Not Good to be Alone

One of my favorite stories in the Bible to learn from is the Garden of Eden. A vast majority of people focus primarily on “the Fall” and the eating of fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but there are other, more important lessons I like to focus on here. As a single man, I read this story to get an idea of how I’m supposed to live life before sin entered the world.

The the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)

The first thing God did was give Adam a task, a purpose. God had Adam tend to the Garden, maintain it, and keep it. This is extremely important because it shows that there was always work. Work predated the Fall but became difficult afterward. There is always a purpose placed over our lives, even before we truly understand it.

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Genesis 2:18 (nkjv)

This is often the first scripture people read to stress that marriage is important. However, I don’t think this verse is just confined to marriage. Being the only one of your kind is lonely, isolating, and not fully reflective of the multitude of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1) Even God was not in full isolation. Aloneness not being good is interesting because God created many things and called them all good. We don’t see something being declared NOT good until this verse.

Another important distinction is the phrase “comparable”. The NRSV Bible says “I will make him a helper as his partner.” ESV says “…a helper fit for him”. NIV says “a helper suitable for him.” but COMPARABLE is really different and important.

The NKJV, compared to all of the major translations, is the only one that gives us a hint what all the others might mean by “suitable” and “fit”. It doesn’t mean identical but it also doesn’t mean lessor than. Adam’s mate is purposely chosen as to meet each other’s needs.

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that wasits name.

So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 

Genesis 2:19-20 (NKJV)

Adam was deep into his purpose at this time. He was a steward for all of creation for God and working through everything requested of him. I imagine Adam taking account of every creature, naming and noting their differences, but after he finished for the “day”, him going home alone. He pets his prehistoric pet and sits on his La-Z-boy stone as the “uniqueness” of his existence eats away at him. Even the dogs that he counted had others like them.

I take this section to be about the importance of exploring your purpose. You aren’t expected to complete it (He still didn’t name all the fish, etc.) but you expected to be well on your way. Your purpose is too large for you to finish by your lonesome. It’s by design that once we have reached the limits of what we could do alone, we are brought together with our comparable helper. We are supposed to develop relationship with God and understand our purpose before we reach that point.

It’s also important to note that God stated that it was not good for man to be alone before He created all the creatures on the earth then He created woman. I don’t believe good did not know that Eve would need to be made for Adam. He knew, but chose to wait because Adam needed to work first.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Genesis 2:21-23 (NKJV)

These verses might be the most important in my eyes for understanding the balance of relationships in Christ. Adam was given momentary rest while Eve was being prepared to be brought to him. Adam probably was preparing for Eve thinking she just might be there among the other creatures of the earth but she wasn’t there. He was let down from that and God told him to rest up. Then, while he was sleep, God created Eve. She was still a surprise even though he understood what he desired. You can’t fully compare for what God has planned for you, even if you know it in advance.

Woman was made from his rib. Particularly, why is the rib? The rib protects the heart and lungs, supports the body, and allows a person to breathe. The rib is a vital part of the human body. Eve was also formed from his essence mirroring God & the Word, and Jesus & the Body of Christ. They all are apart, dependent, and reflections of each other.

Typically, whenever we talk about courtship, it is connected to Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV)

We often only focus on the “He who finds a wife” part but I think we miss other equally important messages throughout the word about courtship.

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14 (NIV)

God brings Eve to Adam. He could not find her on his own. He did not pick a random creature to be his helper. God gifted Eve to Adam. Anything from God could only be good. Eve was an SIGN of favor towards him. Eve was a blessing. Eve was good and perfect in her purpose and creation.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17 (NKJV)

Most importantly, you would not receive favor from the Lord if you did not know the Lord. He wouldn’t gift someone that He views as precious and valuable to someone that wouldn’t value it properly (Matthew 7:6). God will not give a godly woman to an ungodly man and vice versa. You two will be unequally yolked and it will only hinder you on you path towards God’s purpose for you. Even though Adam “found” Eve, it was really God bringing Eve to him.

The beauty behind the entire love story before the fall is that God provided all of Adam’s needs: a purpose, food, shelter, and love. Adam could not do any of it without God. If we listen to the things God has already told us and hold on to those truths we are guaranteed a fulfilling life. When we step out of that and do it on our own, that’s when we get into trouble. Single people*** remember:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

He really meant ALL things.

Turn Your Brightness Up!

#BeMagnificent🔆

***I believe this entire post isn’t just for men but women also. (Galatians 3:28)

2019: The Year of Working the Land

May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness – an abundance of grain and new wine.

Genesis 27:28

I’m not a farmer. I was raised in inner-city Detroit watching my Aunt Esther plant new flowers every Spring from the inside of the house. My time in Boy Scouts taught me all I needed to know about living in the wilderness because after those hot days fighting off the insects and a couple poison sumac scares, I relatively retired from my mountaineer days. I didn’t even have a Chia Pet as a kid. However, that doesn’t stop me from working the land.

