Unfolding Enough: In His Presence

We’ve walked through the work. Now let’s process what we’ve read, done, prayed.

From the moment Eve’s teeth sunk deep into the flesh of fruit we all became not enough. Covered in a black cloak of sin that separated us from the community of God. Unworthiness skewed our understanding of God and who we are in relation to Him.

Read Genesis 3:4-6

  • What desirable and pleasing things did Eve see in the forbidden fruit?

Eve saw something in the forbidden tree she had not noticed before. The fruit seemed to offer a wisdom she didn’t have, not to mention it looked good to eat. Wanting more than what God had given. She fell for temptation.

It’s the Deceiver’s first lie. The lie we all hear at some point in our life. The lie that keeps us striving and working and doing. The lie telling us who we are is never and will never be enough.

Read Genesis 3:7-10

  • What were Adam and Eve’s eyes opened to see?
  • What did they do in response?
  • Did the forbidden fruit offer the wisdom they desired?

Their eyes were opened to their nakedness.

The truth is, they were naked before they realized it. They were created naked without any need for covering, because God was their covering, their refuge, their protection, their strength.

The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil took their eyes off God and they saw  themselves for the first time. Like Peter seeing the wind when he took his eyes off Jesus in his water walking escapade. Suddenly, all he saw was the danger (Matthew 14:30). Adam and Eve, now, only saw themselves and their lack of enough in comparison to the One who created them for His glory and for the purpose of being their Enough.

Adam and Eve’s response to cover and hide their nakedness is the same response we all have. This is the worst consequence of all. When we recognize our own abilities and actions will never be enough, the hardest thing is to enter God’s presence. To rely on His Enough.

We make every attempt to cover our shortcomings and hide our unworthiness instead of laying it all out there for God to see. We find it difficult, nearly impossible, to enter God’s presence without the gnawing sense that we are doomed and the gap between God and us seems to be ever-widening.

What the serpent said would give them wisdom and insight, in reality cut them off from Wisdom Himself.

Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.

Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil’s murmur, “in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened…” (Genesis 3:5 NASB). But in the beginning, our eyes were already open. Our sight was perfect. Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness. Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God. We saw God as He truly is: good.

We eat. And, in an instant, we are blind. No longer do we see God as one we can trust. No longer do we perceive Him as wholly good. No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise.

—Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Connection

You began this week’s study by reading the story of The Land of Not Enough.

  • What about the story caught your attention?
  • Where did you see yourself?

Living in the Land of Not Enough is wilderness living. It is a place where nothing satisfies, nothing relieves the feeling of never being enough. Yes, we hear of a better place, but our focus on achieving enough keeps us wondering if this is the place God has abandoned us.

Read Genesis 3:21-23

  • What did God do for Adam and Eve?
  • Why did God banish them from the garden?

The first act of grace toward the now sinful Adam and Eve was to cover their shame. For the first time an animal was slaughtered in sacrifice so that man might be clothed. Death entered the world. The price required to cover man’s sin.

God did not banish them because of anger. Nor did He throw hands up in despair and proclaim He was finished with them. Banishment was the only loving choice left to God. For if they ate from the tree of eternal life, their sinful state would remain with them forever. Man would be eternally separated from God — he could never return to the garden.

But that didn’t mean God couldn’t go with them.

Read Psalm 139:5-10

In the King James Version verse five reads:

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

The word “beset” means “to guard a valuable object” (Warren Wiersbe BE Bible Study Series). When we consider the definition of the word, verse five would read:

You guard me on all sides like a valuable object, guiding me with Your hand.

God did not send Adam and Eve out of the garden and leave them to themselves. He went with them. Guarding them on every side and guiding them with His hand. Though they could no longer reside in the perfect community of the garden, they were never alone, never left to figure out how to be enough.

  • Do you ever find yourself covering or hiding from God? Why?
  • What most often contributes to your feeling distant from God?
  • In what ways do you notice God guarding and guiding you?

Carol says:

When it comes to God’s guidance in my life, it feels like, and I describe it as: a pressing.

He presses me to do the things He calls me to. It’s like the psalm describes: hemmed in on all sides. Heart, soul, mind, emotion, all pressed to follow Him.

In this place, for me, there is no other way but to follow Him. And I know in the pressing, His guidance is guarding me. Keeping me on the path He has for me.

Our skewed perception of God’s banishment can lead us to think God doesn’t allow us into His presence without doing or being something we’re not. Yet separation is never God’s intent. We are the ones continually backing away from Him.

Conversation

When Esther heard the news of Haman’s plan, she responded with hesitation. What could a girl like her possibly do to make a difference? Her cousin’s insistence brought her to a place where she was willing to take the risk to enter the king’s presence without request. But first, before she put her life on the line, she called for her people to pray and fast in preparation.

  • What was Esther afraid would happen to her?
  • What thoughts and prayers can you imagine Esther having during her time of preparation?
  • Why do you think she believed she faced death?
  • What would have caused the king to refuse to offer her his scepter?

Esther understood entering the king’s presence could be a fatal choice. If he didn’t extend his scepter, all was lost. Not once did Esther mention who she was to the king. Not once did she remember she was the queen, chosen above all other women. Nor did she consider how much favor the king showed her. It seemed Esther forgot who she was.

Read John 15:16, 1Peter 2:9, and Ephesians 1:3-4

  • What word do you find common to these three scriptures?
  • What do they say about who we are?

Chosen.

Living in the Land of Not Enough keeps us from entering God’s presence because we have forgotten who we are. God chose us, we did not choose Him. Nothing we do changes this. Not. One. Thing.

