As we continue our journey of taking a different look in how we view the bible, today we will examine more of what we could see in the character of God. Let’s start with a couple of different takes on what our struggle looks like as human beings.
Ephesians 6: 12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This scripture should raise so many questions for us. First, do we have free will in heaven? If the story of how satan came to be is true, then that answer would be yes. As the story goes, satan was an angel in heaven with God, but satan wanted to be God and this pride got satan kicked out of heaven for a lifetime of tormenting human beings. This raises the question of why anyone in heaven would want to choose anything that was not good, and even more specifically, why would an angel choose anything that was not good? I mean, being God’s right-hand person would be about as good as it could get, right?
Couple this with the fact that heaven is depicted as “the” perfect place, and it is almost everyone’s goal to get to heaven to have eternal peace, why would anyone want to jeopardize their place in heaven by trying to take the place of God? I mean, that’s what happens here on earth, right? Our pride and our ego get in the way and so instead trying to live like Jesus (humility, no condemnation and peace) ……
Philippians 2: 6-7 – Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
John 8: 10-11 – Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “go now and leave your life of sin.”
Colossians 3: 12-15 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
……. we want to be God (and our pride and ego take over to give us feelings of superiority, condemnation and judgement). So, now we’re going to have to deal with that in heaven as well? I don’t think that’s the heaven we have pictured, or that God has created.
Let’s Examine a Different Way
James 1: 12-14 – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
So, maybe it is flesh and blood that our struggle is against…our own flesh and blood. This makes so much more sense. The entirety of our life can be summed up in the concept of flesh verses spirit. We are all familiar with the saying, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In essence, one could say that our flesh is satan. As James put it, “we are dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires.” So, our struggle ends up being between the spirit of God, living in us, verses our own evil desires that are a product of our humanity. And the worst evil desire we have is simply selfishness. Selfishness is at the root of everything that we would do wrong. In essence, our entire life becomes a struggle between following the fruits of the spirit or following our desire to gratify ourselves.
Why Would God Create an Evil Tormentor for God’s Children?
When we look at the entirety of what God has given us to discern God’s character, it becomes easier for us to make sense of this. First, let’s start with the concept that we were made in the image of God. Then, let’s take a look at the relationship between a father and his children. Do fathers create an evil tormentor for their children, to constantly attack them and try to destroy them? Obviously, the answer is no. Fathers try to protect their children from things that would attack them and try to destroy them, not create an adversary to do exactly the opposite. In fact, fathers are there for their children to protect them (the majority of the time from themselves), teach them, guide them and help them become their own person.
When you think about protecting someone from themselves, we have all heard the saying that we are our own worst enemy. It is much more likely that this is true for our relationship with God as well. An all-knowing God would have known ahead of time that choosing ourselves, over choosing God’s spirit would be the most difficult thing we would ever face. Knowing that we would be our worst enemy, there would be no need to create an evil tormentor for us. Instead, we would be faced with the lifelong struggle of demonstrating the fruits of God’s spirit verses demonstrating the gratification of our own selfishness.
God’s Spirit Is in Each of Us
Too often God is depicted as One we would go searching for, or draw close to, or seek out. Not that this is not important for us to do, but maybe not in the way it is interpreted. Many times, this is interpreted as God being something that is outside of us, that we must go looking for or, attain a certain status, before God would dwell in us. Maybe we should take the view that God is life and that everything containing life is only alive because God is living inside. This thought would apply to human beings, to nature and to the entire universe. What is it that causes a heart to beat, enables blood to flow through a body, helps lungs process the air that is breathed and helps a brain process the information it takes in? What is it that causes a seed to grow into a tree that produces branches and leaves to provide both shelter and life? What is it that causes water to flow, or to nourish, or provide a home? The answer is God.
Without God living in us, we would be a lump of muscle, ligaments and tendons laying in a heap on the ground with no life in us whatsoever. Without God living in nature, a tree would not grow, and water would not flow. Everything that has life would cease to be alive if God were not living inside. The following verses give us insight into this.
Ephesians 4: 5-6 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
In this, we can see that God is over everything, God is what connects everything to each other, and God is in everything. In reality, God is everything. So, let’s quit letting distractions take our focus off of God and stop giving in to our selfish human desires. Instead, let’s put our focus on the attributes of God that are living inside of us, and produce the fruit God intended.