Devotion on Genesis 3
Each year, I work my way through the Scriptures with the help of The Daily Audio Bible. This is probably my fifth time through. They have a great app, from which I can read the daily readings, or, listen to Brian Hardin read them and comment on them; he’s great. Depends on the day which I do, read or listen, but being a part of this community has made all the difference in my ability to get through the whole Bible each year. I’d tried many times before to engage this kind of rhythm and failed. But, there was something about DAB that just clicked for me, and it has been a part of my walk ever since. If you are looking read through the Scriptures each year, I can’t recommend DAB highly enough.
Today is January 2, 2019. Every January 2, the Old Testament reading comes from Genesis 3. And today, like every January 2, I’m confronted with a couple of things:
The Relentless Pursuit Of God
In Genesis 3, we learn that which was intended by God, that which God labeled “very good,” became something less. God gave the first humans everything they needed and could have desired; paradise with unhindered access to God and to each other. God created us with the best in mind, God is for us, God wants to be in relationship with us. That is part of our purpose, to be in relationship with God.
There was only one prohibition, “do not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” for that would ruin everything. The first humans did eat, and things changed. Adam and Eve felt shame for the first time. Their relationships with God changed. The first thing they did was hide in shame. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves.
What did God do? He found them. He explained that they had changed things and life would be different and hard now, but at the same time, he made them better clothes. He pursued them even when they did not feel worthy to be found. For the next 1039 pages of my Bible, God relentlessly pursues his people living in a world that is not what it was supposed to be, seeking to make everything right again, and yes, with our volitional participation.
First, I was drawn to Adam’s lack of “stepping up when it mattered.” Adam knew the prohibition. Yet, he was standing right there watching his wife struggle. He said nothing, he only watched. Not only did he watch, but he participated; he ate too.
His passivity speaks to my own, and, it makes me very uncomfortable. Part of it is selfishness, wanting to avoid conflict for fear of the disapproval of others. Part of it is pride, being able to point the finger of blame to someone else as the source of a problem; I’m off the hook and my fig leaves just got a little bigger, and I move a little farther away from God, my true self, and others every time I do.
The Impact It Has On Others
Second, is the impact it has on others. Eve suffered in confusion because Adam remained silent. He did not move into the confusion to bring any kind of order, reason, or draw the best out of his wife; he didn’t seem to be “for” her the way God was “for” both of them. It’s kind of like he said, “Whatever you want is fine, and if it works for you, let me know and I might try it too. In the meantime, I’m just going to kick back over here…maybe mow the lawn, check Facebook, or take a nap.” That doesn’t strike me as love. It strikes me as selfishness.
I’m pondering today, how many different ways I shrink back in fear to avoid conflict. How many times I do not speak up for what is right, not with an angry and boisterous spirit, but out of love. I’m struck by how much time I spend hiding behind my fig leaves so that you won’t see how naked I feel, where I’m afraid that I will make no impact, that it’s just easier not to try.
I’m struck how little I step into my relationship with my wife with her best interest at heart, when what she needs, what we all need, is an authentic life-giver…someone that draws the best out of us, someone that sees through the fig leaves and still says, “I love you anyway. I see the real you, the one God made. I’m in relentless pursuit of you.” It is what God does for us, and what we are to do for our spouses, our children, and with all other relationships in which we are engaged.
Lord, thank you for your relentless pursuit. Help me to trust that you have my best interest at heart. Help me to see it and understand it, and even more, to experience it. Lord, I’m burdened by the number of the places I fail to step up, the ways I hide, and where I shrink back to avoid conflict or abdicate my responsibility to call out the best in others, especially my wife, my children, and those closest to me.
Thank you that you see through my fig leaves, that you love me anyway, and that you provide better clothes than I’m apt to make for myself, that you see me for who I really am, my True Self. You have not provided me with a spirit of fear (fig leaves), but of power and love (better clothes). Give me a new wardrobe! Help me to trust you that despite my insecurities (nakedness), I may be whole by your grace (dressed in the reality of the image of God), and that I may participate with you in the relentless pursuit and wholeness of others. Amen.
Where are you shrinking back in fear? Why? How does that affect your relationships? What would happen if you stepped forward in courage? What would change? How would it feel to live from the True Self (image of God), rather than from the False Self (the fig leaves)?
I am an Anglican Priest, an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach (ACC), and Certified Spiritual Director (CSD). My mission is simple: I help people discover who God created them to be…and how to get there.
If you have any questions, including how to begin a Christian Life Coaching or Spiritual Direction relationship with me, please feel free to contact me.