As we have done in previous Lent and Advent seasons, we are again blogging our way through the Lenten Lectionary Texts. In this season, our prayer is that we will bless and inspire you in your walk between the Now and Not-Yet of the Kingdom. We pray that our meditations will be life-giving to you in your journey.
A reading from the Book of Genesis.
The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden. He put him there to work its ground and to take care of it.
The Lord God gave the man a command. He said, “You can eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden. But you must not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you do, you can be sure that you will die.”
The serpent was more clever than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We can eat the fruit of the trees that are in the garden. But God did say, ‘You must not eat the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. Do not even touch it. If you do, you will die.'”
“You can be sure that you won’t die,” the serpent said to the woman. “God knows that when you eat the fruit of that tree, you will know things you have never known before. You will be able to tell the difference between good and evil. You will be like God.”
The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good to eat. It was also pleasing to look at. And it would make a person wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. And he ate it.
Then both of them knew things they had never known before. They realized they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made clothes for themselves.
This is the Word of the Lord.
We know this story so well. God says one thing, Satan questions what He said. And we are left to choose sides. Do we go with what we know God said, or with what the enemy wants us to think He said?
Somewhere between the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise lies the enemy. For Adam and Eve, the promise was a life lived in constant community with the Creator. And, even more than that, a life lived co-creating with the Creator.
God’s original intent for His creation was to have someone with whom He could co-create. The first thing He commanded man to do was name the creation–help Him in creation. Co-create with Him.
And, that command still stands. We are invited to co-create with Him. To stand alongside the Creator and dream the dreams worthy of creating.
But, the enemy wants to do anything it can to stop us from living out our call. To cut us off from relationship with the Creator. The enemy longs to stop us from creating with God. He longs to steal from us the promise that God has given us.
One of the principles of community development is to remember that God is already in the place to which we have come to work. He was there long before we arrived. He will be there long after we leave. Yet, for a time, He chooses to ask us to partner with Him to bring His Kingdom to that place. He asks us to stand alongside Him and be his hands and feet.
In this process, we are standing somewhere between a promise and fulfillment of the promise. And the enemy looks for ways to throw us off our game. To move our focus from the relationship that comes from working WITH God and onto some ill-framed requirement to work FOR God. While, I expect the enemy to be most delighted when we just stop working altogether, I think it’s happy when it can convince us that working FOR God is more important than being in relationship WITH God.
When we begin working FOR God instead of WITH God, we lose the key element in this whole thing. We lose the relationship that comes from being with Him. Our work begins to feel like work and not at all like relationship. This isn’t to say that working with God is easy. It isn’t. But, it is the most rewarding thing you can do! Imagine, co-creating! Dreaming big–no, God-sized–dreams, and then seeing them come to fruition.
That’s the life to which each of us are called. To stand alongside the Creator. In relationship—which is the definition of righteousness (to be in right legal and relational standing with God)–with Him. We were created to co-create.
When Jesus came and died and rose again, He did so for the purpose of setting us back on the road to Eden. He did to place us back in relationship with the Creator. So that we could once again stand in the place of co-creating. That we could dream big and work WITH God to bring those dreams into fruition.
He came so that we could help to bring the Kingdom to earth now. Salvation isn’t just about going to heaven SOMEDAY. It’s about living in heaven TODAY. It’s about having a life that is full beyond overflowing (John 10:10). It’s about living our every day lives in a way that we see the Kingdom come in every situation.
Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden. But, that is just the beginning of the story.