Now in verse 26, the rhythm of this creation account breaks. If you could read it in the original Hebrew, the writer wanted it to break to show the uniqueness of what it means to be a man or a woman.
Verse 26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
God said, “Let us…”
“What do you mean, ‘us’? I thought God was one.”
Well, he is one. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Unity and diversity; three in one, one in three. They are coexistent and coeternal with one another. I’m talking about the Godhead, the Trinity.
We’re made, I’m made, in the image of God. We’re made uniquely male and uniquely female. There is a unique masculine soul and there’s a unique feminine soul. We’re not animals. I repeat, we’re not animals. We’re fully human.
What does it mean to be fully human? We’re made in the image of God. That means we have physical bodies and spiritual bodies. There’s integration with the physical and the spiritual.
The other day a guy said to me, “Hey, Ed, that’s just my spiritual life.”
I looked at him and said, “Like there’s another one?”
Everything is spiritual. Sex is spiritual. My body, your body, is spiritual. We jump on an airplane and we’re flying—that’s spiritual. We’re fully physical and full spiritual. We’re made in the image of God. God sent Jesus Christ to live on planet Earth. He had a body. He died on the cross for our sins and spilled his blood for our redemption. He was buried and he rose again. He had a bodily resurrection. The Church is called the body of Christ. And the Bible says when we clock out, when we go from this life to the next, we’ll have new and resurrected bodies. So, matter matters in God’s economy.
You’re like, “Ed, you’re right. I mean, the words of Jesus are so true.” Others are like, “Wow, that kind of makes me uncomfortable. I want to start locking the doors. I don’t dig that.” Yet, scripture tells us that this unloading thing is going to be totally off the chain.
Look what Malachi says. Malachi 3:10 says, “Will a man rob God?” That’s what God said. And he says, “Well you rob me, but you ask how? Well, in tithes and offerings.” And a tithe is simply 10 percent; it is the first 10 percent that we make. And we’re not giving, we’re just bringing it because remember, it’s already God’s anyway.
Offerings would be over and above the tithes. So “you’re robbing me,” God says, “in tithes and offerings. You’re under a curse, the whole nation of you, because you’re robbing me.” Now that’s interesting because we can either be under a blessing or a curse.
If we rob God and keep the tithe, and spend it on ourselves, we’re under a curse. If we bring the tithe to the storehouse, to The House, we’re going to be blessed. Well let me think, “Do I want to be cursed or blessed?” I’ll take the blessings, and I think you will as well.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this.” This is the only place where God says, “Test me. Test me. Just try it.”
“And see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” How can you not do this? I don’t know. That’s between you and God. I mean, if you have some side deal with God I don’t know.
Just say that over and over and over, because what that will help you to do is it will help you to put your marriage on cruise control. It will help you to just be very apathetic and very predictable as a spouse. And then you crank out a couple of kids. And you’re going to chase the career, Dad. And, Mom, you’re going to sort of orbit your life around the needs of the kids. And then you have marital drift going on.
And when you have marital drift going on and you say, “Hey, it cannot happen to me; we’re not going to have an affair,” guess what? You are setting yourself up for an affair. It’s just a matter of time before you have an affair. It’s just a matter of time before you end up in the wrong bed. It will happen.
So, we need to learn how to do this, okay? How do you have an affair? Well, that’s the first thing you do. You say, “It can’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me. It can’t happen to me.”
Cultivate The Relationship With The Third Party
Number 2: Cultivate your relationship with this third party. Because let’s face it, we’re men and women here. All of us. We’re either a man or a woman. Am I talking too fast? We’re sexual creatures and we’re going to be attracted to members of the opposite sex. That’s just going to happen.
I used to think 24 years ago, before I got married, “Well, once, once I get married I guess I’ll never be attracted to members of the opposite sex.” I really thought that. I was young when I got married. Lisa and I walked down the wedding runner and we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon. One day I saw this girl by the pool, and I was like, “Whoa!” Was something wrong with me? No! We’re going to be attracted to members of the opposite sex.
And like two hours later, it seemed like, she looked back and she said, “I love you, too.”
Well now, we didn’t just say it, we demonstrated it. So we’ve said it a squillion times; we also demonstrate it. We boldly back it up every day of our marriage.
God says he loves you and loves me, but he boldly backs it up. Think about it. God has said, “I love you,” and all heaven is waiting for your response. He’s brought you to this point, maybe to this service to hear this. God says, “I love you.” And he’s boldly backed it up. He’s waiting for your response. What’s your response? Are you going to hydroplane over it? Are you going to reject it? Are you going to do the stiff arm and push-back? Or, are you going to say, “I love you, too”?
And, are you going to demonstrate your love. Because again, what’s the key to walking in the fullness of the unconditional love of Jesus? Obedience. And I’m not talking about a legalistic trip. I’m talking about a love relationship. We live a life of purity, a life of holiness before God. It’s not out of our own strength and power, but because of his grace and mercy. We live it because we love him. We want to access the best for our lives, and the best is when we walk in sync with the Lord, when we walk in concert with him, when we walk in this unconditional, unfathomable, one-of-a-kind love. When we do that, we’ll find ourselves doing things that are just totally supernatural. We’ll feel the supernatural octane in our lives that the world just doesn’t have.
What did Jesus say in John 10:10? “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Maybe in your translation, it says “…to the full.” The word “abundance” in the Greek is pronounced “par-a-soss.”
However, there is one person that can take affirmation and admiration in my life to an HNL: a ‘hole ‘notha level. Lisa. When Lisa affirms me and admires me; when she says, “Honey, I loved today’s message.” Wow, that just does it for me! The power of affirmation and admiration.
Scripture is so cool because it puts it in words that women can understand. Scripture calls words jewelry. You think I’m lying to you? If you have your Bibles turn to the book of Proverbs 25:11. This is the jewelry verse. Ladies, you might use this verse as leverage for your man to buy you some nice jewelry. Check it out. Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Bling, bling; ka‑ching ka‑ching.
Study your spouse. Know what puts wind in their sail. A touch, a look, a comment? That’s TLC. We have got to be about affirmation and admiration. Those are some good horses to ride. They will take you to the door of marital fulfillment.
Well, instead of being defensive as we discussed, what can we do or what should we be? How about vulnerability? Say that with me, “Vulnerability.” That’s hard to even say.
Vulnerability and intimacy are intrinsically tied together. We don’t need to be defensive; we need to be vulnerable. When I’m vulnerable with Lisa and when she’s vulnerable with me, we share our fears, our dreams, our successes, our questions, and vulnerability.
Men, we don’t naturally do the whole vulnerability thing, do we? That’s not really in our DNA. Yet, I would challenge you to create venues of vulnerability. You can’t have vulnerability on the fly. You can’t have vulnerability when you’re over committed, over stimulated, and over the top. You can’t have vulnerability when you’re just flying through the game of life. We have to stop and create venues of vulnerability.