Monday, July 21, 2014

THE SUFFOCATING DARKNESS OF THE ENEMY

"The Mulberry Tree" by: Vincent van Gough
There you are, welcome back.
I was hoping to see you today.

As Keith and I stand here watching each of you find your seat on the tour bus,
we are realizing this is much harder than we thought.

We are watching some of you hop on the bus, holding hands with your person.
You look so happy.  So in love.

But some of you, you are limping.
You snuck on the bus, trying not to be noticed.
But we see you.

And that is what makes this tour hard.

The reality is that some of you are lost and wandering in the dark.
The fog is thick and it makes it nearly impossible to see where you are going.
You want to be on the right path, but the fog, the dark, they are suffocating you.

You want to go on the tour with us, but you can't imagine it helping.

A precious new friend that Keith and I recently met on our adventure just learned that she lost a friend to suicide.  My heart breaks for his family and for my friend.

And my mind is racing… because I know.
I know exactly how dark and foggy that path is.
One wrong step and you find yourself in a deep, dark pit.

Three years ago, I was trying my best to navigate a path I had never been on and frankly didn't want to take.  It was isolating and suffocating.  I found that trusting God for every slippery step was hard.  Too hard.  Because, if I was honest, I didn't really trust Him.

I knew I was suppose to believe that He loves me.  That He is good.
But, everything about the path He had me on felt mean.  Cruel, even.

At first you stay in the pit.
It's easier to just stay.
But you can't.

The walls are moving in around you and you don't even realize it.
The longer you stay, you become numb.
The fog, it's so much thicker in the pit, you can't think straight.

You have to get out.
You have to ask for help.
You need someone to grab you by the hand, be a light to cut through the darkness, help you see where you are on your map, and lead you to a path of safety.

You are not there by accident.
You have an enemy who desires to steal, kill and destroy you.
He has you right where he wants you.
Don't let him win.

If that's you, look up.
God has His mighty hand outstretched, ready to pull you out.
He's been there the whole time, waiting for you to grab hold.

On the 1st Stop of our tour, we poured and squared our marriage foundation built on an accurate view of God’s character.  God is good, loving and trustworthy.  That truth is the very lens we will want to view the map as we continue our journey.
Putting on those lenses saved my life.

We also met Adam and Eve at the end of The Creation Story.
We are going to look at part their adventure today, not because they the first couple to take this journey, but because they were the enemy’s first target.

2nd Stop- THE SUFFOCATING DARKNESS OF THE ENEMY

Adam and Eve.
The pioneers of the adventure we call marriage.
They have so much to teach us about our relationship with the enemy, with our spouse, and with God.

Adam.
First man created.
God spoke some very clear, specific instructions to Adam.
  • God gave Adam "dominion [authority] over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." {Genesis 1:26}
  •  God put Adam in the garden to "work it, keep it, guard it." {Genesis 2:15}
  • God told Adam, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." {Genesis 2:16-17}

Because God is a good and loving God, He is looking further down the path Adam is on and preparing him for what's to come.  God's provisions can protect us from a lot of unnecessary hurts, but we have to believe and trust Him.

In chapter 3 of Genesis, we are introduced to the enemy, Satan.
He is described as crafty [shrewd, malicious, evil in nature and character] and was in the garden in the form of a serpent.

I hate even giving him any attention, but we need to know who we are dealing with so we will know how to guard ourselves, our spouse and our family.

He slithered in the garden, found Eve, and started a conversation with her.
"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" {Genesis 3:1}

"He [the enemy] speaks to the woman, not because she is weaker,
but because her knowledge of God's instructions is secondhand—
communicated to her by Adam."
-Iva May

Eve responded, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit if the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" {Genesis 3:2-3}

The enemy replies, twisting her words and planted seeds of doubt and discontentment.  He knows if he can just get her to do this back and forth dance, if he can spin the truth, she will fall into his arms.

Eve looked at the tree.
She saw.  She took.  She ate.

And just like that, with an outstretched hand, she offered the fruit to her husband.

She could have ignored the enemy.
She could have walked away.
She didn't.

Her husband could have helped her.
He was right there with her.
He should have helped her.
He didn't.

Remember what God gave Adam?
He gave him dominion [power, authority, control] over all creatures.
All creatures, including the one that was talking to his wife!

Remember what God put Adam in the garden to do?
He was to work it, keep it, guard it.
If the garden was being guarded, the enemy would have never made it to Eve.

Remember what God told Adam?
He gave him the freedom to eat from any and all trees in the garden and then warned him that one tree would bring hurt and pain.

Adam and Eve.
Both ate the fruit.
Both of their eyes were opened.
Fear, shame and guilt flooded their hearts.

The enemy -evil in nature and character- has a purpose.
Satan' goal is the same in Genesis 3 as it is today-
He wants to make you doubt the goodness of God and to keep God's Word from taking root in your heart.

Oh how I wish that Adam would have put on his snake boots and kicked that serpent out of the garden!  He had the power and authority to do so.  And yet, he stood there as though he was powerless.

Husbands.  It's not enough to know what God says, you need to obey it.  Your family needs you to obey it.   You were designed and created to guard, protect and lead your family and you have been given the authority to do so.  Your family needs you to be an active participant in their lives so you can kick the enemy every times he tries to slither in a the door, window or computer in our home.

Wives.  Step aside, encourage your husband to lead, and support him.  Spend time reading your map.  It is so important for you to hear God speak His truths to you everyday.  Repeating what God told your husband has no power against the enemy.  You have to hear it, meditate on it, and allow it to take root in your own life.  Be very careful how you influence your husband.  It is powerful.  God told Adam, in person, not to eat from the tree, and yet his wife handed him the fruit and he ate.  That should scare us into making sure our influence is used for their benefit and not our selfish motives.  You are a rib… protect your husband's heart.

Each of us are in different places and on different paths of our adventure.
But the one common denominator in every adventure is Satan.
We have an enemy and he is real.
Don't give him any power.

If you find yourself today feeling suffocated by the enemy and are having trouble finding God, consider this our outstretched hand.  Keith and I would be honored to shine a light to show you the way.


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3 comments :

  1. Not sure that my first comment went through...
    This is a great thread Jackie! I just found your blog from MM Collingsworth. Great truths here! Looking forward to more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Rebecca! I hope things are going well for you and the family! Appreciate the kind words!

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