Devotional & Reflection

Week 4, Oct 2001

Genesis 3 - Unmasking Ourselves
By Teo Kok Hong, Regional Director & Trainer, Ezra Resources

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

We are good at running away. When things go wrong, our instinctive response is to cover up our mistakes. If the mistake is exposed, we try the next strategy: blame shifting. We plan and scheme just to save our skins. We are clever at masking and pretending. We get near to people in authority just to get into their good books. We maneuver our way politically so that even if our mistakes were found out we would be spared by these same people whom we try so frantically to please. Just what is it that makes us run away - shirking our responsibilities and putting the blame on others when things go wrong?

To begin with, we are all fallen creatures tormented with sin and distraught with shame. Since the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3), we have learned the skills of masking and finger pointing. Our children, when they start to point their little fingers at others to cover for their own mistakes, underscores the fact.

Even Adam, the first created man in his sinless state was capable of finger pointing and masking (covering up his own nakedness) when he sinned and was found out (Gen 3:7-12). Instead of being zapped to death by God (Gen 3:3 "You must not eat . . . or you will die) God invited Adam to return to Him and be clothed by Him (Gen 3:9 - "But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" c.f. v. 21). There is no need for us to get into the good books of God by showing how good we are or how much we have accomplished for Him or how capable we are. He accepts us just the way we are, naked and open before Him.

The next remedy that God dished out was to mete Adam's wrongdoing with discipline, and not dispense with it (Gen 3:17-19). More often in our course of wrongdoing, we always hope that we would be pardoned, and spared the rod. However discipline serves to remind us of the consequences of wrongdoing for when we are tempted again, the pain arising from the discipline would drive the urge to the pits. Hence we ought to accept the discipline of the Lord as he chastises us with love to strengthen our inner man.

Finally, when we come to the Lord with openness, we need to learn to put away our own self made brand of spirituality. Many of us may have learned to approach God with diverse ways and methods from snake oils to a deck of cards. We ought to let God clothes us (Gen 3:21 - "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.") and yield ourselves to his brand of spirituality, that in the Apostle Paul's words "and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own . . ., but that which is through faith in Christ" (Phil 3:9). For until we learn how to unmask ourselves before God, we will never attain spiritual maturity!

What have we been covering up? A sin? A lie? A false spiritual front?
Admit it and ask God for an appropriate time to confess it to a spiritual mentor.
Are we in a disciplinary or blame fixing situation? What is God teaching us?