My brother Chris and I have a Bible Study group on Facebook called the Barnette Bros Bible Study. Last week Chris was asking what the correlation between sin and illness was. To answer that question I was reading about the fall of humanity in Genesis 2 and 3. Reading the story of Eve giving into the serpent’s temptation I realized that Eve was pretty in tune with what God had spoken about eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
It’s pretty wild if you track through Genesis you find that God created Adam in Gen 2:7, and spoke the warning about the forbidden tree in Gen 2:16-17 before Eve was even created in Gen 2:20-23. Yet, when the serpent tempts Eve in Gen 3:2-3 she quotes God’s warning directly to the devil.
Genesis 3:2-3 (ESV)
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
And even under the threat of death (did you catch that, God said that if they ate the forbidden fruit that they would die, the inference being that if they did not eat they would not have died),
…Eve ate the apple.
Pretty scary stuff to think that you can know what you should do and know everything “good” and “right” and still end up with a death sentence.
How about you? Do you think about dying when you sin?
Grace and Peace.
When I was in the 10th grade we had to study William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”. One of the assignments we were given was to memorize Mark Antony’s funeral oration. It is the famous speech that begins “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…..” As the speech carries on it gets to a part where Antony addresses the possibility of Julius Caesar’s ambition. One of the main reasons Caesar was assassinated was because the conspirators in the Senate felt that Caesar was going to make himself king and rule as a tyrannical dictator. Antony says it like this, “The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious, if it were so, it was a grevious fault“.
Whenever I think about ambition I inevitability return to this idea that being ambitious is a negative character trait. I always conjure in my mind someone stepping on someone else to get to the top. I tend to shy away from ambition because it seems to cater to the selfishness inside of me.
I guess what spurned me on to blog about ambition was a podcast I was listening to dealing with biblical manhood. The podcast was dealing with the qualifications for overseers in the church. It was highlighting 1 Timothy 3:1-7. What is interesting is what verse 1 says about ambition.
1 Timothy 1 (ESV)
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (Emphasis mine)
Wow! Check that out. Aspiration to be a leader in the church is a noble tasks. If you unpack it more you notice that aspiration to be a leader in the church follows aspiring to be a good leader at home.
So whats’ the take away? For me, it’s a reminder that there are broken concepts in the world that are modeled on the perfect concepts that exist in the Kingdom of God. I feel ambitious from time to time and maybe that is not a bad thing. Maybe I need to set my ambition not on the next job promotion but rather on the way I lead my family and the way I help advance the Kingdom.
I think another thing worth noting is that Kingdom ambition plays out quite differently than worldly ambition. Jesus as our perfect example was ambitious to do the will of the Father. He was ambitious to show strength in servitude and submission opposed to entitlement and domination.
It seems like it always comes back to looking at Jesus to understand how we should act and really how we should live. I am thankful for His example.
What about you? Are you ambitious?
Grace and Peace,