When entering God’s presence in prayer all we need remember is He chose to create us. He chose everything about us. He knows how our story plays out from beginning to end before we are born. Yet still… He chose you to be.

Like Adam and Eve, like Esther, we are chosen for such a time as this. We each have a place in His story. One chosen just for us.

And so, go down to the deepest point of your mind and think of yourself in this simple, elemental way. … In any case, do not think what you are but that you are.

…For nothing I can do, and no exercise of my physical or spiritual faculties can bring me so near to God and so far from the world, as this naked, quiet awareness of my blind being and my joyful gift of it to God.

–Unknown Author, The Book of Privy Counseling

He knows you. He loves you. In Christ, we can come before Him naked and unashamed, just like in the beginning. We never need fear coming into His presence just as we are. But it is just that — fear — which most often keeps us from taking our place in His presence.

Curiosity

Read Esther 4:11

  • How did Esther respond when Mordecai told her of Haman’s plan?
  • What was she focused on?

Esther’s response revealed she fully understood the king’s law. She hadn’t seen her husband in thirty days. Suddenly when faced with entering the king’s presence she was afraid. Yet, she was chosen, and she lived in the royal palace enjoying the luxury of her position as queen.

  • Why did Esther focus on the risk?
  • Why would she even consider her husband might kill her?

Not enough living sends us into hiding, attempting to cover who we are from God. The longer we live this way, the easier it is to forget who God is. This is why it is so important to approach God’s Word with a curiosity to find out who God is. It keeps us steeped in the truth that we are God’s children and focused on the promises He makes to us.

Read Psalm 100

  • What does this psalm call us to do?
  • How are we to enter His dwelling place?

All the earth is called to make a joyful noise to the Lord! Enter His gates giving thanks and His courts with praise!

Praise helps us remember who God is. It reminds us who we are approaching.

Who is He according to Psalm 100?

  • He is Lord, we belong to Him.
  • He is God.
  • Our Creator.
  • Our Shepherd.
  • He is good.
  • His love endures forever.
  • He is faithful, not to a few, but to every generation.

There is power in praising God in prayer. When we praise Him, He affirms the truth of the praise we give Him and it increases our faith and confidence in Him. He builds up our spirit when we honor Him with the praise He deserves.

Write a one sentence prayer of praise to God using an attribute from Psalm 100. Be sure to address God, tell Him who He is and elaborate on the reason you are praising Him for that particular aspect of His character.

Take a moment to offer your praise to God.

Lord, You are faithful in all You do. You keep every promise and mean every word.

Praising God is something God commands us to do. Not because He needs His ego stroked, but because it is good for us and builds our trust in Him. It prepares our hearts to come into His presence with thanksgiving for all He is and does.

Community

When we become confident of who God is we come to understand our place in the communities we live in. At first, Esther didn’t embrace the position God placed her in. Though she was queen only a few knew her true identity. The king certainly didn’t know she was an orphaned Jew.

  • Do you ever find yourself worrying about others knowing who you really are?
  • Is there something you believe might separate you from God permanently?

Read Romans 8:38-39

  • What was Paul telling the Romans?
  • Is it hard for you to grasp nothing — past, present, or future — will stop God’s love? Why?
  • What would it take for you to truly believe this?

God placed you right where you are, exactly like you are, in the perfect time and place to build a relationship with Him and community with others. When we readily embrace God’s work in us and through us we can live free to be His.

  • Is there a time in your life you thought had little purpose or wondered where God was?
  • Do you see it differently now?
  • How does accepting the position God’s placed you in help you build community?

Stacy says:

Two recent examples come to mind when I consider the positions God places His children. Two people who by culture’s standards have little worth in the community. Let me tell you about what my dementia-stricken grandmother and a life-without-parole prisoner have in common.

She’s ninety-five. He’s in his forties. She doesn’t remember much. He is serving life without parole for two murders. Both are living and being cared for by others. Neither work nor provide for themselves. Each are living out consequences of a sinful, broken world.

By the world’s standards my grandmother’s life doesn’t have much meaning. I’ve heard her prayers for Jesus to take her because the torment of not remembering is tough some days. Each day I marvel at how God is working in her and how God is working through her in those who take care of her. God is gently preparing her for the next step in her journey and using her last season of life to work patience, hope, and love in me. I’ll never be the same.

The prisoner doesn’t have much worth in our world either. Yet, he’s committed his life inside the prison to counsel and guide young prisoners in a way no one else could. Daily he shares and cares for those who have a chance to leave the prison and live free in the world. He embraces his position and uses it to help others learn to live in community. When the interviewer asked him Why, he spoke one word:

Redemption.

In His presence we are free to live and embrace the season we are in. Whether we find ourselves moving through dry land or in joyful abundance, living enough is trusting God’s plan and purpose in it all. This is the foundation that grows our love for God and others.

Story

One of the beautiful aspects of living today is our ability to see the connection between the story of creation and redemption.

Read Genesis 3:24

  • What did God place on the east side of the garden? Why?

God placed a flaming sword moving back and forth to guard the tree of life. Ephesians 6:17 tells us the sword is our weapon, the very Word of God. The Gospel of John describes Jesus as “the word made flesh.”

Read Acts 2:1-5

  • What did the disciples experience?
  • What did the tongues of fire represent?

The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit represented by tongues of fire. Do you see it? What God protected access to the tree of eternal life with?

God’s desire is for every single person to return to this garden’s gate, return to full connection with Him. Jesus is the Gate and as we move through the Spirit’s flame we are reminded of who God is and who we are in Christ.

The journey is our story to tell. For each of us were born to live His story, born to tell His story, born to our royal position “for such a time as this.”

i am the daughter of the Great I AM

Because HE IS

i am

Enough

 

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