As fate would have it, my main, not to mention ‘new’, computer crashed. I awakened Saturday morning with no access to my documents and the writing I had started for the next few blog posts. However, I am not willing to lose momentum now, so, to the best of my ability I will keep my commitment to post at least once a day. In the meantime, I wait (patiently…or not so much) and thank God for my IT manager… who also happens to be my husband and best friend. If I miss a post, that explains why.
The topic of spiritual authority is one of the most important topics, not only in Genesis, but, throughout all of Scripture. Yet it is rarely taught in many Christian cultures, particularly those that want control over ‘the flock’. However, since it is God-ordained and God-given, no human has the right to take it away.
Genesis 2: 15-17, 19
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” […] 19 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 was its name.
God gave Adam authority over evil and death, and commanded him to protect the Garden from it. In the next verse it says, ‘…for Adam there was not found a help ‘meet’ (suitable, fitting, compatible) for him”, which means Eve was not yet created. This was Adam’s primary responsibility, an area he didn’t do so well. And, unfortunately, an area men continue to struggle in, because of the impact of sin, but you can change that, starting today.
Gentlemen, God has called you to protect your ‘Garden’—the place He has given you—from sin and evil, and to be actively involved in war against Spiritual darkness and attack. Control and imposing strict man-made rules are not the answer. The answer is much more personal than that. It is about entering in, hearing, praying, communicating ‘with’, not only talking ‘to’ your family. It is about bringing the power of God to your family, by personifying Jesus Christ, and His serving heart, to your family, through your love and care.
Like Adam, the temptation is to retreat, to let ‘Eve’ take spiritual leadership, or leave her spirit empty and hungry. The cost for apathy is too high, in every way. We’ll talk about that more in a post exploring Adam and the fact that he was designed for relationship, and we’ll look at how this initial authority intertwines with, and impacts relationships.
Religion, as a controlling entity and not functioning as God designed it, has stripped men of this spiritual leadership, in many ways. I cannot tell you the amount of fathers I know, who ran to the church leadership when their sons or daughters strayed from the constitution, or lived in all-out sin, because it was the easy way out and it’s what the church expected them to do. Rather than being there, they let the church deal with it. It became a battle against their children, rather than a fight for their souls. It destroyed family relationship rather than uniting them.
I’m not saying the church should never be involved, there is a time for that, but not before you have loved those children through sacrificial living. Not until you have wrapped your arms around them–or put your hand on their shoulders, if you’re not a ‘hugsy’ family–and prayed with them and for them. Not until you have blessed them and repented for your failures.
Men, your sons and daughters want you to notice them. They want you to fight for them. They want you to get your hands bloody and slay the spiritual dragons in their path. To dress the dragon right, merely gives it power, because it blends in and cannot be seen. While that can give you temporary peace, God forbid that it be given that kind of hidden power. Don’t let the external be the focus, when God has called you to fight for the soul and spirit. Yes, teach the practical ‘living it out’, by being a trustworthy example, but enter into battle with them, close up. Stand between them and the dragon, so that they are not so consumed with fighting the dragon, that they miss connecting with God.
And, finally, allow your children to battle with God. No one gets closer to God, than the one who wrestles with Him. To wrestle, one must touch, and to touch God is to experience life. It is the young man or woman, who has never wrestled with God, who is most at risk of never truly knowing God. And it is much safer for them to wrestle with God, than to wrestle with the enemy or even a religious system. God has their best interest at heart, in the purest sense.
If you have never wrestled with God, if you have been so busy wrestling with religion or fighting with your family that you have neglected to ask God the hard questions, as King David did, then start there. When you wrestle, you give your wife and children permission to wrestle and you give God permission to be God.
Men of God, will you stand once again in the authority God has given you?
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/