More or Less?
pre·tense: a false appearance or action intended to deceive
The bottom line: Sin causes us to talk about more, but to settle for less.
We are all capable of fighting for what has little value while forgetting things of transcendent value. . . It is so difficult for us to remember and be motivated by what is truly important. It is so tempting to be committed to our little kingdoms that the transcendent kingdom of God is of little functional influence. . . It is so hard for us to make the truly important things functionally important to us. And it didn’t take long for Adam and Eve to fall into this trouble as well.
Trouble in the Garden
When I opt for a me-centered “more,” what I actually get is always much, much less. Essentially Satan is saying, Eve, you can live for a greater and more satisfying kingdom than the kingdom of God. If you do this one thing, you can have a kingdom where you are central and where you rule unchallenged.
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You see, the enemy of our souls knows that we were created for transcendence. He knows that we were created to be constantly connected to something more glorious than the small glories of our own survival and pleasure. He knows that we all hunger for more, so his craft is to present us with less in a way that makes it appear to be more. The “you can be like God” offer in the garden was not an honest invitation to more; it was a deceitful trick that would only lead to less.
It’s Always the Same Old Set of Tricks
When the enemy somehow tricks you into squeezing the size of your life to the size of your personal dreams, wants, and needs, he has got you right where he wants you. He has won a victory every time he successfully tempts you to exchange the God-centered more for which you were created, replacing it with one of the endless catalog of me-centered “mores” that dangle before us in this fallen world. His lie is this: “Transcendence is really found when you live at the center of your world.” Or, “Ultimate joy and satisfaction is found when you live for you.”
The normal day is a 24-hour collection of little moments. Day after day, week after week, and year after year, these little moments set the character of a person’s life. When little things become the big thing for which I consistently fight, I have forsaken transcendence for the temporary shadow glories of creation. The temporary satisfaction and pleasure that I get will not last. These things are like spiritual crack; they will give me a quick emotional or spiritual rush, while leaving me unfilled and hungering for the next rush.
So, how are you doing with transcendence? What is the “more” for which you are questing? Examine the last few weeks. What is rising to a level of decision-making, behavior-shaping importance in your life? Inside your correct theology and your faithful participation in the gatherings and ministries of the body of Christ, is your life a picture of the transcendence atrophy? Have you exchanged “more” for “less”? While affirming what is right, have you functionally settled for what is really a subtle, but significant, rejection of the true humanity for which you were created? True humanity is always connected to glory, and true glory can only be found in the One who is glory, the Lord.
In how many mundane ways each week are you tempted to compress the size of your living to the concerns of your life? You can even shrink the glory-call and the glory-promises of the gospel down to excitement with a little bit better marriage, slightly more responsive children, and some principles that will help you be more successful at your job.
The vertical “more” for which transcendent human beings were created was replaced by a horizontal “more” that was never to be a human being’s life motivation. In that one tragic moment, Adam and Eve migrated to the center of their world, the one place where glory-wired human beings must never live. They did not just opt for independence; they opted for God’s position, and in doing so they forsook any chance of a personal participation in the transcendent glory of a relationship with God. This is why God sent his Redeemer Son to earth. He came to rescue us from ourselves and return to us participation in his transcendence.
What is the “less” that tends to capture your attention?
Come Join Us in our Quest for More
Adapted from A Quest For More. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press. To purchase this and other resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com.
© 2008 by Paul David Tripp. Used by permission of New Growth Press. All rights reserved.