I’ve had various jobs, some paid and some not. The strangest, but probably most fun paying job I ever had, was being a Living History Interpreter at a museum. For this job I dressed as and attempted to speak like a Georgian lady living in the year 1776!
When we are faced with challenging working circumstances, we can think that having to work (both in paid jobs and around the home) is as a result of sin coming into the world. Genesis 2 clearly shows us this is not the case. In verse 7 God breathed life into Adam, then in verse 8 the Lord generously created a fruitful place for Adam in Eden, and He placed him there to “care for it and to maintain it” (v 15).
Work, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. We get glimpses of this when things are going well, our work feels worthwhile, or our efforts are appreciated. But the truth remains, work is often hard. It was made difficult and relationships are strained as a result of the fall (we will come to that later in this study). Genesis 2 reminds us that our attitude toward work should be a positive one. Be encouraged by Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people.”
Along with giving Adam a job, God gave him a command: to freely eat the fruit from all the trees except one – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was told the consequences of eating from this tree would be death.
We often focus on the one tree from which Adam is forbidden to eat and, given the consequences for us all, it is right that we do. However, we should also remember the abundance of trees from which Adam was freely able to eat. “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). We too can become focused on what we can’t do rather than on the abundance of good opportunities we have been given.
The Lord gave this command to Adam for his good, to preserve his life. So it is with His commands for us. As we read in Psalm 19, they are for our good as they provide us with wisdom and insight, are trustworthy and fair, and even make us joyful!
Do you think of the Lord’s commands like this? We often think that freedom comes from making up our own rules when, actually, freedom comes from living according to the Lord’s loving ways.
Imagine it is announced that all the rules of the road are being removed tomorrow. No longer will you be subject to the many laws which restrict what you can and cannot do with your own vehicle as you drive from place to place. You will be free to choose the speed at which you travel and the side of the road on which you drive. You can choose what color of traffic light you stop or go at. You can park where you like. Sounds great to me! No tickets and fines, and one-way roads will always go my way!
But the problem is, everyone else is also free to make up their own driving rules. You would quickly find getting from one place to another isn’t easy, as you have to negotiate around all the other road users and their own “rules.” Driving would be a lot more dangerous, as would walking near a road. It would be chaos!
Driving freedom comes when we all know and follow the rules our country has made. So it is with our lives. Freedom comes when we listen to and obey our wonderful Heavenly Father who is perfect, who loves us, and who knows us better than we know ourselves! He desires what is best for us and gives us commands for our good, to bring us fairness, joy, wisdom, insight, and moral guidance.
As we seek today to live out what the Lord, in love, has commanded us, remember the Lord’s abundant provision for you. Amazingly, we are even blessed as we choose to respond to His love in trusting obedience.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. –James 1:25
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