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Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Living in God

These past three months were quite difficult for my wife and I.
First was that my father passed away last August 15th. And on October 17th, my sister-in-law (my wife’s sister) passed away.
When I realized that in a span of three months (give or take a few days) there were two deaths in my family, I got to think of why all these happened. It also made me face my mortality and question why God made me. To begin my search, I thought, where else but go to the beginning. Read the book of Genesis.
In my reading of the the story of creation, I noticed several things. One, God created man and breathed into his nostrils and man became a living being. In the middle of the garden was two trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God forbade man to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Notice that God did not forbid man to eat the tree of life. I think what this means is that God wanted man to live. And by breathing his breath onto man, God wanted man to live a life in God. Knowledge of good and evil is not important because if one is living in God, one will certainly not do anything evil.
The life in the garden was actually a life in God. One where the man shared God’s dominion over creation. This life however had its requirements. Man had to obey God’s command. Once he violates it, he is dead. But man did not want to live in God. Man wanted to be like God. And because of this desire to be like God, he consciously went against God’s command.
And because of this, man became ashamed of his weakness and incompleteness because he now relied on his own wisdom rather than on God’s.
Notice also that when they disobeyed God, they realized that they were naked. They became ashamed and did not want to face God naked. This is what happens to us when we go against God’s commands. This feeling of shame remains in us today. God does not want us to stand before him in shame. He wants us to stand before him naked - just as we are. Because what pleases the Lord is not our accomplishments. But the Lord is pleased with a humble and contrite heart. A heart that admits his nothingness before the Lord.
So now we have Gods plan for man - to live in him. But because of man’s desire to be like God, man sinned and was condemned to death. But God’s plan still remains and in his stubborn love, God did not give up.
This brings us to the resurrection. In John's account of the resurrection, Jesus breathed on the disciples. This act is parallel to God breathing his life into man. Jesus breathing on the disciples means that now, we can again live in God. For those who experience the resurrection of Jesus in their lives, they can live in God.
To experience the resurrection of Jesus means to turn a new life - to die from our desire to be like God and to live a life of obedience to God. Jesus showed us that a life in God is again made possible with his death and resurrection.
Going back to my reason for this reflection - this is therefore Gods will for us: to live with him in nakedness and total reliance. Total reliance will not stifle our growth. Total reliance and surrender in fact is the key to freedom and life in God.
Indeed God is good. Praise the Lord.

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