Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eve And The Only Guy On The Planet

If she couldn’t get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A Heart of Perfection
You know Eve. The girl with the apple. The one Adam pointed to when God said, “Hey! Whose idea was it to eat the forbidden fruit?!” The person who consistently bears the brunt of the blame for the whole Garden of Eden debacle. Most famously remembered as the woman who caved when Satan decided to tempt, Eve’s punishment has affected womanhood to this day: to forever bear children with intense pain and suffering and perpetually submit to man as their master.

On account of [Eve] even the Son of God had to die.

Salimbene, a 13th century Franciscan monk compiled a collection of popular views of his day on women. Eve was definitely not thought of positively: “Woman was evil from the beginnings, a gate of death, a disciple of the servant, the devil’s accomplice, a fount of deception, a dogstart to godly labours, rust corrupting the saints; whose perilous face hath overgrown such as had already become almost angels. Lo, woman is the head of sin, a weapon of the devil, expulsion from Paradise, mother of guilt, corruption of the ancient law.” Whoa. How’s that for a thorough insult?

Personally, I think Eve got a bum rap. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to offer excuses or place blame in another location. I simply wish that the whole person that Eve was, wasn’t defined by her famous moment of succumbing to temptation. (Look at it this way: How would you like to be remembered for your greatest personal disaster?)

The bottom line is that Eve was an ancestress of Christ. You and I can’t claim that. Nor can a lot of other women. She was unique, special, and chosen. At the time when God was recounting the consequences of both Eve and Adam’s poor choice, He also gave her a promise of redemption. She was the first person to be given the promise of the savior. It was her seed that was going to crush the head of the serpent, Satan. (Genesis 3:15)

Spend some time with me examining Eve, the person she was, and the guy she hooked up with. Take a peek into what it means to perfect. Maybe, if we try, we’ll learn something new about her and ourselves in the process. After all, haven’t you always wanted to achieve perfection?

Scripture References To Should Check Out: Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 2-5

Question to ask yourself and answer before you read any further: What one thing would you like to change in your life that would ensure better circumstances for yourself?

What her name means: God given: “Adam” means “mankind” or “taken out of the earth” or “human being”
Adam given (while in The Garden): “Woman” means “man-ess” or “taken out of man”
Adam given (once they are thrown out of The Garden):“Eve” means “The Mother of All Who Have Life” or “Life-giving”

Connections: Even though Eve was perfect, lived in paradise, and was hooked up with a heaven-made match she had self doubts about herself. Her lack of self-confidence in herself and her God-given abilities left her open for Satan’s treachery causing disaster and misery for all.

What the Bible says about being Perfect:

  • Regarding God and His Promises: Psalm 18:29-31

  • Regarding Perfection: Psalm 119:96

  • On Waiting For Perfection: Ecclesiastes 11:4

  • On Our Own Personal Level of Perfection and What We Should Strive For: Matthew 5:47-48

  • On Why We Cannot Judge What Is Perfect: 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

  • Advice On How To Achieve It: Philippians 3:12-13

  • Perfection On Earth: Hebrews 9:13-15

  • What It’s All About: James 1:16-18

For all you Eves out there …
What lessons can you learn and apply to your life from the account of Eve and whom she hooked up with? First and foremost you must remember what Adam and Eve’s perfection was based on. Nothing external. It was all internal. Their perfection was gone in the blink of an eye the moment they both chose not to allow God and God alone to rule their hearts and minds.

Eve started out hooked up with God, but then fell away from that perfect direction. Blessed with her soul mate, Adam, she was able to get back on track and work towards getting back to the right relationship she needed to have with The One True God. We, as descendants of Adam and Eve, are creatures with the identical capacity for personal thought and childlike understanding. We also have the same God-given ability to choose to head toward perfection … or not.

I like the way the apostle Paul talked about perfection. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
Forgetting the past …
Looking forward to what likes ahead …
Pressing on to reach … the heavenly prize …
Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

  • Good Choices and Bad: Remember, Eve was wrong for her initial actions but Adam was just as wrong for saying nothing to stop her. Doing nothing is doing something. Not speaking up and voicing The Truth or not correcting a wrong when it is being committed makes you culpable. Culpable as in “deserving of blame or censure as being wrong, evil, improper, or injurious.” (Free Online Dictionary)

  • Exemption: Being superior in appearance, position, or ability does not excuse our guilt. Just as God created the serpent to be cleverer than any of the other creatures that He had made, He also sentenced that same creature to eat dirt and die. Never, ever should any of us become complacent in our place within God’s plan. We are necessary for what we can do for His greater glory and design and nothing more. As soon as we step out towards our own agenda we are spectacularly and frighteningly alone and undefended.

