Letters on Spiritual Formation #5
Belief Will Drive Your Actions - Part 1
This is article is part of a series of letters on spiritual growth and maturity. To read the previous letter in the series, click here.
Rewind a couple millennia, you are Adam and Eve in the garden.
No, scratch that.
You are the dust of the earth about to receive the living breath of God.
He has shaped and molded your physical expression and is about to breathe life into your members. As his breath courses through you, thought life begins, your heart begins pumping, blood is coursing through your veins, your eyes flutter open and you see this incredible being hovering over you ensconced in pure, white light. His eyes dance as flames and you are captivated by him.
Some time passes and he has given you assignments to accomplish: you are to subdue the earth and name all the animals. In this naming you discover something unique to you, loneliness. You realize that none of these animals are suitable to walk beside you in this calling. So this being of pure light does something incredible. He causes you to sleep and pulls from you that desire for another and creates and fashions this other from something deep within you. Suddenly you are no longer just you, but you are two, and you are one.
You have come to enjoy your experience together in this lavish garden. There is fruit everywhere, the animals cooperate with you. The earth yields itself to you. And you walk with this being of pure, white light every day when the evening breeze passes through the garden. You are content.
One day, as you and your perfect mate are walking amidst the garden you come across a tree, a tree that this light-being warned you about. He spoke of it as a tree that contained the full knowledge of good and evil, concepts that seem very foreign to you. As you pass this tree, your perfect helper notices one of the animals hanging from its limbs, it is calling to both of you.
Adam and Eve, the snake calls, Come here!
You walk over and address the snake, Snake, what are you doing in this tree?
Oh, this tree? The tree this light bearer warned you about?
Yes, why are you hanging in its branches?
Oh, I just couldn’t resist this fruit. Don’t you see it? Doesn’t it look lovely? I wonder why the light bearer would tell you not to eat it? That doesn’t seem fair.
You hadn’t thought about this as there was plenty to eat of from the midst of the garden. But it was true, why had he done such a thing?
The light being told us that if we eat of it we will no longer live in this world.
Did he really say that? whispers the snake. Surely you would not die if you ate of this tree. It is merely a tree. In fact, if you eat of it, I am sure you would actually become like him! That is why he would never want you to eat it, you would become just like him, and he does not want that.
Slowly doubt creeps in. Was the light-being good in what he had commanded? Was he really looking out for and protecting us? If we eat of this and become like him, surely that is something that he would desire for us!
And slowly, you and your mate take and eat of the tree that the light-bearer warned you of and you are changed forever. In a moment you discover that untruth will drive you to sin. You have discovered deception.
It was the twisting of the perception that Adam and Eve had regarding themselves and regarding God that caused them to fall. This twisting changed their belief structure. This was what pre-empted the introduction of sin to humanity. What they believed to be true drove their actions.
There are two fundamental beliefs that drive our lives:
1. Who you believe you are.
2. Who you believe God to be.
These two beliefs will drive everything you do, because what you believe has the power to become truth to you.
And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5
Satan challenged these two beliefs that are core to each individual: “Has God said you would really die?” (who do you believe God is) and “You shall be as gods” (who do you believe you are). These two beliefs are remarkably similar to the testing of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan says to Jesus twice, “If you are the son of God…” This was exactly what the Father had said to His Son at the baptism, that he was the son of God.