So recently I’ve been a bit taken by the perceptual mechanisms that Adam and Eve might have had that we do not. We see in Genesis 2 that there were trees in the garden (I know what those look like) and these trees had things like knowledge and life growing on the branches (I have NO IDEA what those things look like!).
Dallas Willard has described our modern version of Christianity as the “Gospel of Sin-Management”, because of our propensity to think in terms of “what do I do about my sin?”. How do I stop, it? Is it sin if I…? What do I do when I do sin? How do I control my “besetting sin”? All these seem to be the central focus of christian practice. If not preventing or managing bad behavior, we are trying to foster “good” behavior. Read your Bible, Pray more. All these things seem so different from what Jesus seemed to say and do for people. How odd that the religion we named after Him promotes itself differently than He did.
It seems to me that when we go back to God’s original blueprint we might adjust (again) our view of the message and work of Jesus.
God had always intended to cover the creation with His nature, and He has always intended that His method be mankind, re-presenting, or presenting again His nature in the places we inhabit. When Adam and his wife turned the keys over to God’s adversary, God was not confused, frustrated, or shocked. This was all still part of His strategy to achieve His goal.
Part of His nature is that He is a Redeemer and and a Repairer, so to cover the creation with that, He would redeem and restore mankind. In so doing, He could resume covering the earth with Himself. As He re-forms His image in us, we re-present Him as we go. Where confusion has been we can bring clarity. Where fear has been we can deliver perfect love. Where anxiety has been, we can step in and restore peace beyond understanding.
Sure, these things don’t work as well when we are arm-wrestling our own behavior patterns, but winning the behavioral struggle was not the ultimate goal of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The cross allows us to be reconciled again to God, so that He, in us might fill the world with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, mercy and self-control.
In other words God’s goal was not to straighten out a bunch of mis-behaving miscreants, it was to bring sons and daughters back into a relationship in which His life flows through us to the creation around us.
Try hard to be good if you want, but you could just yield to a very effective transformation process, in which God Himself is making you again into the person He designed you to be. Would it make any sense at all for God to make you, and then expect you to be someone other than who He made you to be? Become Yourself….
“Do you mind if I give you my perspective?” He asked. I couldn’t help my self, I responded, “Well of course not, it’s the only one you have”. Literally our perspective is all we ever have. Even when it changes it is still our NEW perspective. Continue Reading
“That sounds great but how do I DO it?” This is the most common response to conversation about the Tree of Life. People begin to sense the stirring in the room when the conversation arises, and, like the aroma of popcorn, it makes them desirous. Then, their next responses tell me whether or not they are “getting it.” Continue Reading
We have spent a great deal of time, resource, energy and strategy trying to stop Bad Behavior. What if that is not the real target? The Problem that entered the human race in the beginning resulted in Bad Behavior. Continue Reading
The last several posts on the difference between knowing God and living by the Knowledge of Good and Evil are designed to really help us sort out the thing that Jesus admonishes us to “seek first”. As I continue to look for ways to convey this all important distinction, it came to me. The key question is, are we a receiver or a generator?
A receiver has no use or function without a broadcast source, and is only limited by the limitations of the broadcaster.
A generator is it’s own source, and is therefore limited to whatever it can produce.
Life connected to the tree of Life, the Living and Active Breathof God, makes us receivers.
Life by the Knowledge of Good and Evil makes us generators. We produce from our own storehouse, and interpret through our own lenses.
That’s all I’m going to say about that. Anything else would just be me trying to be a generator.
“Watch, I’ll show you what I’m made of,” we say when we want to show others our strength or capabilities. Wouldn’t it be cool to figure out what we are really made of? And I don’t mean like skin and bones. I mean how we are put together.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete… 1 Thessalonians 5:23 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
In the Bible we find an account of the creation of man that can be really helpful in figuring out the make-up of our being..
“God formed the man from the dust of the ground…”
God formed a physical structure which had no life in and of itself.
