Friday, March 27, 2009

A spiritual soap box...should I apologize beforehand?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " Genesis 3:1-3 (NIV)

The dialog between the serpent and Eve once again struck a spiritual nerve of mine, rooted in conviction from the Spirit. Many of us have heard one of the important messages drawn from this story of Scripture, that being of not engaging in conversation with the enemy. By listening to the enemy in conversation, we may already be giving him power, for his words are death, not life.

I do not propose the following as the main exegetical idea of Genesis 3, but God has mercifully struck me to the core with it: Talking to and with God is imperative to our abiding in relationship with Him, rather than talking about God.

I wonder what the 'Fall' story would have looked like had Eve done a couple of things differently. Her response is painfully void of the relationship she actually has with her LORD God. First, just as the serpent deliberately avoids using God's personal name Yahweh (LORD) when he addresses Eve, she responds in exact fashion. Though brought to life by His very hands, she does not use the more intimate name of her Creator. Secondly, Eve talks about what God said (though the words are marred by her human modifications) rather than turning towards God and discussing with Him the previously uttered words. Sad day...

I do pray that we are demolishing arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5) through the use of Scripture and prayer. His Word is our offensive weapon against the enemy. But sisters, I hope we are not skimping over the very relationship in which we know God! We can attempt to stand our ground against the enemy all day long, but if we are not standing our ground in the Holy of Holies to start with I don't think we're going to last very long!

It is frighteningly easy to behave as Eve did in her response to the enemy's deception. We can respond immediately back to that liar, foregoing dropping to our knees in spirit, calling on the LORD by name, and allowing Him to bring back to mind the truth of what He has said in His Word. Perhaps what has been more disturbing to my spirit, in a most holy of discomforts, has been the propensity for this type of action in my own spiritual world. I love getting to talk about my Jesus with you siestas, with my girlfriends over the phone, and with my man. If anybody has the capacity to listen to me, it is one of my unspeakable joys to boast in Him through verbal or written word. He has just been so good to me; I need others to fall in love with Him. It's that simple. But, my blogging about Him does not equate itself to my being in unveiled constant communication with Him.

It is our blessed position as a child of God to 'cry out to God Most High, who fulfills His purposes for us.' (Psalm 57:2) We can draw near to the throne of grace, for we have a Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). Oh sisters, I plead with you to remain bowed down before Him, speaking to Him, before we run off speaking to others about Him.

In continuity with this privilege of speaking to our Jesus, might I add our need to listen to Him before going to hear of Him from another?! Y'all, you know that I am the biggest fan of learning from others, be they teachers, pastors, theologians, your very own child, writers, or those your elder. For crying out loud, I went to seminary for nearly two years, and could not write notes fast enough of the professors whose classes I had the privilege of attending; they are spiritual heroes in the faith to me, their lives sacrificed and dedicated to learning and teaching.

But for a plethora of reasons, my generation in particular falls into the hole of dashing off to the next conference, bible study session, or iTunes teaching for their spiritual health as opposed to the living and God-breathed words of the Bible sitting before their laps. We are 'fans' of Mr. So-and-So, or Mrs. So-and-So. My heart beats for us to be 'fans' of Jesus instead. Just as we are given the privilege to talk to God, we are given possibly the even greater privilege to hear Him. Ours is a God who speaks. His chosen possession, the Israelites, were marked time and time again by their ability to 'Hear oh Israel...' Girlfriends, He wants to reveal Himself to you. I pray we seek His voice before another's. And I pray we learn to talk to Him as well before we find ourselves only talking about Him. I fear if we don't, we place ourselves at risk of paraphrasing His truth in an impersonal way, tainting it in our fallen fleshly state, and naively believing that we are powerfully defending the enemy.

Dear sister, take your rightful inheritance as the child of God that you are. Call on His name. Hear His voice that created the very heavens and the earth, and then speak humbly back in response. He disrobed Himself of His glory to give you such access. Those of us in Christ have the miraculous privilege to dialogue with the One whose Words never fail.


Toknowhim said...

