Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blinded by the Symptoms


One of the most tripped over words being, “obedience, only to be followed by submit,” has in my opinion successfully kept many outwardly responding to God, but a vacancy sign operating at a heart level.
It’s almost a no brainer when asking anyone as to what they think God required from Adam and Eve in the Garden, “obedience.”
I don’t doubt that God wants obedience, but maybe their disobedience was but a symptom of something He cared about far more deeply.

Reading from He Loves me (by Wayne Jacobsen) it says, “One can obey God and yet not trust him. We shall see that all disobedience flows out of mistrust in God’s nature and his intentions toward us. Thus the experience in the Garden wasn’t to demand their obedience but to incubate their trust.”

Relating to God out of love rather than obeying him out of fear is only possible where real trust presents itself, but without having the option of rejecting it, is there any real freedom?

If obedience had been God’s only issue, don’t you think he would have made the whole scenario far clearer? He told them not to eat from that tree or they would die. He didn’t describe that death in detail. He could have told them how it would destroy his creation by bringing sin, disease, and relational brokenness into his world. It would cause them incredible pain, and not just for them but for all their offspring for thousands of years to come. He could have told them that all they needed to do was to eat first of the Tree of Life, so that they would be eternally innocent in his presence.
But he didn’t tell them. If he had they might have been obedient, but not because they trusted him. They would have obeyed only because it served their self-interest. God would merely have become a tool for their own fulfillment. Self would have still been at the center of their choice, and self would prevent them from discovering the full vitality of life in him. No, God didn’t tell them because he wanted something far better.
Neither did he interrupt the serpent to set the truth firmly in mind again. After all, he was there, wasn’t he? Or do you imagine him busy in heaven with his back turned at that critical moment? We know what Adam and Eve could not know then. They recognized him only when he cloaked himself in some physical manifestation and walked the Garden with them. They didn’t know that this God was present everywhere in his creation.
So why didn’t he intervene? Could it be the same reason Jesus didn’t send Peter home instead of letting him follow along to Caiaphas’s courtyard and the betrayal that would devastate him? God sees something redemptive even in letting us fail. He seems less concerned about our mistakes than how we respond to them. Do our mistakes lead us away from trusting in our own strength or wisdom and toward seeking what it means to put our trust in Him? If so, then he finds our failures worth the pain they cause
.”

This is good news, the Father wants to have a relationship with us based solely on trusting Him instead of our self, and this will be done with NO compulsion on his part! We are free to reject his loving offer of life and its abundance.

Rich

4 comments:

Amy said...

Rich,
Great post! These words summed up the heart of your beautiful message (at least how the Holy Spirit breathing through my thoughts showed me):

"God sees something redemptive even in letting us fail. He seems less concerned about our mistakes than how we respond to them. Do our mistakes lead us away from trusting in our own strength or wisdom and toward seeking what it means to put our trust in Him? If so, then he finds our failures worth the pain they cause.”

Amen!

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Joel B. said...

Wonderful stuff! Obedience out of self-interest! That really is the root of a lot of "obedience" in the church today. When the 'rules' are followed, it's to avoid consequences or to save your own butt - not out of a heart of trust. This makes Christianity a religion and not a relationship with the loving, living God.

Indeed I think this really does explain why God doesn't "intervene" in so many of the things we (Christians) do when we're headed in the wrong way, or at least doesn't
react' to each specific "wrong" that we commit. He's not trying to change our outward behavior. I believe instead He's actually working in our lives to grow us in His love and grace.

Rich said...

Amy,

I have been so richly encouraged in seeing His heart for me. How is it possible to love our neighbour apart from first loving the one He is joined to, that being me? :)

Rich said...

Joel,

Yes its much easier to obey Him out of fear rather than relate to Him out trusting Him to produce within me all and anything I will ever need.

I'm so thankful that I can bank on the fact that He has called me into this heart to heart relationship.
How freeing it is becoming to me, to no longer have to pretend, when all I have to do is go to the source my Father and humbly confess my need for Him.