Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


Part 2

The Destructive Setup

By Rayola Kelley

      Joel 3:14 states, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” This is in relationship to the end days where many will find themselves in the valley of decision, and why are they there? The main reason is because they refuse to make a choice. They meander in and out of Christianity to try to snatch a few things from the world, while holding on to their concept of eternity. A lot of times they are waiting to see which of their options will best serve their desires. The problem is the Christian life will never feed the lusts, pamper the ego, or placate the emotions. It is for this reason many ultimately choose to go the ways of the flesh and the world.

      The main reason many go with the world is because they have not been prepared to make the right choices. They have been conditioned by a flimsy presentation of the Christian life. It is all about God’s love and grace, while the response on man’s part has been totally ignored or redefined to the point that man believes he truly deserves the best God has because of His unconditional love and unabated grace. It is true, God’s love is available to all and His grace ready to freely flow, but if people receive neither by faith to assimilate it into their lives, they will shun God’s love with an indifferent attitude and frustrate His grace with acts of foolishness (Galatians 2:21).

      When man fails to see that God’s love provided the solution, and grace is the avenue in which that solution is received, man will not see the need to choose God. He can come in for the blessings when he wants to and then run out to fornicate himself with the idolatrous world while believing he can still make it to heaven (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

      This is why one of the most insidious choices that man can resort to is inaction. As I stated in the previous article, inaction is a choice. It reflects a wrong attitude towards God and life, and for this reason it is important to identify it, whether this attitude is operating in our life or in the life of others.

      Let us consider what makes up this attitude that ends in inaction when it comes to the matters of God. This is the first point I want to bring to the reader’s attention. It is an attitude directed at God. Such people are operating from an attitude of “wait and see” when it comes to the matter of His kingdom. In other words, they are waiting to see how something will personally affect them. It has nothing to do with God and what is right, but what will make oneself look good, feel good, or come out on top of things.

      At the core of this self-serving attitude is pride and it will prove to be treacherous because if something does not make the person come out looking right, feeling good, or appearing to come out on top, then that individual will throw others under the bus in betrayal, offer them up as a sacrifice to appear as a victim of circumstance, or play ignorant to portray a false light of innocence (Hosea 6:7).

      Another aspect of inaction is that it is indifferent to the plight of others. If a matter does not personally affect those who operate from this attitude, then it is of no real concern to them. In fact, if you try to bring them into the equation to actually enter into a matter, they will personally become upset with you because they figure it’s your problem, and you need to work it out. In essence, they do not want to be bothered with such a silly, insignificant issue and will prove to be impatient, judgmental, and cruel when somehow, they’re required to become involved.

      The other aspect behind inaction is its unwillingness to commit itself. It does not want to be found wrong because it makes them accountable, nor does it want to be vulnerable because it does not want to appear weak, inept, and dependent. It often comes across as complacent, lazy, and apathic and will often procrastinate in order to avoid any possible failure or consequences.    

      Jesus’ death on the cross dealt with my sins, but it is the disciplined life of a disciple of Jesus that daily addresses the inward disposition. It is true that as a believer, I have a new spirit and heart, but the graveclothes of the old life still hang on with attitudes, habits, and ways (John 11:43-44; Hebrews 12:1). It is for this reason Jesus’ first commandment was given to address this attitude by commanding that we, “Deny self” (Matthew 16:24) To deny self any audience or significance to influence attitude, direct one’s affairs, and capture affections must be the first order of business. Paul admitted he died daily (1 Corinthians 15:31).  There is nothing that makes me more complacent towards the matters of God than to become caught up with the smallness and paranoid ways of the insipid world of self. Every day I stay away from the trap of getting caught up with self, whether it is to make sure something is done my way or focus on some offense, feel jilted because of an unfair situation, or look at the overwhelming circumstances before me. It is for this reason that denying myself up front allows me to discipline my focus.

      The next thing I must do is pick up my cross. I must choose to mortify the ways of the flesh to ensure that I am disciplined enough to walk in the way of Christ in faith and obedience (Colossiasn3:5). The way of the world presents a broad path, but the way of the cross is a narrow path that will discipline the way in which I walk (Matthew 7:13-14).      

