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by Mike Mattice
7/14/2007 / Worship
Prior to their disobedience, Adam and Eve enjoyed daily intimacy with God. He literally walked and talked with them in the beautiful home He'd made for them. They knew Him as a faithful companion. He was a loving Father, teaching them all about the world He'd created just for His man and woman.
And as any loving parent would do for their precious children, the Lord instructed them about the rules and the consequences for breaking those rules. As human parents, we can encourage our children to do what is right. We can tell them about the bad things that could and will happen if they do wrong. But, we cannot make them obey.
Some children choose to be well-behaved, and are a blessing to their parents. Others seem naturally inclined toward rebellion. A loving parent instructs, encourages, and warns the strong-willed child; but unfortunately, sometimes the child makes bad choices anyway. And, although it breaks a father and mother's heart, they must allow their progeny to suffer the consequences of their actions.
There certainly is no parent more loving than God. Despite His warning, Adam and Eve chose to disobey. The resulting consequences have affected every person since then. But even for His first man and woman, God provided a covering of mercy, and began the workings of salvation.
We might ask sometimes, "Why is the world full of so much temptation?" God created humanity with the unique ability to choose. He offered to Adam and Eve two specific options: the tree of life, and the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They knew nothing of evil until they had eaten in disobedience. He gave them choice, as He does to all humanity. A slave obeys because they have no other choice. But the Lord did not create us to be slaves. He wanted friends. If you hold a gun to someone's head and command them to be your friend, they will likely be nice to you (as long as they are at gunpoint), but they will not be your friend when you put down the gun. God treasures the chosen friendship. Jesus said we are His friend if we obey Him. So, we will always be offered the choice to please and serve a loving God, or go our own way.
I have labored thus far to establish God's desire for us. Why would the Creator and Sustainer of the universe care so deeply for us? We are His only creation specifically described as being made in His image; and also to have the breath of God ("breath" and "Spirit" are often interchangeable words in the original language). He has done everything conceivable, and much we don't understand, to restore us to fellowship with Him. He hasn't changed the rules, but personally fulfilled the requirements, so that anyone could come to Him.
He loves us; even though He knows more about us than we do about ourselves. He knows fully all of our flaws, selfish motives, deceits, and everything we have, or will ever say, do, or think. Yet, mystery of mysteries, He loves us!
This great unfathomable love for us is unchanging. That can be hard for us, in these modern days, to wrap our minds around. Simply, we do not deserve God's love. Nothing bad (no matter how much we may anger or sadden Him) that we might do can stop or decrease His love for us. And likewise, no good works, or prayer, or obedience, or anything else good we might do can increase His love for us. What we do or don't do is actually irrelevant to the question of God's love. Nothing can change the steadfast love of the Lord, or separate us from it. It is completely unconditional.
From the depths of His love for all of us (even the worst of us), God extends His mercy and grace to everyone. However, we still can choose that tree of life or the tree of death. He wants all to choose life, but it really is our choice.
So, what does all of this have to do with worship?
We can choose to love, serve, and bless God. He has promised to come live with and within those who choose Him. He will walk with us and talk with us. We will become His children. We will know Him.
I am 47, and live in Ravenna, Ohio USA. I am a writer, musician, Bible student and sometimes teacher. I am a parent and grandparent.
Part of my calling is to present, through writing and teaching, what the Lord teaches me.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! Click here and TRUST JESUS NOW
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