Speak up, I can't hear you!
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
What we have in this little section of the story of “The Fall” in Genesis 3 is something that I think is super important to our walks with God. You see, we are not given a Spirit of fear. We are given strength and confidence through Jesus Christ. We have all heard, if not read, this story before. The serpent tempts Eve. Eve takes the apple. Eats it. Gives it to Adam. Adam eats it. And the fall of man has been completed. What I don’t think a lot of people realize in this story is that Adam was with Eve through all of the serpent’s temptation, but failed to speak up.
I feel like we have all been in that exact same spot in each one of our lives. Something goes on or happens that we know isn’t right or we’re tempted to do something that we know isn’t good, but we just stand by and let it happen or allow ourselves to falling into that sin as well. We allow what other’s think of us or become more important than what God thinks of us, and the fear of not being liked or approved of leaves us petrified and unable to take a leap of faith toward God.
I work at a local restaurant chain surrounded by a lot of amoral people. And none, but maybe one or two, that I could say for sure are Christians by way of their actions. Needless to say, there has always be a huge amount of pressure to take part in anything and everything you can think of. When I first started working there I had marks on my wrist I had made with a sharpie to remind me of different prayer requests. I can still remember the two times in one day that I had people ask me what those marks were for, and I still remember my response to both those questions. “I just thought it looked cool.”
I had a chance to make an impression on two people about who I am all about, about the way I live day to day, about who I worship and serve, and I chickened out. God presented me with a way to be a testament to Himself, and I put what other’s thought about me first. I let those marks fade away and never traced them on my wrist again. I was petrified. I was focused on the fear of being made fun of and not the Love God has for me in my life. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
That verse is just saying that fear and love are the complete opposite things. It would take me several months later to finally start letting my faith show in my lifestyle at that restaurant, and I would love to say that everyone respected me for it, but that wasn’t true. To this day some of my coworkers think that I’m gay because I won’t crack jokes that are demeaning women, and because I want check out every girl who walks in. I get made fun of for it constantly. And for almost a year I couldn’t see God’s plan for why He had me there. I couldn’t see any change in anyone’s hearts. Then, after over a year of working there, the bartender, who had become almost a sister to me, said we were going to eat dinner together after work. And as we sat down and started talking, she started telling me about some stuff in her life. She said I probably thought she was the biggest sinner ever and without a beat I finally chose to Love and not be fearful. I said, “I don’t care what you’ve done. I love you regardless.”
That simple act of standing up for who my God is, instead of letting fear win out, caught her completely off guard. She stared at me with a slight tilt in her head, and said, “You are the most beautiful person I know. Beautiful on the inside! You’ll be what saves me yet.” You see, perfect love not only drives out the fear in your own life, but it has a crippling effect on the fear in the people around you’s lives. God’s love knows no bounds, and His love is what you have flowing through and working through you.
We are not given a Spirit of fear, but one of love and all confidence through God. You see, Eve was locked into a debate with the serpent with Adam standing next to her saying nothing. So we all point the finger at Eve and say, “Look! She took the apple and ate it first!” In life, we tend to point fingers at others sins and how much worse they are than ours, or how we aren’t messing up like them, but we never look inward and see we are all too often Adam. We’re all too often asking how much others have messed up and not asking ourselves enough why we weren’t influencing their lives more to prevent them from messing up. The Bible calls us in II Corinthians 4:11 to die to ourselves so that death can be at work in us, but LIFE be at work in others. Too often in our lives as Christians we put what is in our best interest socially before what is in our neighbor’s best interest eternally.
My prayer for you today, and for the rest of your walk on earth, is that you constantly put others eternal interest before your worldly interests. I pray that you don’t let fear rule your walk with Christ, but allow His love to flow from your walk with Christ so that everyone knows what your about. I pray that your death to self gives life to everyone around you, and that you speak loud the love of Christ with your words as well as with your actions.
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