Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eve and Me

Oh, Moses . . . Did you know, thousands of years ago, that your record of creation and the fall in Genesis was going to blow the socks off of a 2012 girl?  I am certain that Jocelyn Compton never crossed your mind as you memorialized such a beautiful and tragic account of history. That you never imagined that the words God spoke through you would turn my heart upside down. But God knew. God knew, when He breathed Genesis chapter 3 into existence, that I would exist someday. And that He would use those words to do a transforming work in me.

I can't say that I approached my study of Genesis 3 with any great expectation. Eric and I were headed over to Sunriver on Sunday morning. I had to have my entire week's BSF lesson done for Monday night. I just needed answers written on the page.

Then I got started. And God showed up. He met me in the passenger seat of our Jeep, driving over the mountains, listening to Mumford.

He showed me how much I'm like Eve. How much pride has a hold on me, just like it did on her. That I think I know better than God does. How whispers from the serpent can plant a seed of discontent with my circumstances. How Satan appeals to my self-determined "rights" --those circumstances and the life that I think I'm entitled to. As if I deserve anything at all.

Those little things I'm discontent with. There are moments where (gasp!) I find myself thinking that working outside the home sounds a lot better than being home. I mean, I have an advanced degree. I deserve a career and adult conversation, right?

I read every Christian book I could on biblical womanhood and being a "good wife." I followed all the rules. So, I didn't deserve to have difficulties in my marriage.

I tried so hard in that friendship or family relationship. I strived to love and show Jesus. To be kind and inclusive. But, I ended up misunderstood and slandered.

And I find myself listening to the whispers that say: "it's not fair. God is holding out on you. you played by His "rules." you did it His way. and look what it got you."

Like Eve, I focus on what I see as God holding out on me. I focus on the thing I think I deserve. Why life isn't "fair" from my perspective. The things that I want. That things that I think I need.

I forget Who He is. His Goodness. His Love. His Kindness. His Provision. His Atoning Sacrifice. The Eternal Life He gave, that I NEVER deserved. A million blessings that I somehow forget, as I focus on my "rights," just like Eve focused on that one forbidden tree. There she was in the Garden of Eden. With breathtaking beauty, a perfect marriage, abundant food and water, meaningful work, not to mention a perfect, unbroken relationship with her Creator. In the midst of all of that, all Eve could focus on was that darn tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The ONLY tree about which God had said "don't eat from it." (Genesis 2:16-17).

It's frustrating. I want to reach into her story and shake her. Don't you see, Eve??  Don't you see all that God has given you?  Quit looking at the stupid tree!  Change your thoughts. Focus on God. Think about ALL that He has done for you!  Think about all that He has given you!  God is right there. Run to Him, tell Him your struggle, and ask Him to help you to stay away from the tree!

And then, totally appalled, I see ME. I see ME in Eve. And God used Genesis 3 to shake ME up. To say: Don't you see, Jocelyn?  Don't you see all that I have given you?  Quit looking at the things that you don't have and the circumstances that haven't been perfect. Turn your eyes upon Me. Focus on Me. Think about ALL I have done for you!

And even better, God says: "I am right here!" We may not live in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered the world and separated us from God. But, He is still right here because of Jesus. Because Jesus paid the penalty for my sin, I can approach the throne of grace with confidence just like Eve could when she was in the Garden. (Hebrews 4:16)

Because of Jesus, I get to hear God saying: "Run to Me, tell Me your struggle, and ask Me to help you keep your thoughts off of your "rights" and your "discontent! I want to help you keep your focus on Me."

Without Jesus, the temptation to give in to discontent, grumbling, complaining and doubting God's love seems overwhelming to me. It's so easy to believe the lies about what I deserve, what I am entitled to. Satan is good at disguising the lies, since he is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11), and he "disguises himself as 'an angel of light.'"(2 Corinthians 11:14). He takes Truth and twists it. Just enough that it is hard to see the lie. I mean, how am I supposed to stand up against that?

But I am not defenseless. We are not defenseless. Satan is powerless against Jesus and against God's Word. Ephesians 6:11 says "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." God has given us prayer (1 Thess. 5:17). He has given us His Word. He has given us Himself. A Mighty Fortress and a Refuge from the lies.

And He is moving me (again) to choose Him. To run to Him. To respond to His truth instead of the lies. To keep my eyes turned upon Jesus.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Word & Music by Martin Luther, 1529


At The Picket Fence said...

Moses may not have known he was writing his words for Jocelyn Compton but I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit knew you were writing your words for me! :-) I have been there...done that...time and time again. Why, when I've always tried to be a "good girl" making "right" choices do I have things in my life that seem so unfair. Why wasn't I able to have biological children? Why do I struggle with that fractured relationship? But, that's just the point isn't it? Without those things I wouldn't be driven to my knees before my Savior. The fact of the matter is that none of us DESERVE anything. That's why we need Him! We weren't guaranteed anything on this earth except that His grace would be freely extended to us and through our imperfections, our struggles, our failures, our heartache HE would be glorified!
Blessings to you for sharing your heart and ministering to mine! :-)

Anonymous said...

Jocie...once again your words have spoken to my heart. God has given you a very special gift for writing. Thank you so much for sharing!

Janice P