Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Prov. 3:5
Eve’s vulnerability was that she didn’t trust God. Satan’s downfall was a determination to be God, an impossibility, yet a fatal goal he was determined to pull others into. He easily convinced Eve and then Adam that they should trust only themselves, look out for themselves first and that they would be their most reliable own advocates. He was wrong, of course, because he failed to point out the handicap of not being omniscient, omnipotent not to mention selfless as a feature of genuine love and pure goodness. He failed to point out that strength was greater in one who resists temptation and impulse than one who is ruled by them. He failed to point out that the Kingdom of God never spoils, fades or perishes whereas all created things will inevitably do so apart from the sustaining dependence upon the creator. But Eve didn’t ask. She was too ready to be her own author, sustainer and Lord.
How dependent am I, really, on God?
How much is my inner turmoil a result of my own lack of understanding, that I am newly stumped by unforeseen realities, disoriented by circumstances and individuals foreign to my experience and paradigms? Why do I so easily marry my understanding with God’s power, design, authority and even His ability to handle what I cannot? How is it that I trust His control more when I feel in control than when everything around me feels out of control? When my surroundings or the people around me feel unstable, I assume God’s goodness, provision, dominion and control are equally unstable. Is God really more solidly on His throne when the world I can see is safely under my control and running according to my comforts and preferences, my rules and understanding?
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Dan. 7:13-14
Like Chicken Little, an acorn hits me on the head and I assume the sky is falling. Like most Americans immediately after 9/11, trauma touches my life and I am certain the world’s end is upon me, never mind what we experienced that day characterizes daily life for many children and citizens in the Middle East and parts of Africa and long before it happened to us. God is not surprised by the capacity of humanity for wickedness, for destruction, and for darkness because He has always known that apart from Him who is the source of life, there is no goodness, love or life. It is I who refuse to believe that and then find myself utterly disoriented when I encounter proof that I actually need a Redeemer, that the world is actually as broken beyond its own ability to repair as God has been graciously communicating since the Garden, and that through the person and work of Jesus the overwhelming need has been met.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
My adulterous heart is far too prone to wander, to leave the God I love. I, just like Eve, am way too easily gripped by Gospel amnesia, forgetting that God is good, in control, kind, generous, patient, forbearing, persevering, compassionate, merciful, consistent, sovereign over all things and in all things, working for His good purposes which will be completed in His perfect time. Until I am convinced that apart from Him I can do nothing, I need for Him to keep me in this Eve Rehab program, pushing against my addiction to self-reliance.
I am too full of my self and my honor. I am too full of myself and my superiority over others. I am too full of myself and my own understanding. I rely on my omniscience, which is not. I rely on my power, which is feeble. I rely on my ability, which is crippled. I rely too much on the wrong god, myself.
Lord, have mercy on me the sinner. Please change my heart permanently, thoroughly, deeply and beautifully that I may love without fear, serve without consideration of cost, stand confidently against your enemy because I am hidden in You and not standing alone in myself. Remind me each morning how unreliable and helpless I am that I might begin to consistently and genuinely cry out to you for help because I know I actually and desperately need it.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:3-13