Continue reading “2019: The Year of Working the Land”

God’s Freedom

My God is a God of Freedom. A God of Emancipation, Liberation, and Deliverance. A God of Restoration, Reclamation, and Revelation. My God is a God of Joy, Peace, and Love. My God does not settle for less but, in every opportunity, seeks to give more to those without. My God is the embodiment of new beginnings and the avenger of what is lost.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free…

Luke 4:18

If we look at the Bible in its entirety, the story of Israel from Adam until Jesus is a rescue mission. God sent his only Son to set us free from sin to embrace freedom within Christ. Over and over again we see a trend of Israel becoming a slave to a foreign nation, and their minds and hearts to be lost, and God sending a Judge/Savior/King to free them from their bondage. This is literal but also a larger metaphor for life. God intended us to have a certain fullness, freedom, and joy in our lives. Freedom in the physical, mental, and spiritual.

Father God sent His Son Jesus Christ to free us from the curse of sin, the lies of the enemy, and the weakness of the body. The Old Testament is a chronicle of how humanity, on its own volition, does not have the ability to defeat sin or maintain the virtue required for a peaceful and fruitful life in relationship with God. There might be moments of integrity and focus, but eventually, we will fade and fall victim to sin again. We do not have the ability to reestablish a connection with the Lord on our own and will be stuck repeating the same cycles forever.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Hebrews 10:11-14

Jesus steps in as the second Adam. Allowing for all of the wrath of God to be poured out on Himself, and pays the ultimate price for our sin to redeem us for all time: past, present, and future. That doesn’t mean that sin doesn’t exist anymore but now we have a way to be redeemed and returned to our Father. We have freedom.

But wait, there are moments when various biblical writers talk about being a “slave for Christ”. How do we have a God of Justice and Freedom but are told to be slaves to Him? Weren’t we already “slaves to sin” as the Bible reiterates? Yes, but the Bible uses slaves of Christ to highlight that we were bought for a price. After we were bought and paid for with the price of Christ’s death, we were free. We were once owned and bound to sin from our birth, now we are indebted and freed by Father God.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

In slavery (or indebtedness) to Christ but freedom from sin, there are benefits and responsibilities. The moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you automatically have access to multiple types of freedom. You are free from death, disease, sin, evil spirits, lack, and the world’s systems. At the same time, we are required to do one extremely hard task for the rest of our lives: Be the best representative for Christ that we can be.

Being a great Christ Representative means that we “cannot serve two masters” by still willfully living in sin (our former master) while proclaiming freedom. It also means that to be a great representative, we also must look attractive to other people to even want to be free. We have to reflect God’s goodness while showing others why Christ’s life is the example to follow. Freedom has its responsibilities but also its perks.

If you have any ideas or thoughts you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below. 

Turn Your Brightness Up!!

#BeMagnificent🔆

Self Love in A Loveless World

Love is a process.

Make a conscious decision every day to wake up and love. There are no days off. There are days where you may not feel it. Some days are easy days. Some days are difficult. Every day you must love.

This includes yourself.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Matthew 22:39

The catch is, you can’t love others like you love yourself if you don’t love yourself. But, how do you maintain yourself in a world that continuously wants to take from you?

Boundaries

After learning how to show love to yourself, you must learn how to set boundaries. Make a definite decision to be clear on your needs and wants to others. You can’t do that without the self-reflection that I mentioned Tuesday, but what does that look like with actual people? You have to

Know Yourself

There is a stark difference between being open to experiences and being open to being abused. There are new experiences that can help us grow and experiences that will take away from us. Know what things you are comfortable with and which help you grow. Also, know what things are hard on you and leave you emotionally & physically drained.

Listen to Yourself

If someone asks you to stay late at work, take on an extra assignment, or go out to an event you really have no desire to go to. Pause that moment and think about your initial reaction. Did you make the super uncomfortable face with the scrunched eyes and the uhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmm sound? Yeah, that’s you saying you don’t want to do it. Accept that and follow that desire.

Protect Yourself

This is the enforcement section. Have hours where you don’t answer your phone for work calls. Know when you have the energy for emotional labor and when you don’t. If something hurt your feelings, it’s okay to voice those things. To all of my givers out there, SAY NO!! You don’t have to do everything for everyone. No is a perfectly good answer and you don’t need to offer ANY explanation to do so. Honesty is also a perfectly good habit to build as you get older. They may not always like your answer but they will always respect it more than lying or avoiding it.

Surround Yourself

Surround yourself with loved ones. Specifically, people that care for your well-being. These are the people that will let you know if you are doing right AND wrong. They let you know when something is off and gladly share in moments with you, regardless of time.

We often want positive reinforcement and people that will make us feel good, but it is dangerous when that is all they do. If you can’t tell me that what I am doing is wrong, I might face an even worse consequence down the line and never know why.

Remind Yourself

Remember who you are. You are a child of God and worth love, joy, and peace. I will never say it will always be easy, but it is worth every second of learning yourself, embracing yourself, and loving yourself. Don’t let the world take that away from you.

What ways do you set boundaries for yourself? How do you protect your space and self? Let me know in the comments below.

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Turn Your Brightness Up!

#BeMagnificent🔆