Text: Genesis 3:6-10 (HCSB)
1) “Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2) You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.” Psalm 139:1-2
Intro: Childhood memories; remember as a child thinking there was a place where you could go to hide and no one could find you? Something I remember growing up: (I guess that is a blessing for me that I remember something of my childhood!) I remember hiding when I found that Mom and Dad knew! (You know they knew!) I am sure many of us remember times we tried to hid or avoid something? Many adults still believe that! However there is no place you can hide where God doesn’t know. According to Genesis 3, God met Adam and Eve each afternoon for a walk. But then they sinned and hid themselves in the bushes. Ever since, human beings have moved farther and farther away from God. This avoidance of God is our spiritual disease. We are all in the bushes because God makes us uncomfortable.
Since the beginning of mankind we have been trying to Avoid God!
1. Avoiding God! Vs 8
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
They Sinned and Hid themselves.
What comes to mind when the scriptures say they hid themselves: GUILT!
Spiritual Disease: How often are we told that this illness has no cure, or this is a disease that will stay with you? (Spiritual Disease) This is a disease that can be cured. This avoidance of God is our spiritual disease. We are all in the bushes because God makes us uncomfortable.
This allergic reaction to God is not limited to the ungodly. The history of Israelis a record of repeated running away from God. Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote in one of his psalms, “Where can I flee from your presence?”
Attending church and all sorts of religious activities can have the appearance of seeking God when in fact it is another means of avoidance. Rousing worship services full of inspiring music and moving prayers are not enough to overcome this. Nor is being doctrinally correct a guarantee that we are OK. In fact, all of these can be dangerous, because they allow us to cherish the illusion that we are spiritually growing when in fact we are in spiritual darkness. Isaiah wrote about outward forms of religious practice, “These people...honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. Isaiah 29:13 (NLT)
One of the seven deadly sins that Christians in the Middle Ages feared was sloth. (Inactivity laziness idleness) Thomas Aquinas an early church father: defined sloth as “sorrow about spiritual good.” It is a joylessness about God, who is the source of all joy. It is despairing passiveness that gives up on seeking God. It is a cold sin that has passed beyond disobedience and rebellion. Sloth is what happens to us when we avoid God and then pretend that we are still religious.
Since the beginning of mankind we have been trying to Avoid God! While God has hoped we would:
2. Accepting God! Is the opposite of Resisting God.
“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” Psalm 139:7 (NLT)
While there is something deep within us that longs for God, we sometimes avoid him as well. During a counseling session, a young woman came face to face with her avoidance: “I’m not sure what I am upset about, but I know it has to do with the way I see God,” she said. “I realized that I keep God at a distance. I want to know him, but I don’t. It’s like Jesus is standing at the door of my life and I have it open just a crack. If I open it all the way, I am sure that he is going to burst in and tell me I have to be a nun. I hope that if I can just keep his laws and don’t look at him directly, then maybe I can still live my life the way I want to.”
There are various reasons for avoiding God:
We feel guilty and are afraid to face him.
We are disappointed by him.
We are angry at him and feel that he has let us down.
We are afraid that he will make unreasonable demands on us.
If we are to grow spiritually, we must be able to discern how we avoid God. One of my personal patterns of avoidance is the “just a minute” syndrome. When I sit down to read Scripture, my eye will catch a magazine article or newspaper that I want to read. I put down my Bible, telling myself I’ll get back to the Scriptures in just a couple of minutes. But somehow I never do. Another of my patterns is the “I’m too busy” syndrome. Initially, my excuse is that there is too much to do today, and I’ll get to it tomorrow. But “tomorrow” turns out to be a couple of weeks.
Accepting God is living daily for God!
Since the beginning of mankind we have been trying to Avoid God! While God has hoped we would accept and give:
3. All for God!
They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. What do you honor God with? Your presence Sunday Morning from 11:05 until that preacher quits talking and you’re quickly out the door?
The compulsive busyness of our culture is also a means of avoiding God. Most of us spend forty to sixty hours a week at work. We spend another ten to twenty hours in front of the television. Details of living like paying bills, keeping up the house and chauffeuring children eat up the rest of the week. Even as we maintain such a crazy pace, we lament it. Why do we drive ourselves? It’s just another way to avoid a divine encounter. If we ever slowed down, the presence of God might just begin to get through.
Slowing down and getting quiet then is just what we must do. As we practice quiet time, we begin to counter spiritual apathy. As our churches encourage us to move beyond being busy with Christian activities and understand the faith as more than Sunday worship, they will become powerhouses for God. God is there to meet us if we open up.
Vs. 7 “At that moment, their eyes were opened”
To give all to God you must avoid: Temptation
To give all to God understand the four T's
A. The tempter. Satan (sometimes it’s us)
B. The target. The mind, deception: Eve’s eyes open to power, having more
C. The tactic. Hold true to God’s word
D. The tragedy. Give place to the devil instead of holding on to God!
Psalm 53:2-4 (HCSB) 2) “God looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise and who seeks God. 3) Everyone has turned aside; they have all become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one. 4) Will evildoers never understand? They consume My people as they consume bread; they do not call on God.”
He knows: Psalm 139:1-5 (HCSB)
1) Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2) You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. 3) You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. 4) Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. 5) You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.
Approach: Make a list of things that come between you and him. Lift each one up to the Lord and ask him to take it.
If we are to grow spiritually, we must be able to identify and eliminate the ways in which we avoid God. What patterns of ingrained avoidance do you see in your own life?
What difference would it make in your life if you stopped avoiding him? Slowing down and getting quiet that is just what we must do.
Get out of the Bushes
You can’t hide
You can’t run away
In : Sermon
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