…He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”
The Spirit of Life, the Spirit or breath of God entered the inanimate form
The man became a living being…( a self or a soul)
The man became an independent entity, still containing the breath of life, the Spirit of God.
Man became a physical form, made to be an independent being (a soul), containing the breath of God. What made the man who he was came from the fact that he was born from the breath of God.
Living from this center, from the Breath of God, meant that through his physical self, God Himself was empowering Adams life.
When Adam sinned, it was the Breath that left him. The “self” remained, but it was disconnected. A soul without the Spirit. While the spirit had been the way the man connected to God and the spiritual realm, the soul was how the man interacted with his natural environment. Without the Spirit his mind, his will, andhis emotions, became his source of power, and source of truth.
When we are “born again” it is this Spirit which is birthed in us, or gives us birth from the Heavens (spiritual realm).
Once the Spirit of God is re-established in us, we are still faced moment by moment with the exercise of the will as to whether we will live from the Spirit within us, or whether we will live out of our soul.
Living by the Knowledge of Good and Evil still has us living from the soul, our disconnected self. Knowing God, the Tree of Life, restores a power source, greater than us.
Thinking from the mind, will and emotions is different than tapping into the Spirit of God and having your mind renewed. This is the kind of “thinking differently” we are after.
I pulled into the parking lot. What I saw with my eyes was the same thing I saw every day. But something was not right. I could not explain it but I could describe it. Something felt amiss, not right, out of place. A disturbance in the Force if you will. The cars were parked exactly as they should have been, the doors were locked as they should have been. But the more things appeared normal, the more the tension grew inside. What I was seeing with my eyes was not lining up with…with…what I…knew.
I opened the secure door to enter the detention facility and for the first time what I heard with my senses lined up with what I sensed with my…guts…inner man…intuition…okay, call it spirit. The noises coming down the hallway were chaotic and carried a sense of urgency. I moved quickly now to find my co-workers in a restraint situation, but it was more. The whole hallway, and both wings of locked rooms were a mess. Noise and clutter told me that this restraint was not a matter of one misbehaving resident, but a major incident involving the whole facility.
How did I know that something was going on that day at the Juvenile Detention Center? I can probably explain it better today, than I could at the time. It is this sense on which I want to elaborate. We have ways of knowing with which we must grow increasingly familiar.
My friend Alan Smith ( http://alansmithonline.com/ ) says that our ways of knowing are like contact lenses (or did I say that…? I forget) We look through them all the time but we seldom look at them. Yet it is these very lenses that either allow or disallow input into our awareness. Not only that but, different ways of knowing allow different types of input.
The way I know quantum physics is not the same way I know I am in love. The way I know about unseen danger, is different than the way I know how to make cheesecake. And the way I know God is different than the way I know good and evil.
If we try to know God in the same way we know good and evil, we are set up for multiple traps.
Knowing God takes place in our Spirit and flows into our soul and body
Knowing good and evil takes place in our soul and cannot access our spirit
Knowing God comes at His initiative and our receptivity and accesses His strength.
Knowing good and evil comes at our initiative and depends on the strength of our will.
Knowing God keeps us rightly aligned with reality and others
Knowing good and evil puts us on a comparison basis where we struggle with either pride or shame
Knowing God is like plugging into a power source outside of us
Knowing good and evil makes us the power source
We can study or even teach the same passage of scripture, even use the same outline, perhaps even use the same word choices, and have completely different impacts because of the above distinctions. God can produce effects that we cannot.
Have you ever had someone who was angry at you, utilize words that portray that they are not angry? Yet their posture, their gritted teeth, the tension of their jaw, and countless other signs tell you that their words and the energy in their soul simply do not match.
This is what happens when we try to use God’s words, but operate from the knowledge of good and evil.
Repentance is the act of shifting from knowing good and evil, to knowing God. Change your lenses. You can look again at what you have seen all of your life, and it appears brand new. Change your lenses.
Or as Jesus would say…if you will have eyes that see…I am pretty sure He was encouraging us to Think Differently.
It’s a good thing that Cherubim was there with that sword.