Post 3, 2018
“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t it never was.” – Jess Lair
An eternity ago that quote adorned a poster of an idyllic countryside hanging on my bedroom wall. At the time, I was head over heals in love with a beau who failed to feel the same making our relationship anything but idyllic! During those tumultuous months, I often gazed at that quote and thought my world would end if I ‘let him go.’ In reality, I was far better off when I finally loosened my grasp long enough for him to escape. I had a lot to learn!
Although not a statement I’d base my entire life on, there’s some truth in it. Relationships won’t last if there isn’t commitment from both ends. Those who are willing to wait forever for their partner to come around often end up broken-hearted. At the other end, people who smother others with a steel-like grip eventually find themselves lonely.
Often, those who don’t know God speak as though following Him requires bending to His ‘steel-like grip.’ Yet, in reality, the opposite is true. God is supreme, yet as I look further at the the story of mankind’s beginnings in the garden, I see something I wouldn’t necessarily expect from a supreme being. One of the first gifts God gave those He made in His likeness and image was the freedom to pursue or reject His rule.
One of the first gifts God gave those He made in His likeness and image was the freedom to pursue or reject His rule. Click To Tweet
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:8-9,15-17 (NIV)
A TRUE FRIEND OFFERS THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE
A previous post details why God forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Suffice it to say it was for their protection. What I want to note is, through that tree God gave Adam and Eve the ability to choose either to pursue Him or walk away. ‘You can eat from the myriad of trees and plants I’ve made for your nourishment and enjoyment so you may live abundantly, or you can choose this one tree and suffer consequences beyond your current ability to understand.’ As supreme Creator, God could have made a nice comfy garden with the most wonderful foods and greatest entertainment, but with no ability to choose. God didn’t want servants or captives, He wanted friends so He willingly provided an opportunity for His friends to say “no” to friendship and His rule by eating from the forbidden tree.
A TRUE FRIEND IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE TO RESTORE FRIENDSHIP
Yet God’s love didn’t end in giving Adam and Eve the freedom of choice. God also saw the dire results of their choice, and their forthcoming inability to escape their own consequences. In amazing love, God formulated a plan to rescue and restore not only they but also their children and children’s children. The only possible rescue would be of such a magnitude so as to require the death of His Son as a ransom.
The greatest evidence of God’s love is that although we’ve rebelled against His rule and scorned His friendship, He’s made a way for us to be restored.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 6:5-11 (NLT) emphasis mine
God's greatest offering of friendship came while we were His enemies. While we rebelled against His rule, He loved us to the point of sacrifice in order to restore friendship with Him. Click To Tweet
Supreme Creator. Highest Ruler. Yet He didn’t force Himself. He offered Himself. Then in lavish love made a way for rebellious subjects to return home, through the death of His Son. Where are you today? Are you a loyal friend and subject to His rule, or are you wandering about needing God’s love to show you the way home?
True friendship recognizes that the only way to restore a broken friendship is for the one scorned to make a way for the offender to be restored. Click To Tweet
To view last week’s post in this ongoing series, click here. To view the next post in the series “A Love the Covers Shame,” click here.
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Amazing Grace! God’s amazing grace chooses to restore, not destroy
Hopeless No More! God’s amazing restoration of relationship came through the death of His Son, Jesus.
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With much love,
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