“Eve traded me for physical delight. Gave up communion for her appetite.” -God
If you can imagine it, every day in the garden before “the fall” was a day of fellowship between God and man. There was no striving for Him. There was no struggle with the enemy to get to Him. Every day, the Lord came and walked in the garden with His creation. He talked with them, shared His thoughts with them. It was continuous worship between their spirits and His Spirit. He was exalted among them, and they were pure before Him. Completely vulnerable and yet unaware of shame and embarrassment. They were free to be who they were because they were holy and accepted by The Father.
Then came the trial, in which Eve was tempted. She looked upon something sweet and appealing to the eyes and she indulged her flesh. The twisted logic pulled her in to disobedience, and at that moment, a chasm opened up between man and God. A chasm in which few men would cross over the next hundreds of years as the world waited in agony for the Messiah. Only he could bridge the great divide between us and God.
That first line was spoken to me last night as I was listening for the Lord’s voice. Notice that God did not get specific about her “physical delights” or her “appetite.” Therefore, we can fill in the blank and see ourselves in it as well. For instance, I quickly discerned for myself that my appetite for sleep often robs me of precious time with God that I so desperately need. I love sleep. I love the warm feel of the blankets wrapped around me, and even if I can’t sleep, I will lay snuggled for hours versus getting up and doing something worthwhile with my time. It’s pure physical delight. Laziness. But, you could also insert other types of “appetites” here, such as gluttony or sex or addictions of any kind. To the one who lusts, it is all pure physical delight. A way of serving to the body what the body craves. But I have come to know that when the flesh is exalted, the spirit is subordinate. Our spirit-man is diminished when we cater to our flesh, and it is in those times that our communion with God is interrupted. Why is that?
Eve’s temptation was one of physical delight. The serpent tested her by boasting of her and questioning God’s understanding. Ultimately, it was a sin of pride, in which Eve wondered if perhaps God was holding out on her. Was He simply depriving her of something she was entitled to? Was He being cruel or lording himself over her? She must have thought she knew something of God in that moment, to have taken His warnings so lightly. “If you eat it, you will surely die.” That’s grave. She knew it. But the serpent was cunning, and he twisted her mind around in such a way that nothing made sense and all she knew was her desire. Afterward, she and Adam knew shame to such a degree that they ran and hid. The chasm was not by God’s design, but by their own. They could no longer stand in the presence of holiness because of their shame.
This is a portrayal of sin. Any sin, no matter what it is, will bring about this result. A chasm of our own selfish design. This was and is not God’s will. It is ours. Our wills bring us in direct conflict with the will of God. Our pride causes us to wonder if perhaps God got it all wrong. How can He tell us no when He made us like this, right? That’s pride. God gave us a free will so that we could freely choose to love Him. Would our love mean anything to Him if He was the one directing it toward Himself? Do you like it when people do things for you out of mere obligation versus out of their own free will? I don’t. It hurts to know that the goodwill of others is nothing more than their guilty conscience spurring them to action, or their pity. What I can’t resist is the one who does things simply out of love. Not because I deserve it or because they feel an obligation, but because they love me. It’s a huge risk, this love, because giving us a free will meant not being able to steer us in any one direction. Instead, God watched and waited, and then cried as creation took the same route a third of the angels took: they walked the path of pride straight to hell.
Thankfully, He bridged the gap for us. A second chance to walk with Him in fellowship, through the sacrifice of Christ. In order to cross this bridge from sin into grace, we have to first acknowledge what side of the chasm we are on. If we are far from God, we are living in sin. If God is distant, it’s because we have not crossed the bridge. How do we cross it? First, we have to swallow our pride and admit that God knows best. We have to deny our flesh those things that tear us away from the Father’s heart. We have to say no to lust of any kind because we cannot walk in fellowship with God in the flesh. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and the true worshippers will worship him in spirit and in truth. So flesh must become less, and that only happens when we deny our flesh. We have to kill our flesh to desire God. Otherwise we will war with it, and in our own strength, we will always lose.
So to begin, we must admit that we have sinned. This is why sin is preached from the pulpit. I’m so sorry it isn’t always preached with an attitude of grace. Men can be cruel in their own justifications sometimes. But beloved, sin is sin, and to sin is to remain separate from God. Be done with that sin and begin walking on the path that takes us from glory to glory. Do not allow Satan to warp your mind so that you believe the lie that you know something of life that God does not.
After admitting sin, we must then accept grace. We must believe that a man named Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, died in our place and received our punishment. He ransomed us back to the Father’s heart. Run to Him! Accept grace and allow your soul to live. This love is worth whatever you give up. Nothing compares to it. Who else in all of creation would willing give their life for you? Would take on your shame so that you can walk blameless? Would trade His life for yours? This is love. And it’s waiting for you.