All Men are Created with a Specific Design Purpose and Mandate.
We have unique character attributes and inherent responsibilities that are built into our DNA. In today's show, we are going to take a look at how to harness this unique ability that all men are charged with. We're going to examine the consequences of not fulfilling it and what happens when we choose to not embrace the responsibility that God has given all men.
What is the business of man? Let’s address something that all men must do that we see this right from the creation account. If you are new to the blog you will want to check out God’s Commands For Man where we examine four specific commands that God gave man in the garden, a quick recap on those are
- Be fruitful
- Replenish the earth
- Take dominion
If you hear be fruitful, multiply, and replenish, and you're thinking that's only procreation and repopulation of the earth, you are missing the fullness of that command. You can watch and read God's Commands For Man
We have been examining this relationship we have with God. We know God is sovereign. We also know we have a free will and we have responsibility in this relationship to our Creator. We are going to discover two specific responsibilities that are inherent in the nature of man.
“then the Lord, God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
We see two attributes evidenced right here. God placed Adam in the garden to cultivate and to keep. The first thing we can notice is these are not commands.
These are two charges or two responsibilities that all men carry.
They are not specific verbal commands, like the four commands we reviewed above. Man was put into the garden to cultivate and keep, it's a responsibility. Notice it's not a command, it's a role, it's a duty, a job, or we could even say, it's his business. This is a picture of stewardship with these two roles that Adam must be responsible for. So, let's break these down and let's look at the first word., cultivate. It is translated as ‘working’ for Adam in the garden. It would have pertained to tilling the land, laboring, working and serving. It was good that man would not be idle.
Let’s talk about work for a moment, think about the scene here. Adam is in the garden of Eden, which is literally paradise on earth before sin entered the world. We can see that even though he's lounging in paradise, God still gave him this responsibility that he is to work the land. This sphere that he was placed into, even though he's ruling over it, it does not alleviate him from his responsibility to work. What is the implication for us as men right now? We are to be working wherever we are. God built this responsibility into Adam, it was not good for Adam to be bored. It was not good for Adam just to lounge around.
When men get bored, things get bad.
Think about it for a minute. Guys. How many bad decisions have you made? Because you were bored.
How many things didn't get done, because you had a passive approach, a passive mindset, or your lounging around and you find yourself in a place of boredom and it takes you into this place where you no longer are being productive. You're not doing what you're supposed to do and it leads down this slope where we can easily make bad decisions that take us into bad territory.
We can see this from God's design for Adam before sin enters the world that he still is charged to work. It's still a responsibility that's given to him. You might be climbing the ladder in the corporate arena. You might be punching a clock. Doesn't really matter what you do. We all live and work in the real world. In future shows and articles, we will be addressing issues that affect you and me in the real world as modern kingdom men. We will be going to go deep into work, the roles, the responsibilities, and discover and examine the biblical perspective of work. Jesus has a lot teach us about a man and his work. For now, I want to look at some key responsibilities that Adam had in the garden. There are three things that Adam was charged to do. He had a will to obey. He had a work to do, that's the word cultivate and he also had a woman to love; a will, a work and a woman.
God placed Adam in the garden to work and to keep. Let's take a look at what ‘keep’ means and what that could mean for us today. Here is the simple definition of ‘keeping,’ it is to protect, it is to guard, or tend to, another way to say it would be ‘to put a hedge around.’ Man's duty was to keep and preserve the garden from intruders. We also see from this command to keep, that it is the first hint that man has an enemy and that God has an enemy. Why would he need to put a hedge around and protect something that God placed him in into if it wasn't open to an intruder, or if there wasn't the possibility or potential of an intruder to break into this sphere.
We know what happened next, Adam did not keep, he abandoned this charge. He abandoned this responsibility and he actually does more than just abandon it he deflects it. If we break down the account of the temptation in the garden, we know that Adam and Eve gave in to sin. Adam, was charged with responsibility, but Satan, the tempter appears and leads them into doubt, doubt turns into disobedience and it results in disloyalty.
Adam was given a very clear responsibility, remember that word keep meant to put a hedge around. So here's the way we could say it. Adam, keep the walls up, build the walls around your house. Watch, look out for invaders, protect and keep your family safe. We see that Adam did not do that.
Here is a question: When did Adam actually sin?
I'm proposing that Adam sinned before he ate the fruit, he allowed the gate to be breached and he abandoned his call before he took a bite of the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 3:6 let’s discover where Adam is when Eve was tempted.
"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate. And she gave to her husband who was with her and he ate."
Adam was right next to his wife while this whole thing was happening. If this isn't a picture of a passive man, I don't know what is. The first man placed in the garden with the responsibility and the charge to protect and to keep, to be aggressive, to watch out, to be a defender and instead he lets an enemy intruder, enter his house and speak to his wife. Then he crosses the boundary and actually engages in this sinful practice with his wife.
Where he was passive, he should have been aggressive. This is the role of the protector.
This is the role of the defender and where he was passive. He should have rose up and cut off the head of the snake. He should have been aggressive to attack the intruder but instead he placates and he goes along with this whole scenario.
Are you passive in your life right now? One of the first things we should do is pick up the mirror, take a look and ask, do I see this attribute? Do I see this characteristic or this tendency within myself? How can I make a course correction based on what I see here, do I need to change something? Do I need to self-evaluate and step up in my areas of responsibility? Adam abandoned his post of responsibility and to compound this issue look at the way he responds to God. Once he makes a mistake, he slips into this passive bored state and lets this whole thing play out in front of him and then engages in a sinful practice. After this he skirts ownership.