      It is only after I choose to deny myself and pick up my cross that I have the liberty to follow Him. Following Jesus disciplines my life. As you can see, it is a choice I choose to make, it is the way I choose to walk, and it is the unseen life I choose to ultimately possess in the end. Each aspect of my Christian life is a choice of the heart as I submit my will and ways to the Spirit of God.

      There are two types of sins: commission and omission. Commission is when you commit open sins against God by breaking His law or covenants. You have committed a great offense against God by showing contempt or disdain towards what He has established as being binding, just, moral, and acceptable. Sins of commission are blatant affronts of rebellion against God’s authority.

      The sin of omission is when you omit what is right. James 4:17 states, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” This type sin is the result of unbelief. Faith is a choice and Romans 14:23 tells us, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”  Hebrews 4:2 tells us whatever has not been mixed with genuine faith will prove to be unprofitable.

      Inaction lacks faith and sees no need to respond unless it can first see how it will personally benefit the person. For Eve, she found herself in the commission of sin when she openly transgressed the commandment she was given, but what about Adam?

      Adam is a classic example of the sin of omission. Adam failed to do right because for the most part he was a man of inaction towards the things of God. He did not count important matters as being significant, and did not value his relationship with God, nor did he value the spiritual well-being of his wife.

      It is important at this time to point out that there are three ways in which man is conditioned. He is conditioned by ignorance, indoctrination, and inaction. Ignorance will condition individuals to be gullible, unprepared, and undiscerning, often setting them up to fall into seduction. Indoctrination is the result of a person being seduced into another reality, but inaction conditions people to choose the way of destruction because they have failed to develop any real integrity to do what is right in the first place.

      Adam made what we call missteps in the garden when he failed to do what was right. Choosing to do right, which often goes against the grain of the flesh, is what develops integrity in a person. The opposite of integrity is treachery. Integrity will never betray what is honorable and right, while treachery will sacrifice everything that is right and sacred to reach the desired end. Every right step changes the bent of a person’s character to that of being right because of doing what is right. In fact, righteousness will eventually become the preference and natural way for such a person.

      Let us begin with Adam’s inaction which set him up to make the wrong decision. The first misstep Adam took was when he failed to take hold of the reins of his responsibility. He was given dominion over the garden (Genesis 1:26). In other words, everything that took place in that garden was because he allowed it to take place. The problem is, Satan came into that garden through the serpent and Adam remained inactive, and nonchalant about his presence.

      Adam’s inaction in this case gave the enemy of God permission to stay in the garden. It would have been prudent on Adam’s part to recognize that Satan had no business in the garden and he should have taken aggressive action by commanding him to leave. Since Adam had dominion over it, Satan would have to comply, but Adam let Satan stay in the garden. True to his character, Satan laid in wait for the right person and opportunity to rob Adam of his dominion. Adam may have initially resisted any of Satan’s temptations, but Satan does not play fair and waited to tempt the one who could be seduced.

      It is vital to understand this misstep because how many of us are guilty of letting Satan into our homes, thinking that it is no big deal because we can handle it? It is true that we may be able to resist Satan for a time, because he will wear a person down eventually, but what about the other people in the household? How many will be set up to fall into his destructive traps, causing the one in authority to ultimately sell his or her soul to him? 

      The second misstep was Adam failed to carry out his duties. It is important to point out the pattern. Adam was lackadaisical towards his authority over the garden which set him up to fail to properly carry out his duties. One misstep will automatically lead to another misstep. Adam was to dress and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). Keep in mind, since it was before the fall there were no weeds, thorns or thistles in this paradise. (See Genesis 3:17-19.) I have dealt with this issue before, but we must continue to remind ourselves of the important principles that are prevalent in the examples we have been given by Scripture. We need to take them to heart in order to avoid the same trap.

      The word “dress” has to do with doing service and to “keep” points to watching over, guarding, and protecting the garden. The question is what service did Adam have to render in the garden and in what way was he to guard and protect it? I believe that his greatest duty was to make sure nothing would disrupt his service to God, which came through communion with Him. God created the perfect environment in which he could fellowship with man. Adam walked with his Creator in that garden but I don’t think he made his relationship with God a top priority.

      The reason I say this is because when God finished forming man in the garden, He stated it was “very good” in Genesis 1:31, but in Genesis 2:18, he said it was not good for man to be alone. Think about it. Man was complete, but because something was amiss, woman had to be taken out of man, making him incomplete. To make man whole again would entail him becoming one with the woman in a relationship. We understand the reasoning behind it, but does this action point to something being amiss in his relationship with God?

      It is easy to take something for granted and once you take something of value for granted, you lose any real appreciation for it. You begin to make assumptions that it always will be there and presume nothing can possibly destroy it, letting your guard down. Ultimately, in this state a person will neglect their responsibility and duty.

      It is clear that God instructed Adam about not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but when it came to Eve, she seemed a bit confused about what was not allowed. She told Satan that she was not only to eat of it, but she was not even to touch it (Genesis 3:3). Did Adam give her that command not to touch it? We don’t know but consider this. If she believed this addition, in her mind touching it was a death sentence. Can we consider the possibility that when she touched it and did not experience any consequences, that it would have allowed her to go a step further with less trepidation and eat of it, which would result in death? Keep in mind, it was up to Adam to ensure his wife understood God’s instruction, as well as keep watch over the events that took place in the garden.

      This brings us to the next aspect of Adam’s inaction. We are told he was there with Eve when she ate of the fruit (Genesis 3:6). At the time Eve partook of the fruit, she had been seduced. The question is how could Adam stand there and let her eat of it knowing the consequences? This also brings to question how much did he observe as to the exchange of Eve with the serpent? How long did she consider the tree and study the fruit before she ate of it with him remaining silent as he looked on?

      If Adam was a responsible man, he would have rebuked Satan, warned Eve, and if necessary, knocked the fruit from her hand and led her away from the tree, but he did nothing. Adam’s inaction caused all creation to fall into the grip of death and destruction. Romans 8:22 tells us, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”   

      This brings us to the one choice Adam decisively made, he ate of the tree. We are told he hearkened unto Eve. This word means to hear and intellectually understand a matter before carefully, and clearly consenting to it. Paul clearly stipulates in 1 Timothy 2:14 that Adam was not deceived. Adam knew what he was doing, but there is debate going on as to why he partook of the deadly fruit. Some believe that it was out of love for Eve, but real love does not rejoice in iniquity and will not allow a loved one to go down a destructive path without contending with him or her. Some believe that when Eve took of the fruit, she lost the glory that enfolded her leaving her in a state of spiritual nakedness and shame, a fact that was noted by Adam in the garden when they both hid from God (Genesis 3:10-11). In order to be with Eve in her fallen state, he would have to give up the present glory he was walking in. This could be true, but he could have avoided the whole fiasco in the garden if he had not omitted righteousness along the way

      At the core of Adam’s inaction was a treacherous attitude that was clearly pointed out by Job, “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom” (Job 31:33). According to this Scripture, Adam was already considering rebellious action and since the only disobedient action that could fit in that category was partaking of the tree, we must conclude he had already been quietly thinking about it. Clearly, he was not forced to take it and it begs the question as to whether he was seeking some type of independence from God’s authority. This is mere speculation, but we know he clearly considered his action, understood the consequences, and rebelled anyway.

      This treacherous attitude was brought out even more in Genesis 3:12 when he was confronted by God and blamed both God and Eve for his action. Clearly, he was shunning all responsibility for his choice. His argument was if God had not given him the woman he would have never partaken of the fruit. What he failed to realize is that his character was being tested and he miserably failed, revealing that if he had any real integrity it was surface deep at best.

      Like Adam, today many play the blame game. They do not want to be responsible to the ways of righteousness. Each time they continue to remain inactive towards righteousness, the closer they will become in making the wrong decision. From the point of failure and consequences, such individuals will play the blame game as they reveal their treachery by transferring their erroneous actions onto others in an attempt to offer a sinister offering to keep their Creator off of their backs.

      I am so glad that Jesus took our sins upon Himself. First of all, it was not His sin He went to the cross for; therefore, it was not His responsibility to address it. He had every right to put it back on our shoulders but the truth is we could never pay the necessary wages of sin to ever escape its pending judgment of eternal consequences on our lives.

      Do you have sin in your life? Hebrews 3:13 talks about the deceptive ways of sin. For Eve, she was seduced by lies only to find herself in transgression, but Adam had to convince himself of a lie in order to try and save himself from the consequences. It didn’t work then and it will not work now. As Jesus clearly put it, “Repent (of your sins) or perish (in them) (Luke 13:3,5). (Parentheses added.)