Quitting is never an option! No, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel like throwing in the towel. Neither are we (in our human frailty and issues) promised not to suffer. Scripture is where we must go to keep hope in perspective. The experience of Adam and Eve mirrors ours and provides the encouragement to keep moving forward into the arms of loving grace.
“The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. 16 But the LORD God gave him this warning: "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden 17 except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely “die” (to die is to forfeit a living/intimate relationship with God)." (Genesis 2:15-17, NLT)
25 “Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame.” (Genesis 2: 25, NLT) Shame was born in dis-obedience. And so was mankind’s propensity to lean upon flawed understanding and call it “wisdom or knowledge”. These are the result of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! Their/our eyes were opened to what they weren’t equipped to understand or process.
Mankind was awakened to deception and blinded to the trickery of illusion! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. 7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom.” (Proverbs 3: 5-7, NLT)
“Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the LORD God had made.”Really?" he asked the woman. "Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?" 2 "Of course we may eat it," the woman told him. 3 "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die." 4 "You won't die!" the serpent hissed.
5 "God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil." 6 The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. 7 At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.” (Genesis 3:1-7, NLT) God clothed their nakedness with the skin of a wild animal.
“Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV) We can trust that whatever God says is factual, especially what He says about us! At times, He will use those in our ‘Oikos’ (your sphere of influence or of being influenced) to help us become better acquainted with reality and authenticity. God’s truth often seems inconsistent with our present perceptions. But as we learn to “trust” in the outcome, we find that it is our perceptions that are off or skewed.
God did not clothe Adam with the skin of a slain animal because of a divine need to be appeased. But because of their unconditional love for Adam! They also understood the language of judgment (Adam’s self judgments) and are touched by Adam’s infirmities. Adam, not God, was embarrassed about his nakedness. The clothing was not to make God look at Adam differently, but to make Adam feel better about him-self!
Ultimately it was to prepare Adam for the unveiling of the mystery of mankind’s redemption in the incarnation-Jesus coming as the Son of Man. Here Deity would clothe themselves in human skin in a son, and the Lion of Judah, would become the Lamb of God, in order to free our minds to re-discover his image and likeness in our skin! Humankind is tailor-made for God!
Jesus-the new man (who lived our life, death, burial and ultimate resurrection) completely identifies with our condition! In Jesus-the new Adam; we are empowered to walk in the Spirit, victory, freedom, grace, mercy, faith, and peace. And we are now clothed by His righteousness, instead of our shame and failure. Following are some of the wondrous gifts of being clothed/covered by Christ!
1.”So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The Law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
4 He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. (So much of our identity with Jesus happens first in new thinking!)
7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. 8 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)
10 Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you. 12 So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you keep on following it, you will perish. (Romans 8: 1-10, NIV)
But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family -- calling him "Father, dear Father." 16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. 17 And since we are his children, we will share his treasures -- for everything God gives to his Son, Christ is ours, too.
But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. 19 For all creation are waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. 21 All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
23 And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
24 Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don't need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently. 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Past, Present and Future-Your entire life) (Romans 8: 1-28, NLT)
He has brought me back from the future to live as Jesus, fully human and fully divine by embracing all that today can be in Him!
He has brought me back from the past, trading the shame and failures to live today in the fullness of Grace!
He has brought me to another today to live with hope while embracing a love that liberates me to be extra-ordinarily ordinary!
I will enjoy the peace to be at peace with His great love and divine design! I will enjoy Him in me and I in Him each moment of potential called now!
So! So, never give up! Never quit! Don't even entertain the dark voices of shame, despair, doubt or hopelessness! The ride may even get a bit rougher!
10 Instead, strike first with the weapons fashioned for victory...A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. 13 Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere. (Ephesians 6: 10-18, NLT)
Turn the face of faith in a faithful God into the winds of adversity and they will become the very winds that lift you into the 3rd Heaven of Faith, Hope, and Love! Here and here only you will enjoy Father's Soaring perspective of Love!
In the cover of Papa’s Love, Ron Ross