When Adam surrendered to Eve’s suggestion of the forbidden fruit, after Eve surrendered to the suggestion of the serpent … the struggle with sin began.
But what was the “Real Struggle”? I once had a man, well meaning, come into my office in St. Louis and say “Pastor, you don’t preach about ‘sin’ enough.” I looked at him in disbelief and asked what he meant. He repeated his desire again for me to speak more about ‘sin’. Well, I manuscript all of my messages and I was preaching through the book of Romans. So, I pulled out my previous few messages and referred to some things about sin and pointed to a section and said “that’s sin”, and another section and said “that’s sin”. But he said, “no, ‘sin’, like lying and immorality, and murder, and abortion …” and he just had a long list. I redirected and said “Oh, I thought you were talking about sin.” (He looked confused) And I continued, “you are talking about sins”, and he said “yeah, ‘sin’”.
And there is often the problem. We don’t focus on the Real Struggle. When Adam and Eve sinned, they opened the door to sin. The world wasn’t full of all the evil ‘sins’ we know today, nor even the ‘less than evil’ sins. I don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the world before that fateful day, but there was NO sin, and so no sins. So that day when they sinned, the issue was and remains, who will be ‘god’? Oswald Chambers in my utmost for his highest says “the disposition is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the dispostion of self-realization – I am my own god.”
You see before that act, there was only The Lord as God. The very thought that we could even do differently than he had instructed had not entered into our consciousness. But the Serpent planted a seed of doubt and possibility that we could be god. satan always called into question the goodness of God and the Word of God. He said to Eve “Did God say that you couldn’t eat from any tree.” “No just this one tree, if we eat IT we will die” … But satan countered “you won’t die, you will become like god.” And there it was. The ONLY act at his point that was possible to be called sin, was the act of taking up the role of determining right and wrong, taking up the role of lord, and deciding for myself what I will do.
So, both Adam and Eve, instead of putting to death that thought, they gave it life and found “yes, I CAN become my own lord, i can be my own god.” But Oh the consequences when we take that road.
So it is for us the daily struggle, the Real Struggle is not with actions that we call sins, but it is an attitude of rebellion or an attitude that acquiesces, that is accepts, even reluctantly, the rule of Jehovah God as Lord.
It is as I am crucified with Christ that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me … then and only then, I find that the life I live is lived by faith in the goodness of the Song of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
It is in coming after him (Luke 9:23) in denial to self,to the way that I want to go, that I take up the cross and follow him. Taking up the cross is not about suffering and sacrifice, though that often comes with it. No, taking up the cross is about surrendering to HIS will, HIS way, HIS plan, HIS purpose.
The Real Struggle is in putting my hand to the plow and not looking back (Luke 9:62)
Eve and then Adam followed their own desire instead of the will of God and so the Real Struggle allowed every other sinful action to enter the real of possibility in life. Praise Go that He didn’t leave us to the consequence of that one sin though.
Romans 5:18–21 (NIV84)
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
the Real Struggle, moment by moment is about Lordship, who will be God?
It is about surrender
It is about the salute to the higher rank and authority
It is doing an “about face” to follow the plan of God
When once that decision is made, when that conflict is settled, obedience leads to life and peace with God.
Peace with God over lordship, leads to victory over the sins that so easily entangle us