Jerry Maguire is a classic! I think besides, “Show me the money,” my favorite line is “You had me at hello.” And in the same monologue, he says “You complete me.” And yes, the lines are a little cheesy, but that’s what we remember from movies! And that’s what gets preserved in pop culture. My favorite movies to watch these days are Hallmark movies. My absolute favorite is the Hallmark Christmas movies. We look forward to them every year.
There’s just something about a good love story that keeps people coming back. Even when it’s an action flick, there’s usually always some kind of love interest in the movie. And Hollywood knows that. They know that we all long to see the couple get together and live happily ever after. It’s wired into our DNA as humans. We all long for love. And it’s not just romantic love. We long for relationships. We long to be connected.
And the Mission statement for our church reflects that. We are committed to connecting with God and with people around the table and in the community. That’s what God wants. He wants us to be in a healthy relationship (connected) with Him. And He wants us to be in a healthy relationship (connected) with each other in the church. But He doesn’t stop there. Our entire mission as the church is to go out and help OTHER people get connected with God and with people in the church…There’s only one problem…We’re all broken…We’re selfish…
And our entire American culture is built around thinking about ourselves and our own personal happiness. That is a result of the Fall, which we’ll talk about in the next chapter. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s still a LOT of good out there. But in order to restore what’s broken, we need to learn what a healthy relationship looks like. With all the brokenness, it’s hard to know where to start.
But that’s where Genesis Chapter 2 comes in. Last time, we learned about the Creation week in Chapter 1. God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. And we learned that we (people) are the Crown Jewel of His creation. We learned that we were created in the image of God. We were created to be in charge of God’s creation. But we were also created to have a healthy relationship with God. As His children, created in His image, we have the ability to fellowship with God, to talk to Him. We also reflect His character in a lot of ways.
And in Chapter 2, what we get is a blown-up picture of the creation of man. It’s a supplementary account of the creation of man. It’s like we already took the broad shot of the movie scene and now were shooting the close-up so we can get a good look at what’s going on. So there’s no contradiction. These two chapters are side by side for a reason. He’s finished with the big picture of creation and now He’s narrowing His focus on us. So today’s message is called “You had me at hello.” But before we look at that account in chapter two, I felt the need to share one of God’s deleted scenes from chapter 2. Any good DVD has deleted scenes. Right?
God walked up to Adam one day and said, “Adam, it’s not good that you’re alone. I’m going to create something for you that’s going to blow your socks off! This creature will do everything for you. It will wait on you hand and foot. It will cook and clean for you. It will do all your chores, take care of your kids, and it’ll say whatever you want it to. It will build your spirits up all the time with positive energy and uplifting comments.
It will never disagree with you. It will literally worship the ground you walk on, kiss your feet, and then apologize for walking on the same ground you walk on. Adam, this is the super deluxe model. I’m calling it Wonder Woman. But…it’s going to cost you.” And with a concerned look Adam replied, “What’s it gonna cost God?” And God said, “It’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg.” After much thought, Adam came back to God and asked, “What can I get for a rib?” (Author Unknown; Hartlaub-ian extras thrown in).
Sorry. That’s one of the few creation jokes I have. I couldn’t resist. We’ll get to the REAL account in just a minute but first we have to summarize the beginning of chapter 2.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up–for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground (Gen.2:4-6 ESV).
So up to this point there was no rain. And there was no one to work the land. This is actually a foreshadowing of the worldwide flood that’s coming, but that’s still in the future…
then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen.2:7-9 ESV).
So now we don’t just have God creating man. Now we have God personally creating man out of the dust of the earth and breathing into him the breath of life. Plus, He didn’t just throw him on the earth. God custom made this garden as a home, ready to go with food and beauty…
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates (Gen.2:10-14 ESV).
So the location given here probably meant something to the original readers. We know where the Tigris and Euphrates are. But we have no idea about the other rivers or places named here. Most people assume it’s somewhere in modern day Iraq and/or somewhere close to the Persian Gulf. But we really don’t know. It might’ve been completely destroyed by the flood. It might be covered up by a body of water. But the point here is that God set us up for success. He gave us food, a home, He put us in charge of His creation, and He loves us.
1. God gave us boundaries for our benefit not to bully us.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen.2:15-17 ESV).
So the first relationship that we need to focus on is our relationship with God. If our mission as the church is to connect with God and with people (and if we want to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus, which is to make disciples), our first priority HAS to be to have a healthy relationship with God. And what is the recipe for a healthy relationship with God? He gives it to us right here in these three verses. We can’t possibly think that we can make healthy disciples or run a healthy church if we’re not first connected to God in a healthy way. It all starts with Him.
