach the woman in such a way that she was not afraid, his ultimate design was one of violence and death.

Later, when the Lord God approached the man and his wife "in the cool of the day," He asked three questions of the man.

1. "Where are you?"
2. "Who told you that you were naked?"
3. "Did you eat of the tree I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man immediately blames the woman, God, and then (almost as an afterthought) himself.

"The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

So, God turns to the woman.

"What is this you have done?" He asks her.

And, what does the woman do? She "points her finger" at the serpent and says, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

The Loan Shark of the Garden

We all know what a loan shark is. Originally coined as a phrase at the turn of the last century, a loan shark is one who lends money at steep rates of interest, at times to the point of it being impossible to pay the monies borrowed back.

Well, guess what. The serpent - Satan - is the loan shark of the Garden. The word "deceived," used by the woman is, in Hebrew, Nasha. It means: "to lend on interest." What the serpent had tempted her to partake of would yield a great cost.

Man and woman would lose a perfect relationship with their Creator.

Everything that breathed would now experience a physical death.