When the man, in the story I shared in the preceding posts, saw through the shallow answers of religion, and the devastating impact of Spiritual Abuse, he stopped working on his ‘to do list’. He took ownership and allowed God His rightful place. He stopped looking to humans, stopped seeking their opinions, and looked to the real God. And there he found peace in spite of his struggles.
You see, the things that religion–as an end unto itself–has to offer, merely serves as a cork to stuff down the real issues and the real struggles, a way to ‘manage’ sin. (And God help us if that cork ever breaks loose!)
The man’s desire for companionship was God-designed. (Genesis 2:18) In the first part of this verse God acknowledges a ‘problem’, when he said, “It is not good that the man should be alone”. But before God solved that problem, He had already given Adam the tools He would need to make the solution effective, by giving him an inner identity.
If the solution was what the bishop recommended for the man in the story, then God would have made a few simple adjustments to His Creation and, rather than saying, ‘it is good’, He would have said, “there, that’s better!” But He didn’t.
In that moment God made one life-defining proclamation, “You were made for relationship.” And He said it to men first. Women, by nature, are very relational and, while some men are as well, more often than not, they are less relational and a bit more ‘I can make it on my own’ minded. To reach out for relationship has, tragically, been viewed as a sign of weakness. Especially acknowledging a need for help in anything to do with the inner man, anything that is not about chopping down trees, building decks or going fish, or slaying dragons, and that type of thing.
That, my friends, is a lie the enemy has imposed on men, and society in general. God created men for relationship. In Genesis 1 the creation account is told and in Chapter 2 it is retold with focus on some of the more intricate details. In Chapter 2 we see that God placed Adam in the Garden, to tend and keep it, and gave him permission to eat of all fruit in the Garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The onus was on Adam to give leadership and in that moment in creation, God gives Adam his manhood. And that foundation is what I want to focus on for a few minutes, because everything else hinges on it.
This ‘defining manhood’ all happens before Eve is created—a critical detail. This is the ‘redeemed warrior’ side of man. Adam’s first responsibility was a combination of keeping the Garden and taking Spiritual leadership; to cultivate the Garden, name the animals, and protect the Garden from sin and evil. Only after giving this command and giving Adam this inner identity as a provider, naming the animals and tending the Garden, and protector—spiritual warrior—does God bring Eve into the picture.
Understanding the order of things in Genesis is critical to solving the problem of the church today, and what has happened to men because of ‘the system’ of religion and spiritual abuse.
In the next few posts, we will look at the Genesis story and establish a few basic facts, as clearly outlined in scripture, about God’s view of manhood, leadership and relationships. The beginning of creation, when it was just God, Adam and Eve, things were more perfect than they have ever been since. It stands to reason that we should return to Genesis, if ever we want to be restored to the pre-Fall state, and let God be the Father to men. All of scripture will back up anything we learn in the first few chapters of the Bible. To say it is not relevant, and we should go only to the New Testament and learn from the Apostles, is nonsense. The Bible is not self-contradicting, but rather, self-supporting.
Everything God commanded Adam to do, or what he did by default—nurture life, live in relationship with God and man, and engage in spiritual war—Jesus also lived-out in His time on earth. He was a man among men, swimming upstream, rowing against the tide, taking a stand against religiosity and daring to walk a lonely road, to get His hands bloody—literally—to reclaim what is God’s.
A leader among leaders, a warrior among warriors. That was Jesus. And He did it all for love, never wounding but always healing, never tearing down but always building up. He left everyone better than He found them, if they gave Him permission to impact their lives.
Gentlemen, God is calling you back. Will you forsake all, to answer, and give him your full attention? There is power in His plan, if you are willing to release control and abandon apathy.
God’s heart is crying out to His sons, as it has through the ages, “Rise Up!” He is looking for Joshua to stand up again and declare, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served […] or the gods […] in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Will you accept the call?
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to First Post In This Series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/