“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” Genesis 3:17-19.
Paul the Apostle, wrote in 1 Timothy 2:14: “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” The woman was deceived, but Adam knew what he was doing when he chose to sin, which is far more sinister. History testifies that even if women may be more prone to being deceived than men, men may know that something is evil and still do it. The great evils that have been done in the world were almost all done by men. In general, men may have the discernment to know that something is wrong, but women have the heart to refuse to do wrong if they know it. The Lord so composed men and women that they need each other if they are to stay on the path of life.
We also see that the ground was cursed because of the man. He had been given authority to rule over the earth, so when he fell, all that was under his authority fell. Disharmony and death spread to all because of the man. Because of this, he could now only draw from the earth by “toil.” Remember that man was created to labor, but there is a difference between labor and toil. Labor is work, but toil is work that can only be accomplished with great or painful effort. Now, the world that the man had been given to rule over would resist him in everything he tried to do. The harmony, the communication, and the fellowship of man with the Creator, and man with the creation, was profoundly damaged by his sin.
In Acts 3:20-21, Peter made a remarkable statement about the return of the Lord, “and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” Jesus is called “the last Adam” by Paul because He is going to restore all that was lost by the first Adam’s fall. Through the redemption of the cross, and the resurrection life of Christ, harmony, communication, and fellowship between man and God, man and man, and man and the creation, will be restored. As the redemption and restoration of Christ begins to work in our lives, we should begin to experience all of these. When this harmony has been restored, even our labor will not meet continual resistance, but will be fulfilling, and much more fruitful.
After the Fall, men quickly fell into deeper and deeper depravity. Authority was increasingly perverted and oppressive, and therefore, opposition from the creation increased. When we are redeemed and born again into Christ, the “last Adam,” we must go through a process where our minds are renewed. As our minds are renewed, we are restored to the place of harmony with God and the creation. As we are renewed in ruler-ship, or the exercise of authority, we will also be changed.
All relationships are built on trust. In our fallen nature, we exercise authority for our own selfish reasons. As we are changed, and begin to grow in the love of God, authority is exercised for the sake of others. As authority is exercised in love, the bridge of trust is built step by step. Because of trust, the resistance of those under the authority of man, which includes the whole earth, will begin to lessen. By this, even productivity and fruitfulness will increase. The curse of toil is removed, as we are restored to our original state.
Therefore, understanding authority is crucial to the process of restoration. Jesus is the One who is above all rule and authority and power. We only have true spiritual authority to the degree that we abide in Him. He used His authority to empty Himself, fully identifying with us by becoming one of us, and then laying down His life for our salvation. As we come to abide in Him, we will use the authority entrusted to us in the same way. We will use it to lay down our own interests to serve the interests of others. We will lower ourselves in order to lift others up. In everything we do, we will be looking for the redemptive purposes of God and the restoration of all that was lost through the Fall.
Just the very word “authority” carries the negative odor of the wounds that have been the result of authoritarianism. There is a natural resistance to authority, and rebellion is in the heart of every fallen creature. However, this will not be overcome with authoritarianism, but with the true spiritual authority that is rooted and grounded in love. Love serves.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|