Saturday, August 28, 2010

Storyline: Eve, Part 1

Now, the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman, “for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We all know the story of Eve. At one time or another, we’ve all cursed her under our breaths, or, maybe, even out loud. After all, most of our problems in life would be eliminated were it not for her rashness and manipulation. Or, would they?

There are some traits in our mother that, I’m fairly certain, are pretty common to the female side of the human race. Actually, they are fairly common to the male-side, as well. Rather than re-tell the story, let’s just examine a few insights I think are pretty critical.

1. God created everything in the garden and declared it all good. As God breathed life into the woman he created, she opened her eyes to paradise. Unfortunately, even in paradise, we can take our eyes off of the good and long for something more. Eve reminds me that I can easily become dissatisfied – not even paradise would prevent this problem.

2. When we start focusing on what we don’t have the longing begins to consume us – and we lose focus on what we do have. Eve, obviously ignored the generosity of God (he promised her enjoyment in any tree in the garden, but she wanted the one she couldn’t have). Eve reminds me that the answer to my dissatisfaction is to learn to develop a heart of gratitude.

3. When she couldn’t get what she wanted, Eve began to carelessly toss God’s words around. God never said she couldn’t touch the tree. By creating new rules regarding the very thing she longed for, Eve got trapped under the heavy weight of legalism. Eve reminds me that having a list of things to “do and not do” will always imprison me. If my heart isn’t thankful and intimately engaged in my God, I’m sabotaging my own spirit. In other words, I’m swapping relationship for nothing more than a man-made religion. Religion is not what God desires from us (Ps 51:16-17).

As I write this, I realize there is so much more to the story of Eve. The whole purpose of this “thought” is to just get you reflecting. Let’s stop here and ask ourselves some very important heart questions:

Have you learned to develop a heart of gratitude to your God for his generosity to you? If not, perhaps you need to start making a list of all his benefits. King David recommends it – Psalm 103:1-2.

Where do you find yourself dissatisfied? Where has your God not been enough? Specifically, what “more” are you looking for?

How do you treat the words of God? Are you careless with them? Have you twisted them? Added to them? Do you truly know them?

Finally, what about relationship vs. religion? Are you investing in your relationship, or is your spirituality nothing more than a religion/creed you live by?

After you’ve evaluated these things, take some time to talk to the Lord. Perhaps, confess how your eyes have become distracted from him. David recommends this, too – read on in Psalm 103, verses 3-14

Friday, August 20, 2010


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...
(Hebrews 12:1-2a)

A story is an amazing tool. Through stories we connect with one another, networking through the heart. We all relate to a good story; and the beauty of a story is that no one can argue with it.  However, your story should not stay hidden with you. It is meant to be told in the safety of true community. Through your story, we get to know who you are...and, together build “koinonia” (healthy fellowship that encourages and spurs us on in our journey).

Experts tell us that there are several elements to creating a good story:
1) Passion – the more passionate we are, the more authentic we are. The more vulnerable, the more we relate.
2) Struggle - A story isn’t worth telling unless there is a hero who is up against something. If there’s nothing at stake, there is no story.
3) “Aha” Moment – this is the moment when a new truth is realized; every great story has a life-lesson.
4) Transformation – as the story ends, something or someone has changed (usually for the better).

When Jesus is a part of our life, there’s always a story to tell. These are the best stories, because they are the ones where the God of the Universe stoops down to make us great (Psalm 18:35). These are the best stories, because they are the building blocks of the Kingdom of God; and that is why we are here – to build a Kingdom for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7).

Scripture is full of good stories. Over the course of the next few weeks, let’s take a look together at some of the women in the Word that we might relate to, hear their struggles, relate to their hearts, and learn from their “aha” moments. Perhaps, we’ll notice, over time, that not only were they transformed, but little by little, God will be transforming us, as well. This then, is my prayer that we begin to see ourselves in process of becoming passionate, sold-out, followers of Jesus Christ.

So, we begin this chapter of sharing our stories together. Each Monday, a new “thought” will be posted – you may receive them through different means, but you are all invited to share “Christ-in-you-the-hope-of-glory” with one another.