Of Fruit, Vision, and Other Such Things

Another one of those “stop and think about this” moments interrupted the minister’s sermon for me.  I’ve always known the devil told a lie about not dying.  The one Eve believed, though I could not understand how.  As I stopped and thought, I realized there was much more to it.

Before going further, two things must be established.  God is Truth and the Spirit of Truth.  In Him is no lie.  He speaks only what is True.  (John 14:6, 17, 15:26, 16:13, Numbers 23:19, etc.)  On the other hand, the devil (serpent) is a liar and the father of lies.  Lying is the only language he can speak. (John 8:44)  Since he cannot tell the truth, he twists it as much as needed to make it sound believable, so as to deceive those who will listen to and serve him.

Genesis 3:4-5 NIV   “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.”

fruitThese verses contain not one lie, but four – all concerning the consequences of eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Eve believed all four.  How many of the four lies have I believed because I failed to consider who spoke?

  • He told Eve she would not surely die . . . but he lied.  She died immediately in her spirit.
  • He said her eyes would be opened . . . but he lied.  Instead, she instantly lost her vision and became spiritually blind. What she saw when her eyes were opened was her sinfulness (v.7).  She could no longer see God, being consigned to hearing Him only (v.8, 10).
  • He told her she would be like God . . . but he lied. Because Eve was created from Adam, who was created in the image of God, she was already like God.  When she ate of the fruit, she actually took on the sin nature and became unlike Him.
  • He told her she would be like God, knowing good and evil . . . but he lied again. Eve had intimately known perfect Goodness before.  God knows evil only from afar, not as a part of His nature.  After eating, Eve knew within herself a sin-corrupted counterfeit of good.  She had tasted and received evil and its effects.   In reality, she now knew only anti-Good, anti-God, anti-Christ.

Exif JPEGIn response to this insight, I have compiled four of my own corresponding statements of Truth.

  • I started out this life dead because of Adam and Eve.  Only because of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for my sin and rising again in righteousness have I received eternal life.  I had to be born again.
  • I was blind because I descended from Adam and Eve, who passed their chosen blindness along to me.  What I see with my natural eyes and mind is counterfeit, twisted, and perverted, for it comes from the liar and father of lies.  When I ate of the Tree of Life, receiving Jesus Christ, I lost that blinded sin nature and received His sight.
  • Only in Christ Jesus am I like God, not by any self-effort to be like Him.
  • God is all Good.  What I see with natural eyes that seems good doesn’t even begin to compare to His Goodness.  Only in Christ Jesus, and with His eyes, do I see true Goodness.  Only in and through Him will Goodness be made known to others through me.

 

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Do I Trust You?

There is an old Twila Paris song that comes back to mind at key points in life – you know, those times when you seem to be in a major time of shaking concerning everything that you’ve known or of which you’ve been a part.  It’s times when you can’t see what’s ahead, and it appears there is nothing underneath your feet anymore, for that matter, when you are trying desperately to hold onto the things that seem to be slipping from your grasp.  It’s in times like those I begin to hear the words of Twila’s song, Do I Trust You, Lord?

Sometimes my little heart can’t understand
What’s in Your will, what’s in Your plan.
So many times I’m tempted to ask You why,
But I can never forget it for long.
Lord, what You do could not be wrong.
So I believe You, even when I must cry.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the river flow?
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the north wind blow?
You can see my heart,
You can read my mind,
And You’ve got to know
I would rather die
Than to lose my faith
In the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Do I trust You?

For Twila to have written this song, I believe she must have been experiencing a time of shaking in which she was forced to consider these very questions – and wait for the answer – before she could move on.  As she continues to probe more deeply into her heart, the foundational question becomes so clear, as it must to each of us.

I know the answers, I’ve given them all.
But suddenly now, I feel so small.
Shaken down to the cavity in my soul.
I know the doctrine and theology,
But right now they don’t mean much to me.
This time there’s only one thing I’ve got to know.

Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the robin sing?
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does it rain in spring?
You can see my heart,
You can read my mind,
And You’ve got to know
I would rather die
Than to lose my faith
In the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Do I trust You?

At this point, the music and the lyrics build in intensity, as the spirit man is rising up within her to make the declaration setting her on course once again, able to press on no matter the shaking, the losing of what has been familiar and comfortable, or the great things in which she has put her trust.

I will trust You, Lord, when I don’t know why.
I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die.
I will trust You, Lord, when I’m blind with pain!
You were God before, and You’ll never change.
I will trust You.
I will trust You.
I will trust You, Lord.
I will trust You.

There have been times in my own life when I couldn’t honestly sing the final refrain, when I really wasn’t sure.  It was in those times Holy Spirit ministered His comfort and assurance, along with the peace of Jesus Christ, until I could begin – with only whispers – to sing those last words. Though they were barely audible when I began, as I continued, the light of His Truth once again overcame the darkness that had tried to overcome me.

John 1:5 AMP And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV  5 Trust in the Lord  with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Even after the breakthrough I continued to face what, to me, were overwhelming circumstances and situations.  But God!  The Greater One reminded me that I can trust Him absolutely and completely, even when I don’t understand, and that He will guide my paths (meaning, He will not leave me alone to figure it out).  Surely, there is no place of more security and comfort than the place of trusting my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Glory to His name!

1 John 4:4 NIV  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Love Never Fails

As I listened to a human message about agape love, that unconditional and perfect love of God, the Lord added His message to my heart.  The preacher encouraged us to love with agape love those people who are not yet saved, are not in right relationship with the Lord, or are even out of relationship with us.  If we live this love, we were promised, they will have to come around sometime, even if it’s in the distant future, because love never fails1.

I moved from there with Holy Spirit while He took me down a different path from the one on which I had just traveled.  Love never fails is the Word of God, so it is Truth2.  Not only is the Greek word for love in this reference agape, but in another reference, God is love3, the Greek word used is also agape.  God, Himself, is the agape love that never fails.  He doesn’t just have it, and He doesn’t just love with it.  He is this very love!

I then thought of many people who have never turned their lives around, as far as we know, nor have they been restored to family, despite friends and family members praying faithfully and loving them as best they could.  Did love fail?  Agape love never fails.  How, then, do we reconcile our experiences that appear contrary to the Truth of the Bible?

Since God is this agape love, He loves every person perfectly, regardless of their deeds or words.  He never messes up by saying or doing the wrong thing that moves them farther away, nor is He impatient with slow, or seemingly non-existent, progress.  Yet, even in His perfect love, people all over the world are not restored to family and friends, or end up in hell by refusing to repent and receive His love.  Has agape failed?  Has God failed?  Absolutely not!  Love will never fail!  What have failed are our man-made, man-determined, expectations.  If God loving perfectly (and patiently) doesn’t always bring about His desired change in others, our imperfect (and often impatient) efforts at living agape love for others certainly won’t.  How can we make sense of it all?

We need to understand the expectations we have had in these socalled failed cases.  We expected if we showed God’s love, we would get our will for someone else because we know it’s God’s will, too.  What we have failed to grasp is that, in His unlimited wisdom, plan, and perfect agape love, God created each of us with a free will, and He does not override those wills – ever –  even when those wills end up leading to eternal death in hell, forever separated from Him and His love.  Even in that outcome, love hasn’t failed.  Agape made the way for that person (and every other) to be reconciled to God’s love for all eternity, through Jesus Christ.  With His blood, Jesus paid the price so we could know this amazing love, even for those who would never accept it.  No, that love never fails.  It never has and it never will.

Where does this leave us, with regards to the wandering ones?  Since God so loves them, even as He so loves us, we continue allowing His love to grow in us and show through us so that all around us are exposed to His wonderful, perfect love.  The difference now is that we have removed our limiting human expectations about the outcome, for love never fails!

1 1 Corinthians 13:8

2 John 17:17

3 1 John 4:8 & 16