As a launching point I ask you to consider this:
If you read only Genesis 1 & 2 and Revelation 21 & 22, what would you conclude the Bible is all about? What is the main story line? You see, if I wanted to understand God’s story, I would start at the beginning. Yet the fascinating plan of God Almighty includes two beginnings. Or perhaps an ending with a brand new beginning.
First a new world, and then a new Heaven and Earth. When I read these two beginnings, I see so many consistencies: order, beauty, fruit, green, trees, water … living water … and gardens. Wonderful gardens. Breathtakingly beautiful gardens.
Perhaps the story, God’s story, is about garden to garden?
I would also see responsibility, work, ruling and reigning in both:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen. 2:15)
“And they will reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:5)
Let me sum up what we would find in each, and what is clearly God’s plan for you: shalom. Shalom. Not just peace, oh no, shalom entails so much more: peace, freedom, harmony, balance, rhythm, fullness.
In one word: wholeness.
So many of us spend so much energy trying to fill our voids inside, because we know we are not whole. You know it. I know it. But we look for wholeness in all the wrong places, don’t we?
Instead of focusing on Genesis and Revelation, sadly too many start God’s story at Genesis 3: sin and shame. Sin is real, and must be confronted and dealt with, but it is not the story. And it is not His story.
Now at this point you may be thinking, “So what?” Okay, here’s what.
A Genesis 3 story is all about guilt, shame, condemnation and … don’t miss this: performance. If you live in the Genesis 3 story, you will be constantly working, laboring your way out of sin. Trying desperately to perform for God. You will live under threat of failure and punishment.
But if you live in the Genesis 1 & 2 and Revelation 21 & 22 story, you will be constantly seeking shalom. You will want to please your Father, not perform for him under threat.
It is your choice: sin and performance or shalom and pleasing.
One is negative energy; the other is positive energy. One world is all performance and willpower; the other world is pulsating with the energy of joy power.
May you seek to live in the shalom of God’s creation—his joy power and positive energy. And may you shun Satan’s world of performance, guilt and condemnation.