Read His Words Before Ours!
I think the Garden of Eden must have been paradise for those who are averse to crowds. Since Adam and Eve were the only humans on the planet, I cannot quite picture one of them mumbling, “I hate crowds.” Unless, by chance, a cacophony caused by all the animals Adam had recently named counted for crowd noise.
No large groups of people rushed to and fro on their way to the market or gathered close to hear someone speak as Adam and Even walked with the Lord in the cool of the day. (Genesis 3:8) But, in those evening times of sharing, five distinct persons were present, three of whom are found within the single triune Being of the three-in-one God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 clearly states there is only One God.
“The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
This truth is reiterated across Scripture, but we also discover this One God is revealed in three distinct persons as God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. All three persons dwell in unity as the Lord God; all three were present in Eden.
I can only imagine the community Adam and Eve shared with God in the Garden.
Abundant peace! Flooding Love! All shared so beautifully!
How glorious it surely was to interact with the Lord before sin marred everything!
There are four Greek words for love: eros, storge, philos, and agape.
Eros is sexual and romantic.
Storge is felt for family.
Philos is shared between friends.
Agape is Divine love poured out through self-sacrifice.
The Triune God is Lord of love, it is His DNA, and He created us to both give and receive it, mirroring how He shares self-sacrificial love even within His own Being.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
“God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him [. . .] We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:16, 19)
Adam and Eve were the first humans to experience love and, to borrow the wording of Genesis, they saw that love was good.
Adam and Eve were the first husband and wife.
Scripture lists their children as Cain, Abel, Seth, and other sons and daughters.
The Lord walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden and talked with them directly.
However, out of His love, the Lord did not destroy them, even at the expense of His connection with them and the eventual sacrifice Jesus would make to restore our access.
Regardless of the type of love demonstrated, one common denominator is present: more than one person. This means that when the Lord decided to make man in His image, humanity was crafted for community.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’” (Genesis 1:26, emphasis mine)
The Trinity is on display within the first chapter of Genesis!
God as Father, Son, and Spirit dwell in perfect community, and we are invited and challenged to foster healthy community as well with divine agape love as our foundation.
A common cultural mantra is “Love Wins.”
Yes, yes it does.
But not according to the world’s definition of “winning”.
It’s not the selfish love of one having her every whim satisfied, but a love reflecting Matthew 22: 37-40.
“He said to [the Pharisee], ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets depend on these two commands.’”
Every interaction we have with another person is a chance to grow in agape love as it undergirds every other type of love and reflects the beautiful, sacrificial love of the Triune God.
Before finding ourselves incredibly overwhelmed at trying to muster up this kind of love on our own strength, remember this love is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) We are to love with and through the help of the Holy Spirit.
In order to effectively love others in community,
we must first be in community with the Lord.
Lord, we need more of You. We need Your ability to love those around us.
Holy Spirit, please cultivate agape love in us. Empower us to love like You
when it hurts,
when it’s scary,
when we’re tired,
when we’ve been wounded,
and when differences threaten to divide us by prejudice.
**Please note we do not advocate remaining in unsafe, abusive relationships. Setting healthy boundaries is also a demonstration of love.
Lord, we will continually fail without Your help; we need Your help when we inevitably fall short. Help us to love enough to ask for forgiveness, pour out grace, listen to understand, extend forgiveness, and to seek Your face for wisdom in our relationships.
You crafted us for community.
Helps us to experience this by drawing close to You and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
For Your Glory.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!