Summary: How do we overcome the fears that threaten to ruin our relationships in life?
Today we want see how God can transform relationships. We want to look at fears that ruin relationships and how to overcome them. To do that, we’re going back to look at the first man and woman.
God made Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden, a perfect paradise. Now, after each day of creation, God pronounced what He had made “good.” But concerning Adam, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So God made woman! God made Adam out of the dust, out of dirt. And then He created woman from the rib of Adam.
I understand, by the way, that this is why men don’t mind getting dirty. Men are made of dirt, so we like dirt. But woman wasn’t created from dirt. Woman was taken from man’s rib. Not from man’s feet so he could lord over her; and not from his head where she could lord over him. But from his side where she would be his equal, his partner, and from close to the heart, because the wife is to be loved by her husband.
Things were great as there was no sin. No sadness, sickness, sorrow, suffering, deceit, manipulating, or jealousy. They had a perfect
relationship. But when sin entered the world everything changed.
Satan lies to Eve and says “Did God really say that you can’t eat from any of the trees in the garden?” But God hadn’t said that. He said you cannot eat from one tree, but everything else you’re free to eat from. God wanted a real love relationship with mankind; and love that is not freely given is not love at all.
Then Satan said, “God’s lying. You won’t to die if you eat of the fruit of that tree. In fact, you’ll be as wise as God. You’ll be a god!” Every temptation comes down to this. I want to be God. Satan never tempts us to be like himself. Nobody would do it. But Satan says do this because you know better than God. Because God really doesn’t want you to be happy. You should do this because you know what will make you happy more than God does. And Eve fell for that line. (READ TEXT)
Now, when sin entered the picture, we see three basic fears that pop up in every single relationship today.
1. Fear of the shame from exposure - vs. 9-10
The phrases, “I was afraid” and “I hid” go together. Fear always causes us to hide. Notice also the phrase, “I was naked.” Now, Adam and Eve were literally naked.
Columnist Lewis Grizzard said the difference between being naked and “niked” is that when one is naked, they don’t have clothes on. But being “niked,” means you have no clothes on and are up to something. Adam and Eve were definitely up to something.
You see, nakedness here is also highly symbolic. Nakedness speaks of being exposed and vulnerable. You are never more vulnerable than when you’re naked. So Adam and Eve were afraid and they hid.
What are you hiding because of fear? What are you pretending not to know? What are you pretending isn’t a problem in your marriage? Your relationships? Are you hiding because you’re afraid - afraid of facing the truth, afraid of exposure? When we’re afraid of nakedness, afraid of vulnerability, afraid of being honest, afraid of letting people see us as we really are, my fear of exposure makes me distant.
Because of fear, Adam and Eve covered themselves from one another and they hid themselves from God. And God asked two questions: “Where are you?” and, Why were you hiding?” Now, whenever God asks a question, He already knows the answer. He wasn’t asking for His benefit. He asking for Adam’s benefit. God wanted Adam to face what was wrong and quit hiding from the truth.
Transformation only happens when you admit things aren’t what they should be. When you’re in denial, there’s no room for transformation. Improving my relationships requires honesty with God and others.
2. Fear of rejection from disapproval - vs. 12-13
Adam and Eve went from hiding to hurling; from excusing themselves to accusing others. You see, my fear of exposure makes me distant and my fear of disapproval makes me defensive.
The more critical a person is, the more perfectionistic, the more they put others down – the more you know they fear disapproval. That’s how it shows up. That’s how it showed up in Adam and Eve.
In verse 12, we read that when God called Adam out that Adam took it like a man – he blamed his wife. Actually, he blamed God. You gave me this woman. If you hadn’t made this woman, all would be well. It’s all her fault. She got me all messed up. But Eve wasn’t any more willing to accept responsibility. In verse 13, Eve said, “the devil made me do it!” So Adam blamed his wife and Eve blamed the serpent.