The clear and present danger of strength robbers and grave diggers

By: 
ED DELPH, Church Community Connection

As I write this article, I’m looking at a post I put on my Facebook page last night that people are responding to like crazy. The post says: “Aha for today — If you think you have blown God’s plan for your life, God has news for you … YOU’RE NOT THAT POWERFUL.”
Today, let’s revisit the Garden of Eden. Everything God created was good, except for one thing: Adam was alone. This was “not good” for man. God’s goodness provided him a helpmate … someone to have a relationship with … someone to help him to guide, guard and govern the garden. After the creation of Adam and Eve, God pronounced everything was very good. 
Adam and Eve were unashamed. They were rightly related to God, each other and the earth. Everything was good because God is good.
But something happened that was not good. There was a different voice. The Bible calls him a serpent. The serpent proclaimed to Eve God was trying to withhold something good from her. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from one tree in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because they would die. God was trying to prevent them from dying, aiming them to the Tree of Life. The serpent was trying to entice them and murder them.
The liar scorned, “Hath God said?”
The serpent enticed Eve to question God’s goodness. “God’s not good. God doesn’t want you to know what He knows. If you eat of that, you will be God, too.”
Every graveyard on earth is evidence of God’s telling the truth. God was trying to keep them in the “graceyard,” not graveyard. They ate the fruit. Adam and Eve didn’t die instantly. It would be even worse. They would die slowly. Their relationship with God would die slowly. Their relationship with each other would die slowly. Their relationship with the earth would die slowly. The strength robber and grave digger won this round and it was going to be slow and painful.
After the descent of man from the Tree of Life to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, things started changing quickly. Adam and Eve moved from unashamed to ashamed. They learned they were naked. They went to Macy’s and bought some fig leaves.
Next came guilt. They hid because they felt guilty. Then came human fear of God. They hid behind a bush and hid from each other.
Then came blame shifting. Adam blamed this on God. “God, You’re not good. You gave me this woman.”
Then Eve blamed the serpent. “God, You’re not good. The devil made me do it!” Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Other fallen emotions after this were denial, gender warfare, pain, domination, hard work and misery, alienation, jealousy, anger, murder, inferiority, segregation, prejudice, playing God over other people, and revenge. And what I listed above is just in Genesis, Chapters 3 and 4. Strength robbing and grace digging behaviors cause people to underachieve, living significantly below the level they were created to live. 
How did all this drama begin? By instilling the thought in two human beings God is not good.
One author says this: “The beginning of every problem in the history of mankind is the belief that God is not good.”
How do you overcome strength robbing and grave digging thoughts and voices? Rather than listen to the “Hath God said” mantra of voices who just talk to you, listen to the God of the Word who walks and talks with you and live by that voice. You will have the strength to overcome the guilt of the past, the boredom of the present, and the anxiety of the future.
While what we are going through may not seem good to us at that moment, we can go forward into the future because we know in our heart “all things will work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.”
Remember, God is good even when what is happening to you seems bad. Say to that voice saying God is not good … you’re not that powerful.
To learn more about Pastor Ed Delph, the Church-Community Connection and Nation strategy, call 623-376-6757, e-mail nationstrategy@cs.com, or log on to www.nationstrategy.com.

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Peoria Times
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