It is a simple question.  Where does your strength come from?  From the day we are born into this world, we start to adapt to the stresses and challenges around us.  I remember when my boys were born. Although both were an easy delivery, it was a fight. They both came out screaming.  I don’t know if I have ever heard of a baby coming out laughing or cooing.

When Benjamin was born, I remember holding him and thinking what a perfect little head he had.  As I was holding him, I noticed his little hat wasn’t on right, so I tried pulling it down.  It wouldn’t go.  As I pulled the hat off to fix it, I realized that little perfect head was cone-shaped and went all the way to the end of the hat. His struggle to make it into this world had left its mark. The point that I am getting at is that since we left the Garden of Eden, life has been a struggle.  God said that woman would bring life into the world only through pain, and man would only live by the sweat of his labor (Genesis 3:16-18).

So from the time we come into this world, it is a fight, and that doesn’t stop until we are dead. Thankfully God built us with the ability to adapt to the struggles of this world. Being a counselor, I have seen people survive in and thrive after some extremely difficult situations. One thing I have also noticed is that life’s struggles also leave us with scars. These scars are the negative adaptations we make to these hard situations. These can be things like a need to control, not getting close to others, addictions, and many other things we use to get by.  Over time we begin to believe that if we want to get through life, it is up to us to make it happen.  We must adapt and control our world, or something bad will happen.

However, these adaptations that we have were only meant to be a temporary fix. They were there to keep the lions and bears from eating us. What God ultimately wants is for us to return to the garden. He wants us to walk with Him and be His friend in the cool of the day. He provided a plan for this by sending his Son back as the second Adam. In 1 Corinthians 15:45-50 it says,

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

So our return to the garden is based on our spirit, and remaining in the world is based on our flesh. One of the hardest things in life to do is to give up our adaptations. Our whole life, up to this point, has told us that the way we have adapted to situations has kept us safe or loved. Christ asks us to give all of this up and follow Him.

What really are we giving up? What we give up is our control of the world around us.  We completely give in to His plan. We surrender to wherever He wants to take us and whatever He wants to do with us is up to Him. This is exactly what Christ did when He came to earth. He made himself a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9).  He gave Himself completely to the will of the Father saying that He came to do the will of the Father (John 6:38) “and not My will, but Thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42).

What we gain from returning to His will is His peace and the opportunity to commune with Him like Adam and Eve did in the garden. In the future, I would like to talk about some of the ways we put our will ahead of His and how we put or will back in line with His so that we can return to a relationship with God.

— Written by Jeremiah

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