Following God in Simplicity and Love
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Following God in Simplicity and Love
It is difficult to find God, particularly when He is so near and available.
The process of our relating to God is complex, when it should be so natural and simple, yet it is complicated by the contexts that we create, not to sustain our relationship to the Creator, but to support our waywardness from Him. You see, in the beginning, it was not man who sought God, but God who looked for man, who was hiding in the complications of his sin.
The basic premise of a relationship with God is that He is present, He is available and He is open to embrace us without condition. The basic premise of our accepting that available relationship is that we complicate it, and in our waywardness, run from it, building alternative shadows of relationship that are not a relationship at all, but the religious forms and supports of a human centered alternative. Simply put, we run from God and hide from Him. That is our nature and that is our history.
Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves, so that God would not see their nakedness. They were ashamed of themselves because they had rebelled against God. The hid. Cain killed his brother Abel, and ran from God. The first recorded act of Cain was that he went out… away from (an act of hiding) and built a city. We have little information about the inhabitants of that city but we do know that its foundations were in rebellion from the God who offered redemption to Cain. His alternative to God’s way was to reject the simplicity of forgiveness and the covering of God and build a covering for himself.
And so it has been from the beginning, that mankind runs from God, provides a covering for Himself and creates complicated structures, social entanglements and religious systems in an effort to be right with God, but underneath it all is our rebellion. There seems to something terrifying about innocence and standing naked before the Creator, acknowledging our need for Him.
The design of creation is that we live in the simplicity of innocence and in an ongoing relationship with the Creator. Our sustaining life source is His presence and His companionship. Although God created man with free will and a mind of his own, we were also designed to need the sustaining presence of fellowship with the Creator in feeding our spirit. Where the Tree of Life was present to nourish the spirit, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was present to give definition and contrasts that were the antithesis of innocence. The choice for us was and is, to rely, on the sustaining provisions of grace or to go our own way, figure out our own destiny and build our own purpose. In our decision to eat of that tree, we are removed from innocence and enter the arena of the government of man.
So, here we are, joining Cain in building human government, which seldom approximates what God intended and in running from our nakedness. That contrast, innocence vs. self-deprecation; the sustaining presence of God and the inverse, providing a covering for ourselves, is the history of humanity. We will never get it right in our rebellion. Getting it right is only found in the submission to the provision of God for us in redemption. He has built a covering for us, sure and eternal, available and certain – it is the sacrifice of the Lamb to provide a covering and bring us back to the innocence of His presence.
The problem is, that submission to God seems like such a terrible and tragic admission of failure and a step away from responsibility and personal sovereignty, yet it is quite the inverse. To walk in our own ways reduces our creativity, our responsiveness and our exercise of our own creative will. Partnership with God is the ongoing work of creation is the objective and the provisions of God are not to reduce our life, but to give us life; not to remove our sovereignty, but to fulfill it; not to reduce us, but to life us to partnership with Him. Our destiny in God is to be seated with Him in heavenly places, as agents of life.
The alternative is that we have to use the elements of good and evil, contrasts and self-protection, constantly experimenting with our social and governmental systems of self-covering. Those experiments, as noble as they may seem are the instruments of death. They result in the corruption of power that is removed from the Creator and plugged into the evil that led the rebellion. Power corrupts, we have been told, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is a corrupting seduction that happens in the government of man. It does not judge the intents and presumptions of human motivation, it simply works its way automatically and certainly, form innocence to corruption. It is automatic and inextricably linked to our rebellion. We go astray and are corrupted by our own arrogance. Lord Acton was right, power does corrupt.
The arrogance of power is found is every human structure. It is in civil government, the community club, the religious organization, the corporation and any structure we create. It is not that the structure creates corruption, but that the administration of the human element is corrupted by our own arrogance and we use the structures to sustain and accumulate power. We are the corrupting element. We create to corruption. We are the rebellion. We create the structures, not to benefit creation but to control.
Yet, control is essential, for the nature of humanity, under the administration of the fall and the contrasting issues of good and evil, is to follow the evil that led us to that tree in the first place. There is something Satanic in the results of following Lucifer, whether knowingly or without knowing what we do. Foundations determine outcome. If we live in grace and fellowship, the outcome is life and peace. If we live in the knowledge of good and evil, the outcome is confusion and self-destruction. And that is why we need human government, even though it is a direct antithesis of fellowship with God. We need it to keep us from ultimately destroying ourselves, even though in the end, it is destructive anyway.
The children of Israel came to the priests and demanded that they be given a king, as the societies around them had. They were not able to accept the government of God through the priesthood. They wanted the rule of human leaders. That seems to be the nature of humanity and our history. That which ultimately strips us of our humanity and freedom, is what we choose for ourselves. In our loss of innocence we wander in the fear of our own nakedness and in the insecurity of our own ability to find our way. We need a leader to show us the way. The problem is, we elect or accept leadership who promises to show us the way, but who are similarly lost and wandering. The end result is, we are never happy with the direction of the leaders and the leaders, seeing that unhappiness need to create more and more restrictions to keep the group together and to retain leadership. It is an ever intensifying and complicating process, as we move from innocence into corruption.
And so our history is littered with the dead bodies of those who create the king then refuse to follow. Corrupted power brokers come and go, but their legacy is not pretty.