Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We Are So Far From Home

Just shortly after God created Adam, the scriptures tell us about Eden. It was the garden He planted for his firstborn son of all humanity. It would be his home, a place of shelter, rest, and protection.
As Eldredge points out in his book Wild At Heart, he is placed, not created, in the garden. This is why men long for adventure and to be out in the wild. It is where we come alive and find a lot of the things we long for.
However, the wild is no place to lay your head. It's not the place to drop your guard. God saw this and found it necessary to create for him a home. Eden was made for man. It was the place for him to find refuge and sanctuary.

A friend of mine recently shared with me something he discovered—the garden of Eden was God's original design for a temple or place of worship. It was the one place in the world where God chose to commune with His son. There, God and Adam enjoyed complete openness and freedom as it was meant to be shared between Father and son. In the garden the man would find rest, comfort, food, and fellowship.
Now, imagine the most beautiful natural places on earth. You're close to what Eden was meant to be. We long for Edenistic experiences. Think about where you would choose to go on vacations. It's these places where we find rest from our work, comfort from our stress, and the people we spend it with would be the one(s) who matter most to us.

Adam's story only begins with Eden. Eve is created as Adam's
ezer kenegdo (more about what that means later), and the enemy of God is lurking in their midst. Adam is tempted and he fell from grace. The gift of Eden is lost. The openness Adam once enjoyed has become altogether different. He is naked and doesn't like it.
Adam resorts to hiding in an attempt to avoid exposure. Everything feels different from what it once was. Fellowship with the heavenly Father is broken. The vulnerability feels more like a weakness than a strength, and trust is replaced with suspicion.
Eldredge points out that something in Adam's heart shifts. It's why there is this awkwardness that seems to exist between us and God. We dodge, run, and hide from Him because His gaze pierces us and we can't stand the feeling.
Adam's expulsion from the garden is a picture of what has already happened between him and God. The wilderness becomes his home, far away from all the provisions of the garden, including the tree of life. Eden has been surrendered and the loss has been costly.

We've been trying to get back ever since. We live in the wild now. It seems the more we try to get back to the home that was intended for us, the further away it becomes.
Being so far from home, we've tried to recreate Eden. We've pitched our tent here and turned it into a castle. The wild is so dangerous and the more we learn from it, the more we try to guard ourselves from it.
We've learned a whole lot, too. In the wilderness, there is pain, grief, loneliness, rejection, despair, along with a whole host of really bad dilemmas. It's why we abuse drugs and other substances, drink too much alcohol, look at pornography, and commit adulterous affairs. It's why some of us become religious, looking for the ritual without offering our hearts fully to Jesus. We become lethargic watching too much television and playing too many video games. We get greedy, self-righteous, and work way too much. We become perfectionists, power-hungry, or procrastinators.
These are just some of the ways we try to recreate Eden without facing the truth that we have lost it. These "edens" we've built in a world taken over by sin and rebellion are nothing more than elaborate fig leaves to hide under. They are pitiful, messy, and cheap counterfeits leaving within our hearts something to be desired.
We were made for more.

We are a long way from Eden, but here is the good news. There
is more. The work of Jesus accomplished through His death, resurrection, and ascension was to help us find our way back to the tree of life. Jesus said it, "If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it." (Luke 9:24 CEV)
The saved life is our life offered up to Jesus for His purposes. The destroyed life is the life that refuses vulnerability, refuses to be exposed under the careful gaze of the Lamb who was slain. The life that refuses to surrender his "eden" for the eternal home that awaits those the Father draws unto himself (John 6:44).

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."--Revelation 22:14 & 15 (CEV).