"And I pray we learn to talk to Him as well before we find ourselves only talking about Him; I fear if we don't, we place ourselves at risk of paraphrasing His truth in an impersonal way, possibly tainting it in our fallen fleshly state, and naively believing that we are powerfully defending the enemy, or encouraging a friend."

Wow, you sure make me think...What a gift the Lord has given you to be able to make these kind of points... I totally can fall into this trap, and I don't want to any

No need for apologies on this end :)

Anonymous said...

You remind me of a modern day Paul, and I love it. This blog makes me smile. And I know if it makes me smile how much more is Jesus grinning? Totally! I come here because I like to read about the true Author of Romance whether it be in your stories about your man or your first love who it is so apparent means the world to you. Reading this has inspired me to have carpet time with Jesus. Just wanted you to know that.

Natalie said...

As always, my friend, thank you for allowing the Lord to use you. By writing this you have challenged, inspired, and prodded me. There's nothing I could add to this post except Amen.

Ang baylis said...

It's great to have you back, Shelly!
Love to you,
Angie xoxo

Patty said...

Amen to that!!

I think one of the ways we insult God is when we go to everyone else and go to Him last or at all.

I thank you for for writing this and it has helped me or I should say God used your post as a confirmation over a matter in my life. Being careful to listen to God and his leading. Believing what God says about a matter over other's opinions.

Love you!

Lindsee Lou said...

In your words:

Sister, you know my heart and I could not agree more. And I am so guilty. I pray our generation gets it right, starting with me.

Love you!

P.S. I know we partially joke about this "ministry" thing, but, could it one day be a real thing? Still thinking on it...:)

mandy said...

Dang Shelly.

Tammie Head said...

Thank you Shelly for your kind words on my blog! You are so sweet!

Blessings to you today ♥,

Meli n Pat said...

I've just come upon your blog. I have enjoyed my first glimpse of your blog and heart! I have to say, I'm jealous of your opportunity to take seminary classes! I live vicariously through those I know with that privilege! I agree that studies should not be the end all of our pursuits. I love that the studies that I do lead me deeper into the Word and help to decipher what I read and go fuller into the context of what the author was trying to convey. For those of us without the lexicons and commentaries it allows us to fully experience the Word. I do know that we can get caught up in the emotions of conferences and specific studies or authors. If they don't bring us to the Word, but just to study, it's a quite a ploy the enemy can use to distract us. You give wise caution. I love the visual you prompt for me to bring my study to Jesus and let Him direct my thoughts/actions/words. Thank you!

darla said...

Please do not apologize.. =)

loved this so much, i came back to read it the second time! i have missed your writing, so glad you are doing it again. love you princess!!!

Fran said...

"my heart beats for us to be stinking 'fans' of Jesus instead"

Can we talk about this one some more??? I'm on this one too sister.

Love you much Shelly.

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Kelly S. said...

yes my friend....good word.
Psalm 27.7-8 NLT
Hear me as I pray, O LORD
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming".

Thank you Jesus.

Toknowhim said...

Hey sweet friend...

I just wanted to say thank you so much for stopping by and leaving encouraging words about praying for my mother... I could just picture you praying for her :)

Blessings and love ya, Kim

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

I love your blog...This post gave me something to think about.

Hope you can stop by my blog. I am going to have a "card box" giveaway every month. This drawing will be the last day of April.
Every comment you leave throughout the month will enter your name in the drawing, so if you visit several times and leave several comments, you will have a better chance to win. This NEW blogger was so touched by all the comments I got on the Blog Party, that I decided to make this a monthly GIFT...
Also, if you link to my blog telling about the monthly giveaway, you will have your name entered 10 extra times...How is that for an incentive?
I was so blown away by all the responses that I wanted to email each person personally, but TIME... just has not permitted..but I did love reading all of them..I am continuing to introduce my family members and then there will be some fun blogs coming up from Disney World in May. I am so thankful for all my new friends.

Profbaugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Profbaugh said...


How timely is your response! Man, I just love it when the Holy Spirit moves like this.

Thanks seems like such a small response. But just as I sometimes don't have the words to pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to intervene, I'm hoping that He'll move through these words to touch your heart with the gratitude I'm sending your way for this post.

You're one wise woman!!

Love ya,