Yikes! What’s going on here? Ok, I get the political thing. I understand the posturing. I’ve even lowered my expectations on what to expect from our political leaders. I now only have little hope that we can again raise our heads and find a national purpose with integrity. But, what is really going on in the big picture? Why the total hatefulness, the discouragement? Who’s peaceful?
Well, here’s my guess as to where we’re at. There’s a separation going on, one huge, big, colossal rejection here. It’s the fruit of 40 years of trying to shake God. We’ve outlawed Him, disparaged His Name and His Character. We’ve tried ridicule, suspension, attack, rumor, name calling, everything you can think of to paint a picture of God in such a way as to create doubt in the Christian community and create rejection by the world. Now, all that independency from God is ‘coming home to roost’ and creating a world of aloneness.
Just as with Adam and Eve, we’ve arrived at their same conclusion; we’ve doubted the Love of God, the Passion of God for us. That doubt has successfully separated us from that very Love, that very Life. In becoming dependent upon ourselves rather than on Him to take care of us, we’ve died from His Life. It’s pretty tricky really. The separation can take a couple different paths to accomplish its goal of independence from God. One is just simply Evil. That separation is justified in a hatred of God. It ‘unbelieves’ and is in real opposition; it not only hates dependency upon God, it demands that others join their opposition to Him. Anything attributable to the Love of God spontaneously starts the fires of anger and the battle to eliminate the very possibility of God. ‘God is dead!’ is the battle cry. Loving the darkness is its heart. This Evil is simply anti-Spirit, Anti-Christ. It does not hide its opposition or its hatred; it’s an obvious pulling away from all things ‘God’ and loves doing so.
Another kind of separation is actually not sinister and can be simple and motivated from a good place and well intended. Many times it takes place by not directly opposing the Father, but actually it can raise Him up, can declare Him. It does have a weakness in its religious fervor. It does not destroy the Christian Life but inhibits it. It can proclaim the reality of God but deny the dependency, relationship, or fellowship with the Love of God. In all its bravado, it falls off into self-righteousness and elitism. It’s motivated correctly and purposefully, but forgets to include the Love of God in its environment. While the other separation is obvious and hateful, this separation can be subtle. It was a small lie, actually a suggestion, which led Adam and Eve away from the Joy and Peace of their lives into self dependency and fear; they developed a suspicion of God’s Goodness, His Love and total Devotion to them. Adam and Eve knew God, walked and talked with God, but they began to suppose that God did not really include them in the intimacy of His Life. That suspicion flushed them into an image and a life of fear, doubt and self-centeredness. It was not their ‘un-believeness’ that separated them, it was their misinterpretation of the Heart and the Nature of God.
They forgot that God did not Love as an action, but Loved as a Nature. In the garden He included them, cared and provided for them, lavished His Life toward them. They forgot that they were created in the Image of God and began a process of making God in their human image. They ran and hid because of their fear of an angry God, hid themselves from what they presumed would be a God of retaliation. They simply separated themselves from Him in their mind, assuming something was true about God that was not true at all about God: that He was angry with them, just fed up with them, God looking for revenge.
That was not the reaction of God at all. Asking Adam ‘where are you’ was not God looking behind every tree and leaf to find them, it was God asking them, Adam where is your head, where’s your heart in this hiding. In other words, ‘Adam stop! Think about how you perceive Me’. Adam and Eve did not physically die that day but they died to being alive in the relationship and fellowship of God. They cut themselves off from the Vine of Life and Source of their Joy and Peace. Their lives continued but their hearts perished. They had forgotten that from the foundation of the world God Loved them; had forgotten that the Father, Son and Spirit of God provided a sacrificial Lamb for them before the Fall. In forgetting what they knew about God they separated themselves from God’s very Life. That separation was self-imposed; it was them doing something to themselves rather than God doing anything to them. They believed ‘against God’ and suffered the consequences for that ‘misguided belief.’ We need to be careful of doing that again today as we play in the playgrounds of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.
James’s scriptures taught us that a double-minded person should expect nothing. Double-mindedness is best translated ‘double-souled’, believing two different pictures of God: one is imaged as Father and the other to be shunned as Judge. Given that picture, we’re simply left to wonder what’s going to happen next, what mood He’s in today! If we trust completely in Him, if we know He is Love, we should experience the Fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of knowing the Spirit, rather than fruit of fear and doubt. Paul says in Colossians 1:21 that we are alienated (estranged) in our minds. That our problems stem from the thinking we’ve done about God, humanizing Him in our human image rather than an image of God characterized by Corinthians chapter 13. We’ve bathed our minds in the same image as Adam and Eve. Rather than knowing an image of a caring Father seeking them out, providing a Remedy, we assumed an image of revenge. We forget He is a God of Mercy not misery. Paul teaches that now, He has reconciled us through His death, to present you Holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.
Paul was the most informed, he understood the most, about the Christian Life, and he still found struggle and rejection. Paul’s Faith, his relationship with God, did not isolate him from trouble. Knowing God’s heart is the healing balm to all our struggles. Knowing God’s heart brings the Comfort and the Peace of God to calm our souls and refresh our bodies. In our effort to explain God I think we sometimes try to use the Flesh to describe the Spiritual. Paul thought such was foolish. Looking at what is going on in the realm of the body or soul will not make a good yardstick for what is going on spiritually. ‘Yikes, what is going on here?’ is not answered by looking around us. The Kingdom of God is not meat or drink but Righteousness, and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit. Relationship with God yields that Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance… Those are the evidences of His presence, His Kingdom. They were exactly the world of Adam and Eve before they separated themselves from Him by thinking He was any other God than the One that walked and talked and provided for them. One little lie about the Nature and Character of God destroyed the Source of their Life. I believe that’s why Jesus asked Peter, ‘Who do you say I am?’ The answer to that can make a big difference in what to expect about God in our lives.