Summary: I wonder how often we try to hide from the fact that we've made a mess?
“Getting A Clue: Why Is My Life Such a Mess?”
Gen. 3:1-24; 2 Cor. 5:11-21
One of our daughters-in-law has an exotic bird named Charley. For fun our son taught Charley to say, “I make a mess.” Charley may not always say it at appropriate times, but at least there are times when he admits to the reality that he does, indeed, make a mess. Have you ever made a mess? Why? Did you have to clean it up? Often little children make a mess in a room and when mom or dad query, “Oh my! Who made this mess?” the child answers ”I don’t know?” I wonder how often we try to hide from the fact that we’ve made a mess. What about the mess the world’s in? How did it get from the gorgeous Garden of Eden to where it is today? Who made this mess? Do we dare admit it? Do we have to clean it up? Is there any hope?
Let’s first examine OUR PROBLEM. God had placed Adam and Eve in total paradise – a wonderful, beautiful world in which to live and with a wonderful, beautiful relationship with Himself. There was total beauty, peace, and harmony. But it didn’t last. Then the Bible gets right to the point. The serpent, the representative of evil, challenged Eve to disobey God by eating fruit from the one tree God had said was off limits. Verses 5-6: Satan said, “”For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” They sinned. And as much as we’d like to blame them for the mess we’re in, we cannot. We’re a part of the mess. The basic problem is that WE, too, DESIRE TO BE LIKE GOD. In part, that’s good - the Bible urges us to be God-like, to be godly in our character. But we want to be like God by being in charge like God. That was part of Satan’s ploy: "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (5) God gives us assignments - we fail; God gives us boundaries - we cross them; God gives us rules - we break them. We do not like to be told what to do and what not to do. Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Wet Paint - Do Not touch?” What did you do? Admit it - you touched it. You want to see what happens! We do not like to be told, “Do not...!” We want what we want when we want it. And we especially want what we cannot or do not have! WE WANT TO DRAW THE BOUNDARIES AND MAKE THE RULES; WE WANT TO BE GOD.
How often have you succumbed to this desire? What is your forbidden fruit? What is one thing you do not or cannot have that you crave so desperately? Someone else’s spouse, job, house, position, popularity or recognition? What is the one boundary you’re tempted to cross? Carrying out a dishonest but profitable business scheme? Getting an “A” by cheating on a test? Having just one more drink? Lying on your resume so you can get the job? The reality is we do sin; we are sinners. WE ALL SIN. We sin because we’re sinners.
Adam and Eve may have been the first, but we all sin. Genesis 3 could just as well have used our names. Isaiah drove home the point (64:6): “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Paul said it even more bluntly (Rom. 3:23): “...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God...” As Helmut Thielicke reminds us, “…anybody who raises the question of how evil came into the world is turning the question away from himself. He wants to find the original cause of evil. But an evil that is caused is no longer an evil; it is only a fate, an inevitable process…”(i) Forgiveness and grace can mean nothing to us unless we understand we are sinners who desire to be like God.
The Bible, appropriately, moves directly from our problem – that we are sinners – to OUR PAIN. When we sin we do, indeed, see with new eyes. Verses 6-7: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked…” Because we see with new eyes, WE EXPERIENCE GUILT AND SHAME. We find it hard to live with ourselves. No one needs to tell us to feel guilty - no one told Adam and Eve they had sinned; they knew it. Verse 11: “And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"