Starting in Genesis 2:4, we are told that God planted a garden in the east. Trees grew, water flowed, and fruit was abundant.
The Lord had made a place for the pinnacle of his creation, mankind.
The garden, Eden, was a place for work, a place for obedience, and a place for God to be made known.
It was a place of purpose and communion for the man and the woman.
The man and woman belonged in the garden. It was made for them and they were designed to be there.
Yet, rather than delight in the experience of belonging to God, the man and woman rejected communion with their personal Creator. (see Shattering the Image)
Eating the fruit displayed trust in another instead of God.
Eating the fruit put a priority on something above obedience.
Eating the fruit was an exercise in materialism rather than a delight in God.
Eating the fruit introduced fear in the man and woman’s relationship with God.
Their disobedience broke the communion they experienced with the creation and with the Creator. By the end of Genesis chapter 3, the man and the woman have been removed from Eden.
One of the consequences was that rather than being secure in place, the man and woman were displaced. Expelled from the garden into a wilderness that, rather than being receptive, was hostile to the man’s efforts at dominion.
This displacement still affects mankind’s sense of self to this day.
Two of the most common questions of self are…
Where do I belong?
What is my purpose?
They are both echoes of mankind’s displacement from God’s intended order of the world.
Think of the great lengths we go to in order to belong. (see Are You Fitting In or Do You Belong?)
People are glued to social media. Even when out with people, people are glued to their phone. We desire connection because that is what we were designed for.
Placement and communion. Core to our nature. And we develop an identity – a false self – as a substitute for the wholeness and delight God intends for us to have in him. Our false self allows us to define purpose apart from God.
In this world, God has provided answers to those two core questions.
Where do I belong? As a citizen of heaven. As a member of the body of Christ. each part interconnected and dependent upon the other.
What is my purpose? To delight in God. In being his. In having works of service prepared lovingly in advance for us to do.
Where do you belong? What purpose dictates your thoughts and actions in this world?