Original Environment, Original Couple, Original Family
By Bishop Mark J. Chironna
Founder & Senior Pastor, Church of the Living Edge, Orlando, Florida
Foundation Scripture: Genesis 2:18-25, Galatians 5:22-23
Sunday 14th May 2017
There is that saying that says: ‘if you do not succeed, try, try and try again’ but I would change that to: ‘If you do not succeed, go back and read the directions’. I remember buying some toys for my kids, while they were growing up, that had to be assembled. I tried assembling one of the toys without reading the instruction manual, and ended up with an incomplete assembled toy.
The scripture is an interesting book – it is not a set of precepts and principles, but rather a series of narratives put together to form a grand story that culminates in Christ. We also need to learn to connect the dots to Jesus in scriptures from the beginning to the end, in order to interpret the story correctly.
In discussing what it takes to create a wonderful godly family, we need to go back to the original story in the book of Genesis. Let’s read Genesis 2:18-25: ‘And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.’ Let's also read Galatians 5:22-23: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law’.
When Moses wrote the accounts of the book of Genesis around 1500BC, centuries after the events had taken place – and thereafter the events in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, to help a community understand who they are, so as to understand what their potential is and realise it. Here is a truth to mull over: ‘If you don’t know who you are, you will not know what you potential is, and what is achievable. Ultimately, you will not become all that God intended you to be!’
The reason why Moses wrote the Pentateuch was to help reconstruct the narrative of a people who had forgotten who they were. It brings to mind the story of Simba in Lion King. Rafiki, the monkey brings Simba to the water, where he sees a reflection of his face, and recollects the image of his father when he was a cub (His father had died when he was a young cub and Simba had no idea, until he looked in the water that he had grown a mane). Soon afterwards, His father speaks from above, saying to Simba: ‘Remember, who you are!’ – sounds very much like the gospel! Proverbs 27:19 put it this way: ‘As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person’ (NLT).
When Moses comes along to liberate Israel, from the oppression of 430 years of slavery, the consciousness of the minds of God’s sons and daughters is anything but the original mindset that God created. So Moses intention in writing these books was to give the Israelites a picture of what originally was – the Original environment, couple and family. In other words, he was saying: ‘If you do not succeed, go back and read the directions’. He did not intend to prescribe a formula; instead, he presented them with a story. Their misguided understanding of who they were – Kings and Queens instead of slaves, meant that they could not instruct their children to see themselves as royalty. Besides this, they could not treat each other with the original dignity that God had intended from the start.
When we read Apostle Paul letters and come across his revelation that the husband is the head of the wife, in the same way that Christ is the head of the church, we can misinterpret that statement unless we understand it within its original context in the Garden of Eden. Being the head of the home is not the same thing as having dominion. A wife is a helper, fit for her husband. The word ‘helper’ is called ‘Ezer’ in Hebrew and it is the same word that David used in describing the Lord in Psalm 54:4. It reads: ‘Behold, God Is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.’ In other words, God is not subordinate to us, but rather He makes up what is lacking in our lives, and completes what is needed in our lives’. As heads of the home, every man needs a body! Headship is not about controlling or manipulating a wife. Christ’s example of headship is worth emulating – He loved the church and gave Himself for her.
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in an optimal environment for fruitfulness, abundance, increase and overflow. Although blessed in that environment, they soon exited the place because of their disobedience. Abundance eventually became scarcity that becomes accentuated down the lineage, as slaves in Egypt.
In God’s recovery program, every family is meant to be a prototype of the original Eden – hence the reason why we pray ‘thine kingdom come’. Every family within the local church is a microcosm of the local church, and an outpost of God’s original intention – a garden and not a ghetto. In ghettos, there is violence, shouting, hatred and all kinds of behaviour that leads to disruption. In the Garden, there is abundance, prosperity, peace and love. All Adam needed to do to experience optimal blessings was pick up precious stones from his environment – onyx, bdellium, gold and all other precious metals. The reason why God brings a man and woman together is such that they may experience all the blessings that Heaven can afford to give them on earth. Here is the reason why Psalm 68:6 reads: ‘God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy’ (NLT). The greatest resource is not what is in the bank, but rather what is the hearts of each member of the family.
The Lord doesn’t give us the power to get wealth, as many of us tend to quote Deuteronomy 8:18, but rather to create wealth. The real wealth is the ability to create wealth, within each of us. God has prebuilt and invested in each of us the capacity to for creativity and innovation. Each spouse must realise that they possess royal inherent wealth and together as a couple are a potential fruitful garden. Jesus put it this way: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit’ (John 15:5). In the Garden are various kinds of trees, from which Adam and Eve can partake.
Listen closely parents: Let your children know that the moment they cross into your home, they are walking into God’s heavenly kingdom, where all things are possible and there is an overflowing abundance with nothing lacking in their lives. Apostle Paul picks up on the tree metaphor and says: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law’. In the garden, there were fruit-bearing trees. These showed up on the third day. Remember also, that Jesus resurrected on the third day – he was crucified on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, on the third day, he arose as the tree of life!
The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit makes fruit-bearing possible – with the foundation being love. Love is a decision, not based on feelings. Love is followed by joy. Eden was described as the garden of delight and pleasure. When visitors enter our homes, is the first thing they experience joy? A home takes on the characteristics of its inhabitants. The building of a Spirit-filled congregation definitely takes on the ‘energia’ of God within its four walls. Each home ought to be a mini-replica of a church and an outpost of Eden, such that visitors on walking through your doors experience the love, joy, peace and blessings of God.
In a marriage, most arguments are often the same, repeated over and over again under different circumstances. However, God wants us to be authentic and transparent to one another as couples – with a home full of the joy of the Lord, rather than resentment, frustration and bitterness. We must always remember that we’ve been delivered from the power of sin, but the presence of sin is still potent and crouching at our doorsteps. Our attitudes either close or open the door to sin, giving room for ‘hiding and hurling’, bearing in mind that we are always in the supernatural state – regardless of our spiritual or natural disposition.
Here are four ways to keep God’s original environment in our homes:
(a) Confess your ingratitude for what’s getting in the way of your joy: Our Christian lives are meant to be marked by gratitude to God. We are called to give thanks in all things. Whatever it is that is getting on our nerves should be placed before God in confession.
(b) Cultivate a heart of thanksgiving: A heart of gratitude is vital to enjoying the blessings and presence of God in our lives.
(c) Remind yourself of who you are: Each of us is God’s royal son and daughter, not a slave. We’ve been created in the image and likeness of God. Our internal environment ought to be characterised by humble gratitude to God for the grace and opportunity of sitting together with Christ in heavenly places. Royal personnel always act differently.
(d) Remember who your children are: Our children will not always get it right. Always remember that the Christian life is not a set of rules and regulations, and so give room for grace with them. They are sanctified because of the covering of God that they enjoy from you as a parent. Let the consciousness of the truth that you and your household will serve the Lord, spur you towards praying for them and encouraging them, when they have occasional lapses of insanity. If you are royalty, then your children are royalty too – so treat them as such!
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