  • Focus: Being perfect does not guarantee that you won’t make any mistakes. In fact, it might actually blind you into a false sense of complacency so that when disaster sneaks up on you, you don’t even recognize it until after it’s way too late. Psalm 57:1-3 gives a good standard for how you should approach every step of your life:

  • Recognize You Can’t Do It On Your Own:

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection.
Know Where To Go In Times Of Trouble:
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.
Know Who To Ask For Advice:
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
Recognize Where True Power Lies:
He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me.
Understand The Reasons Behind It All:
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.

  • Believe: The person that you are is exactly the person God needs you to be. You must believe that for what God needs you to do right this very minute: You. Are. Just. Perfect. Any flaw you perceive in yourself is only an excuse to not follow through with what God wants you to do. Rick Warren in his book A Purpose Driven Life says, “God never does anything accidentally, and He never makes mistakes.” Stop focusing on what you’re missing and concentrate on all you’ve got to offer.

  • Forgive: Don’t. Keep. Score. Dwelling on past mistakes prevents you from forging ahead positively into the future. You must learn to let go of past failures of your own doing as well as your mate’s. God has forgotten your disasters as soon as you ask His forgiveness. Why can’t you? King David, an abject failure as a husband and father but also known as “the man after God’s own heart” sang about forgiveness in Psalm 32 (vs. 1-3 MSG): Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be - you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean. Count yourself lucky - God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from Him.

  • Trust: Just as Adam and Eve were provided with the perfect mate, you too have one out there somewhere in the world. And no, before you ask, I don’t believe you can find him or her on your own. That’s where faith comes in: believing in something that you can’t see or touch. Commit to pray for this person, commit to wait for this person, commit to believe that this person is doing the same for you, and commit to not settling for anything less than the very best. Trust me, it will be worth the wait in the end.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

  • Commit: Be determined to find the perfect heavenly-fashioned companion for yourself or create that sort of relationship with the person you are already with. He or she may not be as easily acquired as Adam found Eve and yet you have every reason to believe that God’s plan and desire for you is nothing less than “a perfect match”. Remember what Adam and Eve had in common that promoted their success: a like-minded spiritual focus, a similar passion for the environment in which they chose to live, an joint attitude of commitment, love and forgiveness, and a relationship rooted in innocence and purity.

  • Remain Vigilant: Even the most perfect relationships must be nurtured and prized. Kind words never go out of fashion, loving expressions are always appreciated, and thoughtful signs of appreciation are never wasted. Even if your mate is not yet suitable for the “perfect” category, what areas are pretty close? Have you shared that with him or her lately? Temptation to become complacent is a danger we cannot afford. Temptation in and of itself is not wrong. Giving into temptation is where the problems start.

True freedom comes from obedience and knowing what not to do.

  • Stay Faithful: Oswald Chambers says that, “Faith is the heroic effort of your life.” It’s pretty darn easy to be pleased with God when things are going well in your life and just as easy to blame God when things go down the tubes. You cannot be casual about your faith walk on the day to day existence of your life only to become intensely spiritual when things start to get rocky. Your relationship with God is either a committed, loving relationship or it is a casual acquaintance. You and only you must set the standards.

  • Love: Remember that the dominating emotion that was the force behind the creation of this world was: love. Operating within that emotion towards yourself first and foremost and then towards all others redefines the world you live in.

How well do you know yourself? If you are unsure of what you want out of your life then you are on shaky ground trying to hook up with someone. You need to be The Expert regarding yourself spiritually, emotionally, socially, and physically. You need to think about who will compliment you best. What about your mate or the mate of your dreams? Do you know what you need? What you should be looking for? What qualities would ensure your success as a couple? Prayerfully and seriously consider these things. Don’t just reach into the dating basket, randomly choose someone and settle. Your choice of a mate should be based on what God has given you and what He would choose to be the best mate for you.

This is an excerpt from the chapter “Eve and The Only Guy On The Planet” from Sue's book: Biblical Women And Who They Hooked Up With available in print or electronic media at her store:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice! Yes, Eve did get a bad wrap, huh? I mean, we all screw up, men and women...but yes, women always get compared to Eve's BIG mistake, I noticed that.

Thanks to Jesus, we are no longer known by our biggest mistake. What a relief we have HIS grace, don't you think?

Thanks for the post!! Have a great day.