Thursday, 6 September 2012

We All Need More Than a Fig Leaf

What lessons can we learn from Adam and Eve? 

1.    Disobedience to God has consequences.

2.    God loves us no matter what we do.

3.    Attempting to shift blame to someone else when confronted with an omniscient God is not too bright.

4.    God forgives us no matter what we do.

5.    The husband, Adam, is who God holds responsible for what happened.

6.    Fig leaves were not going to cut it, Eden was about to get very cold, so God provided clothing.  He provides for all our needs.

You might say that their honeymoon got off to a bad start.  The husband was to be the leader, provider and protector.  Instead he stood idly by while his wife was tempted and deceived.  When questioned by the Lord, Adam tried blame shifting “it was the fault of this woman you gave me.”  So basically it was God’s fault that they were disobedient, or so Adam would have us believe.

If your reaction is like mine you have said, “How stupid could they be?”  They had a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.   He gave them clear instructions on how they should live their lives and they chose to disobey Him.  Okay, that does hit a little close to home.

So, seeing as how we have been made in the image of God, it would seem that we should respond to those who disappoint us just as God responded to Adam and Eve.  He didn’t smite them, He didn’t raise his voice, but instead He first provided for their physical need.  They knew they did something wrong.

So how can we apply that lesson as married couples?  We are not omniscient but we know that our spouse will do something that will disappoint us at some point in time. There will be a time when your husband may fail in his role as leader, protector and/or provider.  There will be a time when our wives will fail to give us the respect that we, as men, desire.  And when our spouse fails us our immediate response should be to forgive them, not because they deserve it but because just as God forgave Adam and Eve He has forgiven us.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hungar Games

The following excerpts are taken from a recent blog written by Winston Smith, noted author and professor at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation as he reflected on The Hunger Games.  

The Games, a novel by Suzanne Collins and recent blockbuster movie features a gladiatorial contest in which each district of twelve districts is required to offer two “tributes”, one boy and one girl who are required to battle the other tributes to the death.  In a setting in which every action determines survival, the Hunger Games invite us to wrestle with some very basic questions: What is the point of existence or survival? Is there anything more important than my own wants and needs, no matter how pressing? Is there anything worth living or dying for?   The Hunger Games call our attention to one of the characteristics that most defines us, our appetites. The things that you hunger for most, the things that you believe you must have to survive; these are the things that most powerfully shape your identity.

 What is my personal hierarchy of needs?” … Whatever you need the most, whatever you hunger for, that’s what you will construct your life around. Of course, pondering those questions is easy in dispassionate moments. You can give the “right” answers, or at least the answers you think you’re supposed to give. But the more accurate answers emerge when you face trials and temptations… Let’s be honest. We find it hard to trust God. We’d rather trust in ourselves and pursue our own agenda, what’s best for us…” 

As you reflect on your life and more specifically your marriage what do you hunger for?  Are you looking for your spouse to complete you, to meet your expectations, to help you to become self-actualized, to make you happy and/or to fill the huge void that craves to be filled with affirmation and affection?

Or as you face trials, particularly in your marriage do you hunger for relief or do you recognize them as times when God is attempting to grow you and to make you spiritually stronger?  Do you see your spouse as someone who detracts from your joy or a partner and instrument in the Redeemer’s hands?

What you hunger for will determine your feelings and your behavior.  God doesn’t want us to be in survival mode nor to look to be fulfilled by anyone but Him.  God wants you to thirst for Him as the deer pants for streams of water. (Ps. 42:1-2)