In this article, I want to dig deep and go down to the very origin of self. Where did this consciousness all begin? We find the first awareness or awakening to self in Genesis, the book of beginnings: "They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:25).
Adam and Eve were both naked and unashamed. They were undressed and unaware of their nakedness. They were conscious only of the perfect union that existed between them—separate, yet one; individual, yet complementary; different, yet similar. It was an awareness so intense and complete that it overshadowed their physical selves.
Their interaction was not limited to the physical realm—that would come later. They responded to their oneness, their union.
The Bible offers no description of their stature, skin or hair coloring. It is unimportant. It doesn't even give their ages at this introduction. We have no idea whether Adam and Eve were thin or fat, tall or short, black or white. I am sure they embodied and exemplified pure physical perfection—the perfection of the origin of human life in a time before disease, sickness and death.
Shame had yet to creep between them. It did not exist in this garden of creation. Not only were they naked before each other, but also both were completely uncovered in the presence of their Creator. Free in His presence and in the presence of each other. God and Adam rejoiced freely in the glorious dawn of God's last living creation: woman.
But all too soon, their innocence was lost forever. They were made aware of themselves. With their awareness of self came an awareness of their distinct inequality with God. And thus they were about to be tempted with the knowledge of good: "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'" (Gen. 3:4-5).
They were presented with the ultimate temptation, the ultimate perfection—to be like God. To have your eyes opened to the way things really are, to pass from the dependency of children and know good from evil without any involvement of authority, to be lord of your self—it was an appealing proposition. The serpent promised them an opening of their eyes, implying they were blinded to some part of the big picture. Could something they needed have been obscured from their present level of vision?
Adam's and Eve's eyes were opened; for the first time, they perceived their nakedness. Now they saw into a dimension previously shrouded from their view. Stripped of the eternal veil of light, they beheld the dark and earthly dimension.
Their transgression was accompanied by a heightened consciousness of self. Sin gave birth to shame. Innocence and purity were replaced with knowledge and sensuality.
As believers, we are to change the way we evaluate or view things. No longer are we to know or understand people according to what we see in the natural dimension of the flesh. Jesus' disciples had known Him as the natural man; now He was revealed as the eternal. Paul admonished the believers to adopt this same view of each other—to look beyond the earthly and obvious to glimpse the eternal, the "Christ in [us], the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27b).
When we turn to Christ, the shroud of death is stripped away; once again, we can glimpse the eternal. It is a process involving the retraining of our minds and wills. Instead of serving self, we must now subject and submit self once again to the Creator. To lose an awareness of self, we must gain an awareness of God.
Can you now see and believe that physical awareness and captivity to self are rooted in the fall? I am not talking about a total loss of consciousness where you no longer care for your physical self. I am talking about escaping the realm or dimension where self becomes your master.
If you desire to gain a greater awareness of God, pray this prayer:
Dear heavenly Father,
Please forgive any tendency I have toward the mastery of self. You said that I was to take up my cross, deny my self and follow You. Lord, for too long I have not denied my self; I have been overwhelmingly conscious of my self. I have lived to protect and provide for my self. Please forgive me. I renounce the fallen nature that would seek to serve self, and I ask You to teach me to serve You. I want to become increasingly conscious of Your will and ways and less and less conscious of my own will and ways. Restore my sight. Let me glimpse again the eternal and lost sight of the sensual and earthbound. I avert my eyes from my self and turn them toward You. In Jesus' name, amen.
This article is an excerpt from You Are Not What You Weigh by Lisa Bevere. Copyright 2007, Lisa Bevere.
Lisa Bevere is the best-selling author of Fight Like a Girl, Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry, Out of Control and Loving It! and Be Angry but Don't Blow It! Lisa is co-host of the weekly television program, The Messenger, which broadcasts to 214 nations. She and her husband, John, also a best-seller, make their home in Colorado with their four sons.
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