There is a beautiful picture in the story even though Adam and Eve sinned, we have a picture of God seeking the sinner. He's still calling out to them. "Where are you?" He's finding them in the garden and He wants to still have fellowship and communion with them. He's calling their names and as He reaches out to them, Adam has an opportunity. He already fell, he already sinned however, he has an opportunity to show an attitude of ownership, to confess his sin, to show some level of brokenness and humility in his bad decision-making. He could have exhibited ownership of what just happened and what he allowed to happen on his watch but he doesn't.
So what we see by the way Adam responds is something we can see in the way all men respond. We see that Adam deflects, he's half-hearted in his approach and he shifts responsibility. It's actually pretty astonishing, he says to God, the woman you gave to be with me gave it to me. He deflects back to God that it's almost your fault because you gave me this woman, I was just listening to her.
Let’s examine the pattern. There are three keys for us to learn from. Let's look at the pattern.
Adam abandoned his work and he became complacent. The charge was to cultivate and to keep, to work and to protect and to labor and to defend, he doesn't do that. He was lounging around, he became complacent. His attitude is completely passive. It led him into this bored complacent state where he goes along with an enemy intruder who is now speaking with his wife.
Adam let his guard down, he becomes passive when he's called to protect.
He disobeys, he ducks and he deflects. Remember God had to go looking for Adam. Adam was hiding. Eve was hiding. They were ducking from their responsibility. When he's confronted he deflects. He disobeyed, he ducks and he deflects.
How may this pattern be showing up in your life? Adam abandoned his post of work. He abandoned his responsibility and it led to this scenario and not having a mission in life, not having a clear vision will always lead to you becoming passive. It will always lead to this place of boredom, frustration and mediocrity. If you're not standing for something you'll fall for anything.
In general, as men we think we are better than we really are. If you look around, most guys aren't suffering with inferiority complex, it’s more common to find superiority complexes. I've worked in the corporate arena for a long time. I've had a chance to coach some amazing salespeople and real high performers. I can tell you that the best of the best always want feedback. They never think they're good enough, but I can also tell you the ones that need more work, the ones that could elevate their game are usually the ones that aren't open to feedback. They already think they're good. It's just a trait that most guys have, we think we're good enough and it really ends up that we are lying to ourselves. We are not that good. We are not as good as we think we are and we can see that here with Adam.
Are any of these things showing up in your life right now, this pattern of becoming bored, allowing yourself to be complacent, where you're missing a mission, where you're just going with the flow and that leads to boredom. When men get bored, things get bad. So take a quick inventory. Can you think of a time where you made a bad decision, maybe you fell into a bad place and it started with boredom. I'm going to challenge you to think about that because I know for me that I've made horrible decisions just because I was bored and I wasn't building, I wasn't doing something I was supposed to do. Being in a complacent state for a man is never a good thing and never leads to anything productive.
We are called to be aggressive. Adam had a responsibility to aggressively defend, protect, lead and to work. When he abandoned those things and when he turned his back on that inner nature, that inner purpose that God created him for, that's where things went downhill very quickly.
Let’s see the chain reaction that occurred in the garden with Adam.
- He was complacent and that led to boredom.
- He let his guard down, he becomes passive and then he disobeyed.
- He ducks and deflects.
What is the catalyst in this equation? It's very simple to see that he abandoned his post. His boredom led to this passive attitude where he literally could sit back and watch his wife get tempted by Satan, an intruder, someone that should have never been allowed into the garden. Someone that I believe Adam had the willpower and possibly physical force to overcome and at least reject and expel out of this place. Instead he allows his wife to engage and ultimately, he takes part in this sin as well. Adam's bad decision led to enormous consequences, consequences that we are still feeling in the earth today. In Romans 5:12, we see by one man sin entered the world by Adam's bad decision. We reaped a horrible consequence that the earth is still shaking to this very day and it started with Adam's boredom. Here is the practical tip for you overcome and resist the urge to fall into laziness and boredom.
If we look at the anatomy of a temptation, it's always connected to people, places and things. So take a quick inventory. Are there people in your life right now that you need to cut relationship off with? Because when you're with those people, it causes a cascade of effects that brings you into bad situations, bad scenarios that lead to a personal downfall for you. There may be some people, some friends, some relationships that you need to leave. It also can be specific geographical locations that you may need to avoid. There may be certain places that you cannot attend, or you cannot go because that will always lead you down a road of bad decision-making and also reaping the consequences of those bad decisions. Lastly, is there something in your life or in your house that's causing you structurally to give in and fail over and over again, remove yourself from that thing.
So those are just some practical tips on how to avoid temptation. And ultimately you have to exhibit ownership. If there's something you've done that has weakened you, if you've made a bad decision, you can repent. Adam doesn't repent when he's given that opportunity in front of God, instead he deflects and we don't want to do that. It's time to man up and take responsibility for our actions, take responsibility for your decisions and take an inventory of where you can strengthen the gates, where you can build walls, whether that's around your personal inner life, whether it's around your family and wherever that is in your life, build your walls. That is one of your responsibilities to keep and to protect. We are called to be protectors. We are called to guard and put a hedge around our family, our children and our household, just as Adam was called to put a hedge and a fence around the garden.