Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Bible Verse of the Day: Genesis 1:28-29 ” God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it; Rule over the fish and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Then God said, I give every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
The book of Genesis is both a book of great joy and hope and also one of great sadness and brokenness. We see both the miraculous power of the Creator of the universe at work in His splendor and the sinful nature of man to let his prideful condition lead to his own demise. The fall of mankind that took place in the Garden of Eden plays out in the lives of us as individuals on almost a daily basis. Our human nature is such that we are never really satisfied with what we have and always leads us to want more. God had given Adam and Eve everything they could hope for. There was beauty, security, freedom and abundance all around them in the Garden at all times and at first they were content. Genesis 2:25 illustrates this for us “the man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” But it takes only a brief time until the free will that God gives to each of us humans leads them to disobey the one command that God had given to them. Their pride was the tool that the devil used to weaken them to the point of disobeying their God who had provided everything they needed for comfort and fellowship with Him. After they sinned and ate of the forbidden fruit, they were instantly overwhelmed with guilt. Where just a few passages ago they were fine with their nakedness because they were walking with the Lord, now in Genesis 3:7 their sinful action has left them feeling vulnerable “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
The sinful episode of disobedience in the Garden has been a thorn in the side of man ever since and it clearly exposed our human nature to seek our own path, desiring more in our pleasures than in the comfort and security of God’s promises. I have a very hard time realizing that true happiness only comes when I align myself with the will of God. I want to live as a person who pursues pleasure and puts no limits on my passions. That is the sinful nature of my flesh that is always in conflict with the Holy Spirit that lives within me and constantly reminds me that the path of fleshly pleasure will only lead to a road of destruction. Paul describes this on-going fierce battle that rages in all of mankind between our desire to gratify the flesh or live by the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-17, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”
I believe this is the epicenter of our struggle as humans. We do what we do not want to do because although our minds are willing, our bodies are weak when it comes to gratifying our flesh. I have failed at this in many different ways throughout my life, but I have finally learned the most valuable lesson; I am too weak on my own to avoid temptation. As a matter of fact, as a mentor of mine likes to say, I can avoid anything other than temptation. It is only through the Power of Christ living in me that I have any chance to defeat my fleshly desires. I simply can’t do it on my own. The most distressing part of this is that this holds true even when things are great in my life and I seem to have everything I need for happiness.
It helps me to find comfort that the Bible is full of stories like the fall in the Garden that illustrates I am not alone in my weakness. Moses and David were both murderer’s and David was also an adulterer. These great men of God had impactful lives serving the Lord, yet even they were vulnerable to the powerful nature of sin. Why can’t we ever just be content where we are? Why are we always striving for more? Like more stuff, more sex, more power or more money is ever going to make us happy. When will we ever realize that our lives are just a vapor. I am still weak and vulnerable anytime I am away from the word of God or like a lost sheep, I stray from the Good Shepherd. But I have come to realize that true happiness can only be found in obeying God’s word to the best of my abilities, flawed as they are. Even King Solomon, “The wisest man that ever lived,” according to 1 Kings 3:12, came to the same conclusion. He was blessed with wealth beyond imagination and was given the privilege of building God’s temple, yet he could find no lasting contentment apart from obeying God. He devoted himself to studying and exploring all kinds of things. He sought worldly pleasures and satisfaction in his fleshly pursuits, but he quickly realized they were folly and without value as the contentment he was seeking eluded him through these pursuits. He tried to find contentment through personal achievement. He undertook many great projects, including the building of an extensive irrigation system to bring water to his groves of flourishing trees. In the end, he decided according to Ecclesiastes 2:11 “that yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
So if the richest man in the world, and the wisest man who ever lived found no real value in chasing after greater wealth, fleshly pleasure or personal achievement, why do we think it will ultimately be any different for us? All of these things can bring temporary satisfaction or prideful expression, be they don’t lead to lasting contentment or eternal value. Jesus himself came to point this out for us, in that He came not to be served, but rather as a servant of all. He could have amassed all power and wealth for His earthly consumption. But, He chose instead to focus on His eternal glory, the most humble man who ever lived. So what is the point of this life then? Where should we search for the place of contentment and of eternal value? What is our wisdom gained throughout our lifetime good for? The answer lies in the scriptures for as Paul says in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Freedom from ourselves and our sinful nature. Freedom from our desires for always wanting more and thinking that will lead us to contentment. Freedom from the longings of our flesh. And so, as Romans 5:2 states, “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” For He alone can fill our hearts with lasting joy and lead our souls to a place of everlasting contentment.
Prayer: Father God, help us to never forget that You are enough for us. Everything else will only lead us to wanting more, because it can never truly satisfy. Only You can satisfy what our Soul craves. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen!