Feeling Displaced

Posted on January 29, 2014 | 15 comments

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden - Thomas Cole, 1827

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden – Thomas Cole, 1827

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?

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  1. As someone who has moved more times than she can remember clearly, and whose ethnicity if of the hyphenated variety, I can clearly claim the label of ‘displaced’. I’ve come to realize that I long for a place where I will be warmly welcomed and accepted and not viewed through the lens of stereotype or media bias. But there is no such place. But one. My heavenly destination where for once I will know what it is to truly belong, to be delighted in. I am a citizen of heaven.
    Thank you for this thoughtful post that touches a tender part of me. Blessings.

    • Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I’m sorry for your feeling of displacement, I long for you to feel a sense of secure belonging. You are wise to expect it nowhere but in Christ.

  2. Beautiful truth! I love your wisdom and your powerful message here! There is an endless need to belong and have purpose…. and we must find it in our Heavenly Father. Not in ths world..

    I pray more of His Children find their purpose and their place in Him.

    (Visiting from PYHO!)

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting.

  3. He truly is the only way we will find identity and purpose. Thank you for linking up to Recommendation Saturday! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  4. So much encouragement about where we belong and what our purpose is.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  5. I know where I belong! Amen! Thank you for this, beautiful!

  6. I’m reminded of the verse, Hebrews 13:14 ” For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.” When I think about this world, I often feel displaced here…I look forward to a day that I will be eternally home…in the presence of my Savior! Thanks for sharing!

    • Great verse. And a reminder that our longing for belonging is an echo of our unbroken image, a memory of the communion we once enjoyed and can look forward to in the restored creation!

  7. Your ability to boil things down to the most elemental parts so that we can understand our false and sinful motivations is always eye-opening and convicting, Scott. I know the feeling of this displacement all too well and when I come here it’s all so very clear. Thanks for shining the light, my friend!

  8. Absolutely love this!!! I am working through this in my own life right now, and it is tough to break away from the addictions of social media and trying to belong! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Thank you for sharing your post on the displacement with us here at ‘Tell Me a Story.” I have often wondered how long it took for Eve to listen to that old serpent. Hardly time enough to enjoy the garden just a bit, then to get bored with not much to do. The garden watered itself and the fruit grew without effort. Even if we are displaced, we must find something to keep active. Even if it is writing a blog to encourage others. Yes, there are other ways too, just seek and you will find.

  10. Great message! It’s sad to see the lengths sometimes people will go to “fit in”. Thanks for sharing on Whatever Wednesday at Thank You Honey!

  11. This goes along with what I read in my Bible this morning. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. A wonderful area for intercessory prayer. Adam and Eve are displaced from the garden of Eden. Jesus in turn embraced all of humanity, going out from His Jewish people to the Gentiles, sending his disciples to all nations to bring us all into the new home of God’s Kingdom. Giving up His heavenly home willingly, with no home here to lay His head when he walked among friend and foe, that we might have a home. Lots of blessings and grace here. Thank you Jesus.

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