Can We Talk?

 

Okay, so, some guys and I were talking about original sin recently, and I came to the conclusion that Eve was not the first human being to sin in the Garden of Eden.

 

Here’s my thought process: The devil is tempting Eve and…wait, let’s look at what it says in Genesis 3: 

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. (NLT) (Emphasis added.)

 

Adam was standing there right beside her! In my mind’s eye, they are shoulder-to-shoulder. He is definitely not in the living room on the couch watching the football game barely listening and paying little to no attention. He is right there!

 

He had been listening. He knew what was going on, and he knew it was wrong. He wanted to taste the fruit, too. His sin took place in his mind when he gave himself permission to do so.

 

All he would have had to do is put a hand on Eve’s shoulder and say, “Babe, we need to talk…”

 

But he didn’t.

 

And I joke that, ever since, no guy has ever used that sentence.

 

He didn’t stop Eve because he had already decided he wanted to taste that fruit, too. They didn’t talk about it.

 

And, there is an important point. It is said that if you cannot tell another person the plans you have, if you cannot say out loud what you plan to do, you almost certainly should not be doing it.

 

I recently attended a hockey game with a good friend. It was my third time doing so, even though my interest in hockey is approximately equal to whether a half a glass of water is half-full or half-empty. (Hockey fans, PLEASE NOTE! That is NOT, repeat NOT meant to disparage or diminish your enjoyment of the game of hockey. Please continue to enjoy this wonderful and exciting sport. Thank you.) I go to the hockey games with this guy simply because I like him and enjoy the conversations we have.

 

So anyway, prior to the game, my friend and I were having a number of excellent theological discussions on the Prosperity Gospel and whether God was more interested in prospering your checkbook or your soul, predestination, predeterminism, Calvinism, limited atonement, persistence of the saints, alliteration (little old lady got mutilated late last night) and a host of other topics more tasty and hearty than a plastic serving tray full of sports stadium nachos.

 

In the middle of this, my friend looks at me and says, “You know, you are the only person I can talk to like this.”

 

And I said, “Are you kidding? I was built for this. This is my thing. I do this all the time.”

 

He affirmed it was so.

 

And I realized how blessed I was. Just in the past five years, God has put scores of pastors and missionaries and people dedicated to God into my life that I can have deep and compelling conversations with about Him and His glory. There are so many people like this, I can no longer count them all. 

 

And the thing is, I love them all. God has literally multiplied  and re-multiplied the number of people in my life that I love. (Cue up NeedtoBreathe playing “Multiplied” please.)

 

It’s amazing.

 

And then my friend asked me how I came in contact with people like that.  As I thought about it, I realized these people came into my life through the things I do when I follow Jesus. Through the various mission trips I’ve been on, through Bible studies, through the church I attend, through Christian retreats and events, through Kinship Christian Radio, and even through this blog, I have been blessed beyond measure not because I sought to be so, but simply because I was being a disciple.

 

Which brings me (Yes, I know this seems odd.) to Abraham. Do you remember when God said that He would give Abraham countless descendants and make him the father of many nations? Well, I was blown away recently when I read in Romans 4:16&17 that Abraham is the father of all who believe, through faith. (See “Today’s Praise,” below.) So, Abraham’s descendants currently number more than two billion!

 

That’s some serious multiplication there, you sons and daughters of Abraham! The scores of brothers and sisters God has put into my life to love are just a drop in the bucket to the number of people God has decided I should love but just haven’t met yet! (“May this offering stretch across the skies … these Halleluiahs be multiplied!”)

 

And so I would encourage you, dear friends, to simply follow Jesus. Have the faith Abraham had and follow as he followed. Go where He sends you, even if its a distant land. Follow where He leads, even if you don’t know why or how its all going to work out. Listen to what He says and do it, even if it seems crazy at the time.

 

The path may be narrow and rocky, but if you’re following Him instead of trying to rush ahead of Him, it’s easier to stay on it. 

 

Oh, one more word of advice. In the process, try not to needlessly irritate a bunch of people wearing a lot of padding with knives on their feet and long sticks in their hands.

 

Innocent as doves and wise as serpents, folks.

 

Today’s Praise

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 4:16&17 (NLT)

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