Genesis 3:1-21; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
In one of his first hit songs Why Georgia, John Mayer asks the question: “Am I living it right?” In the song, he is
driving up 85 in the
kind morning that last all afternoon
just stuck inside the gloom
Four more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
and leave it all behind
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in the gloom…a cloud of frustrations and sufferings? Do you ever wonder if you’re living it right?
How did we get to the point where our lives and our world are so gloomy, a world where children aren’t safe on the street or even sometimes in their own home? It began with a question.
In the garden, the crafty serpent had questions for Eve. He tempted her to question what God really said…he tempted her to question God’s love for her (as if God was holding out on her). In her heart she questioned whether God was doing her right. And as she questioned sin trespassed into God’s perfect creation leading Eve to disobey the Lord and take the forbidden fruit. Adam followed. (Gen 3:1-21)
When the Glory of God confronted the gloom of their sin there was conflict, their hearts were filled with fear for the first time. The fear turned to shame, the shame quickly turned to blame.
Don’t underestimate the danger in that snake and his crafty questions.
Years later the crafty serpent’s questions continue to tempt God’s people to trespass his will. He questions our identity and tempts us to question God’s love.
If you are a child of God….
Then why is it that you’re not rich?
Why are you sick?
Why are you so angry?
Why are you so rude?
Why are you ashamed to tell people about Him?
Why don’t you want to spend time with Him?
Why don’t you ever talk to Him?
Why isn’t sharing him with others a priority in your life?
Why are the Ten Commandments so hard to follow?
Why aren’t you living it right?
As God’s glory confronts our sinful gloom it creates a similar reaction to that of Adam and Eve: flight or fight. Like Adam and Eve, we’re afraid and want to run and hide from our problems. We hide in denial, depression, or perhaps a cloud of drugs. Like Adam and Eve, we react by fighting, blaming others for our problems: It’s those republicans, those democrats, my parents screwed up my life, my kids are unruly, my boss is a jerk.” How do you react to the gloom in your life?
But just as shame turns to blame; dust will turn to dust. The soul that sins is the soul that dies. Now that’s gloom that cannot only last all afternoon but all eternity. Are we stuck inside this gloom?
Jesus took three disciples up out of the gloom of this world to a mountain where He showed His glory and was transfigured before them (Matthew 17:1-9). God met them in the cloud. His cloud of glory confronted their sinful gloom. Like Adam and Eve they were terrified (perhaps Peter really wished he had built that tent so there would be a place to hide). But as God spoke to these sinful men, he did not ask if they were living it right. Instead he gave them the answer. Speaking of Jesus, He said:”This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” In other words: He’s living it right…for you!
Though he was tempted to trespass just like all of us, Jesus lived the perfect life that Adam and Eve did not, the perfect life you and I don’t live.
Still, Satan questions Jesus’ identity: “If you are the Son of God…tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered “It is written (God’s Word says): Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He is the Son of God because God’s words said so at his baptism, not because he can change rocks into food.
Again Satan said “If you’re the Son of God jump of the top of the temple. God wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you (he even twists a Psalm to fit his argument). Jesus responds with the Psalm’s true meaning “It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Mt 4:1-11)
Realizing Jesus was secure in his identity as the Son of God he tried a new strategy. Satan tempts Jesus to bow and worship him in order to leave the suffering of God’s plan behind. Jesus rebukes him saying: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
Jesus lived it right!
He lived it right and took our gloom upon himself. Dying on the cross he took the blame and the shame so that we could share the glory of his resurrection. God’s glory shines through our gloom and burns it off as the sun burns off the fog of the morning. With Jesus’ resurrection, our God was saying once again, “This is my Son whom I love, with him I’m well pleased, listen to him.”
As we take comfort that Jesus lived it right for us, let’s not forget to listen to Him; ‘for man does not live on bread alone, but every word that flows from the mouth of God.’
God’s Word says you are a child of God: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” (1 John 3:1). Listen as God says we don’t have to fight or give flight, but be forgiven and forgive as we have been forgiven. We know that because we have sinned “dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19), but in Christ God says “…by the trespass of the one man death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as closing time approaches, there is no question about it. You are children of God, because Jesus lives…and he’s living it right in you!
Have a great day in the Lord!