Flimsy Hearts

“It is not good for man to be alone.” ~God (Genesis 2:18)

God spoke these words in the Garden of Eden thousands of years ago. I wonder if a hush fell over the garden at that moment. Did the birds stop chirping; did the grizzly pause his berry hunt? Did Adam raise his arms heavenward in thanksgiving? Perhaps there was silence as the man formed of dust fell asleep and God built Eve from his rib. This word from God is proof that people need people. We need more than God…we need each other.

And then, when Eve was created and Adam woke up, what was said? We know that they were in perfect communion with each other and with God during this time in the garden. My mind has difficulty imagining untainted relationships. Communication free from misunderstanding and selfish intent. There were no ugly motives then, prior to the slithering snake named Deceiver.

Adam and Eve had everything they could ever want or imagine: food, drink, beauty, one another, companionship with God, safety, and love. The only thing they did not own was the highest ruling power position of all. And when they were given one rule and one rule only: do not touch or eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a door in their human hearts cracked open, so slightly. They became consumed with that one thing that was forbidden. At first touch it scorched deep and hurt but it was too late. A scar remained. Proof of wrongdoing and shame. All of mankind was injured that day.

Are we not  a mirror image of Adam and Eve? The Father of Lies whispers sweetly to our flimsy hearts. He is crafty and lovely, at first. The ugly horror of his persona is hidden until after he has hooked us, his willing prey, and we are left with our painful wretchedness and the sad aftermath it always ushers in.

Eve was created to help her Adam. Adam needed her; she brought strengths to this first of all marriages that Adam did not have. She was also the weaker vessel, and relied upon Adam’s protection and wisdom. Without Adam guarding, she heeded the wrong voice, that of the Deceiver. That bite of the lusted forbidden fruit turned to ashes in her mouth as she recognized her first sin. The garden was defiled.

God cursed his disobedient children. Eve was now destined to desire to rule her husband, going against the grain of God’s initial design. Childbirth would be utter agony. And Adam could no longer meander in the garden at his own leisure. He now had to work all the day long to simply survive. Planting and harvesting and hunting. Labor would exhaust him; provoking irritability. His passivity cost dearly, as did Eve’s disobedience in touching the fruit.

Talk of biblical submission is taboo in many churches today. I believe it is greatly misunderstood. Submission, when lived out God’s way, looks much like a man on his knees pleading with God for wisdom, and upon receiving it, gently loving his wife and children, while protectively guiding them in God’s ways. He gives his life for his bride, as Jesus offered up himself for the church. It looks like joyful servant-hood and wisdom, willing to correct sin and shepherd, taking into account preferences that are not his. It is never heavy-handed, even though the husband will answer to the Lord for being the head.

Biblical submission looks a lot like a wife joyfully helping her husband in his life’s work. How does this flesh out? Each woman should ask her own husband. What is helpful to some, might not be helpful to another. Respect rules the day, as does servant-hood. Titus 2:5: to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. A submissive wife is ruled by kindness and goodness and truth. She uses her gifts to create peace and beauty for her husband and family. She does not disparage, but speaks truth in love to her husband.

But sin.

Humans are footprints of Adam and Eve. We are corrupt and sinful beings. Every time I desire to rule over my husband, and roll my eyes, I am proof of the curse. The footprint of Eve. Every time my husband does not protect, guarding against evil, or grows passive, he is living the footprint of Adam. All of us fail, but perhaps we would struggle less if we recognized the principalities we are battling: the pride of Satan, that wicked serpent of deceit.

Our sins are like octopus’s tentacles: far reaching, entangling, with a mighty and relentless grip. The only way to disentangle and save is to cut off the tentacles quickly, brutally.

We need each other. We need to be willing to wound each other with the truth of God’s Word, calling out sin and killing it, eradicating the infection and freeing us to heal and thrive.

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