In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson suggests how considering three "falls" can help us grow in our relationship to the Lord.
We don't have to look far in our culture, and even in the church, to see the consequences of The Fall in the Garden of Eden; but there are two other "falls" that can have consequences—good ones—in our lives too.
1. The Fall of All Falls
Everything God made—man and woman, animals, plant life, the universe—was "very good," according to Genesis 1:31. Yet Adam and Eve doubted God's goodness and questioned His Word. They listened to the lie of the serpent. And it was a great fall (Genesis 3:1-24).
In "Lessons from the Fall," W. Phillips wrote, "... the serpent offered an alternative interpretation of God's motives" and called into question God's character and trustworthiness. The serpent "reduced God's Word to the level of a mere viewpoint," Phillips wrote, "while man became the measure of what is 'true for me'."
As a result, Eve deliberately decided to defy and disobey God's command (verse 6).
We see this same outworking of The Fall in mankind today.
Man questions God's Word and substitutes personal truth for God's Truth.
Because of The Fall, there are four truths still in effect today:
- What God says (God's Word) is still our measure for holiness. It's our standard for knowing and obeying the Lord and rightly relating to Him (1 Corinthians 15:45), not our viewpoints or some new standards we create.
- We still have a terrible sin problem. It's not what happened to us in our environment at any stage of life. (Even in a perfect environment, we still choose to sin.) Sin brings "death"—spiritual separation from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:12).
- Suffering is still an awful result of The Fall. Sin led to all the suffering in the past, and is at the root suffering we see today (Romans 8:20-22).
- Our only hope, our only solution, is still Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22).
And that brings me to the second "fall."
2. Our Need to "Fall" before the Cross
When Adam and Eve sinned, God provided the means for rescue. Genesis 3:15—known as the "protoevangelium" (first gospel)—is God's promise of the time when Satan (the serpent, see Revelation 12:9) would be crushed by "the seed of the woman," a future savior. Many Bible teachers consider this a direct reference to Jesus.
Just as Adam represented all mankind, and sin brought death, in Christ—the believer's representative head—brings life (1 Corinthians 15:22). Galatians 2:20 says we were "crucified" with Christ ... and it's not our life we enjoy now, but His!
Life from death. Old Testament saints looked forward to that redemption; and believers today look back to the cross.
I say we must "fall" at the cross, because coming to Christ takes the true humility, the bowing of our hearts before Him. We acknowledge we have "gone astray," turning to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). We admit our understanding is "darkened" and our hearts are hard (Ephesians 4:18).
Falling at the cross means fully embracing God's amazing grace.
In the words of an old hymn:
Upon that cross of Jesus Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One, Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart, with tears, Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love, And my own worthlessness.
I remember well the night I more fully understood what Jesus had done for me. I fell to the floor and wept ... and arose from that solemn time smiling with new-found joy, so grateful for the grace of the Lord.
It's once-and-forever salvation. But that doesn't mean we're never broken over our sin again.
3. Fallings of Surrender.
There have been many "fallings" since that evening I fell "Beneath the Cross of Jesus." These are the fallings of surrender—of giving up, letting go.
It is the choice to die, like a seed falling to the ground and "dying" so God can bring forth a great harvest (John 12:24). It is the choice to yield my rights to my Lord.
Falling in surrender involves acknowledging weakness. It is dying to self-suffiiency too. It says, "In me dwells no good thing" apart from Christ (Romans 7:18), and without Him, I "can do nothing" (John 15:5). It's for broken people who know we can't handle everything, in spite of our silly attempts to prove we can.
Falling in surrender is radical self-denial—losing our life for Jesus' sake (Matthew 16:25).
Surrender is not an option for true disciples. But, and it's not surprising, this is the "fall" many reject. Our entire culture promotes self-effort and self-sufficiency. We recoil from showing weakness and admitting needs.
Surrender is often equated with failure, because our definition of success is skewed.
Yet Jesus still invites us to fall in surrender, because He knows that's where the miracles of life happen. That's where we yield to His control, where He moves in, and where He begins to use and bless us.
We want abundant life. It all begins with our recognition of sin, our receiving of the Savior, and our relinquishment of our weakness to His great strength.
In Christ, we're given life and then continuing abundance as we fall before Him in sweet surrender—resting in His grace.
When you consider the three falls, what does the Spirit of God speak to your soul?
Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), andUpgrade with Dawn. She is contracted researcher for Revive Our Hearts. She and her husband Bob have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.