Adam’s father was perfect, and yet…

It is characteristic of American culture, and increasingly by extension American Christianity, to view life and temporal prosperity in it as accomplished through the successful execution of specific formulas. While there are certain areas of life where formulas produce success, for most people this is usually most readily seen in areas where we are dependent more on the immutable laws of nature.If you burn more calories than you eat for a long enough period of time, you lose weight. If you get enough sleep for enough nights you tend to be less fatigued. Some formulas work.

When human nature is added to the mix, however, the wheels can fall off no matter how well we execute the formulas we believe will produce a spiritually superior church, happy marriage, or well behaved children.

Most Christians have reduced the Bible to a formulaic rule book. If you’re not prosperous, you haven’t worked hard enough. If you don’t have a blissful marriage, you weren’t a submissive enough wife, or you didn’t lead well enough as a husband. If your children are not walking in truth (in ways that compel others to compliment you on the way they turned out), you didn’t “do” Proverbs 22:6. If you did, you didn’t do well enough or consistently enough to produce the right results.

There seems to be a total disconnect from the reality that God has given husbands, wives, and children all the same opportunity he gave each of us; the choice to choose the right way and walk in it or not. We thrive on the belief that when things turn out well, we can take some credit for it. We are very careful to give proper lip service to God for His word and its formula that we followed so well, but we cannot resist the urge to determine that what has gone well in our lives is because of our innate goodness or execution of the formulas. In other words, God couldn’t have done it without us.

Where parenthood is concerned, even as someone whose children are regularly commended, I have always felt sub-par. All of our children’s best character traits are easily recognizable as having come from their father, or as gifts from God that they seemed to have come with standard. All their worst traits? Those seem most easily recognized as having come from their mother.

As a wife, however, wallowing in haughtiness comes easy to me. I *get* how to be a good wife, or at least that’s how I used to view my wifely tenure; as perfect execution of the Biblical formula to be the perfect wife.  See? I recognize the tendency. None of us is immune. The trick is being willing to recognize it and shut it down.

None of this is to say that what we do doesn’t matter, or that there aren’t directions on how to live given us in the Bible. Of course we are supposed to study and obey. This is to say however, that when we think that we have the power to direct how others act or turn out, we have gone far afield of the message of Scripture.

Enter this message from Voddie Baucham which I listened to over the weekend. Twice in fact, because it’s that good. Bro. Baucham reminds us that we are all just sinners in need of redemption and that whatever good we do, if it’s not done to the glory of God, or we are tempted to take any credit for it, we are back to square one. Square one is our need for redemption because the minute we say, “I did X and my children turned out God fearing, obedient people as a result” or “I did A, so my marriage is the best one I know of bar none” we are guilty of the sin of pride. Time to confess. Back to the cross we go.

One of the best parts of his talk is indicated by the title of this post. If there were anyone who was graced with perfect everything (parenting, surroundings, companionship of the Lord Himself), it was Adam and Eve.

And yet…

Listen to the sermon here.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Adam’s father was perfect, and yet…

  1. Couple of thoughts:

    1. The sermon is short, so please listen and if you do, let me know what you thought. I’d love to delve into it with someone because my man (who invited me to listen to it) and my kids are probably worn out, LOL.

    2. I have read several books over the past few weeks and haven’t written reviews for any of them on my Reading Room blog so I suspect over the next couple of weeks, posting here will be very light as I get into the book reviews. Multi-tasking has never been my thing so if I’m writing here, I’m not writing there, and vice versa. I love to write however, so in a few days, I’ll probably have some new stuff up over here:

    https://terrysbookobsession.wordpress.com/

    Like

  2. Some of the best people I know had kids who had serious periods of rebellion or made major life errors. Did they parent outside the nurture and admonition of the Lord? No. I know some amazing people whose parents I wouldn’t shed a tear for if I found out they were dead. Choice is.

    I’m pounding this “where do we come in” thing out on some rocks right now insofar as my faith walk is concerned, so glad to get the extra input. So far, I figure it’s a lot like salvation. We show up to make the choice, God does the rest. We show up and obey. We show up and pray. We show up and do our best… but we’ve got no power in ourselves. We’ve got no goodness in our flesh. All we really have is that free will.

    Or, as Charles Stanley used to say, “Obey God, and leave the rest to Him”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m “pounding this out on some rocks” as well. For a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that I find mountains of pride and self-congratulations in some areas in my life.

    And then, there are things that I think I *should* be, *should* have done, or *should* have mastered by now. What is wrong with me? Why do I still struggle with this, that, or the other? I could go on and on but the bottom line is that I am far too tempted to praise myself for what goes right and far too inclined to beat myself for my lack of spiritual progress based on a metric I have set rather than anything I would find in the Word. Where, in other words, is the intersection between my effort and a faith-driven confidence that he will complete the good work He work He began in me?

    Also, the real and true reason why -and YES, this matters even though some might say “whatever”- so much of the good things in my life were good was because I was focused on the end (pleasing my man as a singular focus for example) and not giving much thought at all -if any- to pleasing God. The good news is that the focus on pleasing God often falls right in line with what I was doing before but the difference now is that He gets the glory rather than me giving myself credit for the results. I could go on with other examples but since this is the area I am most associated with in my writing, I used it as an example.

    That was long, rambly, and possibly incoherent but even that is apropos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, and this.Yes to this:

    Some of the best people I know had kids who had serious periods of rebellion or made major life errors. Did they parent outside the nurture and admonition of the Lord? No. I know some amazing people whose parents I wouldn’t shed a tear for if I found out they were dead. Choice is.

    Like

  5. I’m pounding it more because I hang out with the Pentecostal folks, and lovely people though they are, the theology can stray perilously close to “if you were faithful enough…” and I *know* that’s not how it works, if nothing else, because we aren’t promised this life will be a field of flowers. (Errors in American Christianity, type 1 each).

    We are all affected by the choices of other people, that suckage of original sin and its ripple effects. We are all *ultimately* affected by what God allows (or does not allow) into our lives. He’s sovereign.

    Therefore, simply logic will tell you that the results don’t only involve ME and what *I* do, or don’t. My life is a compound effect of the choices of those around me, my own choices, God’s permissive will, His immutable will, and my environment.

    Even so, even so. I struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Everyone, everyone, I say, needs to read and seriously think about the Book of Job. Job hunting, indeed.

    As a Catholic, of course, I highly recommend St Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on Job, but Job itself is, in some ways, the “Gospel” of the Old Testament.

    And, as people are wont to say, “Job did nothing wrong.” And God’s answer satisfies him!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “If you don’t have a blissful marriage, you weren’t a submissive enough wife, or you didn’t lead well enough as a husband.[…]
    There seems to be a total disconnect from the reality that God has given husbands, wives, and children all the same opportunity he gave each of us; the choice to choose the right way and walk in it or not.”

    Well said. I do not believe that anyone can be such a good leader that all would be motivated to follow. Instead, people often go their own way because they have free will. Only tyrants, dictators, and similar always have others behind them. But they are not following, are they?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is very true, and in the context of marriage, love has no interest in being dictatorial anyway.

    There seems to be an acute lack of ability for people to find the balance between the two extremes.

    It doesn’t mean not holding frame, or pulling metaphorical punches when the truth needs to be told or issues addressed. My husband has zrero problem with any of that, but he is also very loving.

    And I still don’t submit to him “perfectly”, as if that’s even possible. The fact that I desire to and make a genuine effort goes a long way, however.

    But in both our cases, we can at any juncture choose to do the wrong thing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s