SELF-AWARE OR GOD-AWARE?
The first thing the guilty pair lost in the Garden of Eden was their God-awareness. They were driven to hide from God because they knew they were naked. Did they suddenly become naked after their disobedience? Were they aware of their nakedness because they had no clothes on or because their spirits were naked before God? Why did they hide? Did they think that God could not see them or would not find them?
It seems that self-awareness overshadowed their previous God-awareness. They were conscious of themselves in a way they had not been before. Sin had turned them inward. No longer was their untainted fellowship with the Father paramount in their minds. They were afraid of Him because of their guilt. They had become slaves to the fear of punishment. From that time on, God-awareness was buried under a load of self-awareness and self-absorption.
Jesus, on the other hand, had a God-awareness that manifested as early as the age of twelve. He captivated a group of religious leaders with His questions in the temple, to the extent that He was left behind when His parents set off home after the Passover. His mother’s rebuke surprised Him when they found Him in the temple. Didn’t she understand that He must be about the Father? What other twelve-year-old would be consumed by a passion to be involved with stuffy old men who spoke nothing but religion? Would he not rather be out playing marbles with his friends?
Not Jesus! He was about the Father. Everything He was and said and did, He related back to the Father. He was sent by the Father; He came from the Father; He spoke the words and did the works of the Father and He would return to the Father when His work was complete. He lived in obedience to the Father and He did only what pleased the Father.
Jesus did not waste His time debating issues with the religious leaders on the grounds of what the sages had said. He went straight back to the Torah. What did the Word have to say? It was the Word that had the final authority, not the opinions of men, even if they were the wisest and most respected scholars of the day. He walked in the light of the Word because it was the Word of the Father, and He expected His disciples to do the same.
He had a passion for the Father’s glory. Let me give you two examples:
Jesus and His disciples were out walking. They encountered a blind man on the road – probably begging by the wayside. His disciples questioned Jesus according to their philosophy of suffering, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?”
Jesus’s response was typical!
‘Neither this man not his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’ (John 9: 3)
Eugene Peterson understood the significance of the NIV’s more conventional translation:
‘You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.’ (John 9:3, The Message)
What a way to look at adversity! Not a catastrophe but an opportunity! Jesus looked at everything through the Father. Nothing was coincidence or happenstance because God was there in the midst of it and, given the chance, He would reveal His glory in it.
On another occasion, Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan, waiting for the right time to reappear. The Pharisees wanted to kill Him but it was not yet His time. He had thrown the merchants and money changers out of the temple, arousing the wrath of the religious leaders, and He had to withdraw for a while to let things cool down.
While He was there, He got news that His friend Lazarus, was deathly sick.
When He heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ (John 11: 4)
Did you get that? God-consciousness! Nothing happened apart from the Father, as far as Jesus was concerned, not even sickness. Every bad situation was an opportunity for God to reveal His glory – His mercy, remember? It all depends on one’s perspective and one’s expectation. If God was there and God was in it, it must, in the end reflect back on Him.
Instead of hurrying back to Bethany, Jesus lingered where He was for another two days. He said that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death. Lazarus did die, but that was not the end. Lazarus had to be well and truly dead, decaying and stinking, in fact, so that there would be no doubt that it was God who raised him to life again. Imagine the risk Jesus took in letting it go that far. He was so secure in His awareness of and confidence in God that He could trust the Father to show His glory by raising a decomposing body to life.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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