The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”- Genesis 2
Have you ever wondered why a sovereign, all-knowing God would deliberately put a tree in the garden which was off limits to His children? If God knows everything, then He knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree that He said was off limits. The reason that God placed the tree in the garden is that He wanted Adam and Eve to CHOOSE to love Him through their obedience. 1 John 5:3 tells us that love for God is expressed in our obedience to Him. God did not want us to be robots to be programmed to love Him, rather He gave us a will to choose to love Him, but this means that there is also the choice NOT to love Him. In the beginning of all creation, God is already instructing His children about love.
1 John 4:8 tells us that God IS love. Love is not just something God does, it is who He is and by knowing Him better—we learn to truly love better. As we learn from our Creator, love requires vulnerability and by placing the tree in the garden, He gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to hurt Him through their disobedience or to love Him through their obedience. What transpires is that they disobeyed God and hurt Him—just as we continue to do so today. However, God has not changed in His way of making Himself vulnerable.
God’s vulnerability is ultimately seen in Jesus. Jesus made Himself nothing (Philippians 2) and took on the nature of a servant. He came to love us and show us the way and rather than revering Him and giving Him the glory He deserved—we crucified Him. Again, this was no surprise to God and He still chose to make Himself vulnerable because God knew that love would overcome the odds—even death itself! It is that amazing love that continues to transform the world and the hearts of men and women.
Here is a movie scene from "Somethings Gotta Give"
The lesson for each of us is this: that true love requires vulnerability. As much as we hate the idea of getting hurt—it will happen. We then have a choice to walk away and build barriers to intimacy or persist in love just as God did and continues to do today. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…Love never fails.” The world may say we are a fool to love in this way—and we need to remember that they said the same thing about Jesus. While Jesus was crucified with our hate—He was resurrected by His love. You may have been hurt by the hate of this world—but His love is able to resurrect you if you continue to walk in love—no matter the cost remembering that LOVE NEVER FAILS. Don’t let the dysfunction of others dictate how you will live your life. Rather, allow the love of the Father to redefine you and transform you as you live and walk in that love.
There can be no true love without true vulnerability—but God has your back (Romans 8) and He is the victor!
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.- Philippians 3
Dr. Rob Weinstein is an Associate Professor of Business Studies/ Chair of Human Resource Management Studies. He is the Founder and President of the M25 Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness in Cumberland County, NJ. He is also the Founding Pastor of Bethany Grace Community Church in Bridgeton, NJ.
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