Monday, August 12, 2013

From Eden to Negativity and Back

Several of my recent posts have been about Christians living in negativity.  It’s a problem that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.  And, like Adam and Eve, it can drag others along.  They actually walked in the garden of Eden with God, getting to know Him, learning from Him.  They were with the most perfect being in existence, in the most perfect environment one could find on earth.  Yet they succumbed to Satan’s, “hath God said …?”.  We could easily point fingers at them for their choices, or we could blame ourselves for living in the results of those choices, or down ourselves for our own choices.  But what good is all that if we don’t recognize the problem and work toward the solution?

Our parallel is that period of walks in the garden with God.  Adam and Eve had opportunities to learn about God and to discover Him as a person.  And the fact that God made both available speaks volumes.  We can’t get by with just an emotional attachment that can waver with any change in emotion.  At the same time, intellectual knowledge about God without personal experience results in academics without relationship.

Fast forward to present day Christianity and we see an interesting spectrum of people claiming Christianity as their faith.  Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” will apply to some of those.  Sunday Christians, those who place their emotional feeling or their wants ahead of actually having a relationship, those who value intellectual knowledge of God ahead of having a real relationship.  All of those place something ahead of God.  And that’s just where the problem begins.

Back in Eden, Adam and Eve probably weren’t fully paying attention, either to God, their best buddy, or the things He was teaching them.  The serpent dude from down the block was able to insert doubt and mistrust of God into Eve’s thinking, who then undermined God to Adam.  The same kind of thing happens to modern day Christians when we fall into the same kind of traps we just mentioned.  Which will also lead to complaining about people and circumstances because we don’t trust God for every detail of our lives.  And yet we will believe that’s still being close to God.  What a false sense of reality that would be!

I intentionally used one of  the Ten Commandments because they and the problem point directly at how to solve it.  The kind of thinking we’ve been talking about took a simple ten commandments and expanded them to over six hundred, with little room for love and forgiveness.  In contrast, Jesus told us that, as simple as those ten are, they really boiled down to two – love God, then love others.  But that’s not possible without a complete relationship with God.  Which is where it all gets to be fun.

Most Christians will say that God is love whether we fully believe it or fully connect with that thought.  Because it’s true.  And that love gives us the path to full spiritual reality.  Follow my train of thought on this one.  God loves us.  His love allowed Him to forgive us before we ever transgressed.  That forgiveness created a way of salvation.  Which is our example.  God didn’t give us a labyrinth of 600+ laws to navigate, He gave us ten commandments.  And He even narrowed those ten to two.  Ease and simplicity.  But we’ll never get to the point of living in that without being an active part of the solution.  That leads to a bunch of things.

First, if we were dating, we’d want more than once a week contact and we’d be upset if the other party only wanted once a week contact.  Why would we think that once a week or less is OK for God when it’s not enough between humans?  That means the idea of Sunday morning Christianity is out.  We need to pray and open our Bibles more often than just when we need something, too. 

Second, if we had a crush on someone, we’d want to find out as much as possible about them.  We’d ask questions of people who were around them, we’d read anything that might tell us more about them, and we’d ask them questions if we could.  Isn’t being the Creator of the universe and our protector sufficient to get us that interested in God?  Especially when He makes it easy?  In most good churches, there are more times to hear about God and His Word than Sunday mornings.  There are Bible studies, maybe Bible college, study books, etc.

God chose two of the most precise languages for His Word.  Admittedly, translation into English loses some of that precision.  It takes some interest on our part to discover things like the difference between agape and phileo, when we see the English word “love”.

Third, we’d be upset if someone was interested in us only when we could do something for them.  Why would we expect God to find that OK?  Do we increase church attendance, time of prayer, how much we spend in the Bible only when we have a need?  We’d be insulted if someone did that to us.  We need to increase those things, but because we are invested in our relationship, not only because we want something.

The flip side  of that is also true.  When we love and trust someone and know the feelings are reciprocated, we’re unafraid to ask them for anything.  Yet, because of our mutual relationship, we can accept whatever the response is, because we trust how much they care.  But we’re afraid to go to God with the smallest detail if it’s important to us?  And we’re certain God ignored us or didn’t answer if the answer we get isn’t the one we asked for?

There’s an interesting side note, too.  When someone has our heart all aflutter or has done something amazing for us, we can’t stop telling people about them.  Even if they don’t want to hear it anymore.  But we’re afraid of invading someone’s privacy by telling them about God, even when they don’t complain?

Fixing all of that takes our relationship with God to new levels.  We love and trust Him more than we ever thought possible.  That love and trust kicks our fear, anxiety, and upset out the door.  On top of that, if we love and trust God and see that being returned, we will become a conduit for that toward others.  We get to pass along to others what we get from God.  We love God, then we love others.

If we recognize the mutual love and trust between ourselves and God, we’re no longer living in the negative attitudes about life.  We know that God will only give us what’s best for us.  And, when we live in that, we aren’t living in negativity about what others are doing.  Instead we’re busy seeking ways to let God’s love help them change wrong behavior and attitudes.

We waste so much time and effort avoiding the things that can remove all the misery we think we have.  It only takes getting to know God better to always have a ready smile, no matter what the circumstances.  How’s your relationship with Him?

No comments:

Post a Comment