And this first sentence is rich with meaning. The word put, in English, is a word that we would probably ignore. But in the original language, it carries with it the sense of rest, safety, and fellowship with God. God put Adam there for good reason. He put him there for rest, safety, and fellowship. Eve wasn’t created yet. There was no fellowship with people yet. But fellowship with God was the first and foremost priority.
It’s like when you bring an infant home from the hospital. You don’t just put them on the floor or outside on the lawn and say Go get a job. No. You put the baby in the crib where it can sleep, rest, poop and pee in its diaper, cry, and be safe. And the parents keep the baby safe. They sing to him and read to him and hold him, but then they put him back in the crib to rest. And then over time (as they baby grows), he can have more and more freedom as he’s able to do more. And that’s kind of what God was doing here with Adam. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a one on one with God (live in person)? What if you could ask Him anything you wanted, freely talk with Him, and get an answer (live in person)? Adam could do that. He had a sweet deal!
But God didn’t just PUT Adam in the garden, He gave him stuff to do. His responsibility was to take care of that garden. Adam had to go to work! God has always expected us to work. It’s just that before sin entered the world, work was totally enjoyable. In my case, if I was driving kids to school (in the bus), in the Garden of Eden, all of the kids would obey me. It would be a total joy. And no other cars would hit my bus on the way! I wouldn’t have to write any referrals. For you, no matter where you worked, it would be a joy. There would be no workplace gossip, no struggles, no worrying about paying the bills. It would be a JOY to work. Adam had the best job ever. He had great benefits. No healthcare costs. Money wasn’t an issue.
And working the land was also a joy. There were no weeds. There was no frustration. He didn’t even have to water the garden. God took care of watering the garden. For Adam, working the garden was fun. This past week, I was longing for life in the Garden because there was a stubborn stump I couldn’t get out. The tractor wasn’t helping. The chainsaw wouldn’t cut it because the stem was too far underground. Needless to say, it was NOT a joy to work the land that day! That stupid stump is STILL there. I had to cut it off and bury it under the dirt! But Adam was lucky in the beginning because he didn’t have to deal with that! Work was a joy.
But God did give Adam one rule. He gave Adam a TON of freedom. Adam could do almost anything he wanted. He could eat anything he wanted. But God said that that there’s this one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that he couldn’t eat from. God said, Just stay away from that one tree and you’ll be fine. But if you eat from it, you’re not going to live forever. You’re eventually going to die. So there was a reason for the rule. God was protecting Adam. Again, it’s like a parent protecting a child. Rules are there for a reason. And they’re actually meant to create a positive result. It’s not to punish us. It’s to protect us.
But what do kids do as soon as we tell them NOT to do something? It’s like the only thing they want to do! As soon as we say they can’t do something, their natural, human response is to want to do what they can’t! That’s all they focus on. And Christians do that too. They focus on the negative. They focus on what they CAN’T do instead of focusing on the incredible FREEDOM that God gives us. It drives me crazy. And it ends up as legalism. Legalism is when we focus so much on what we can’t do that we make up all these rules on what we can’t do. And we make it so clear what we‘re against, that no one knows what we’re FOR. Unfortunately, that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths when we leave out God’s blessings and His good gifts.
But that wasn’t God’s intention. God gave us boundaries for our benefit not to bully us. He’s not out to get us. He’s not punishing us. He’s protecting us. But there are consequences when we disobey. There are consequences to our actions. When children disobey, the parents have to step in and punish. But it’s for their own good. So the point here is not to focus on the negative. It’s to focus on the positive. Facebook drives me crazy. So many people focus on all the negative stuff (politics, family, and work drama). But my goal is to focus on the positive. I try to post stuff that’s encouraging (except when the Eagles are losing; I do slip up sometimes).
But why did God do that? Why didn’t He just make it all exactly the way He wanted and not allow Adam a choice? People have been asking that question for thousands of years! But part of the answer is because God wanted us to choose love Him. God already loves us. But He wants our love back to be genuine. You can’t have genuine love if the one side has no choice in the matter. That would make us robots. And that was NOT God’s desire. So He gave Adam a choice. He tested him. But we can’t have it both ways. There are consequences to whatever choice we make and whatever choices other people make. God loves us enough to let some people choose to not love Him. Unfortunately, those choices touch all of us in some way (good and bad).
So here’s a recipe for a healthy relationship (connection) with God.
a. Resting in what God provides. Focusing on what we don’t have leads to temptation and running away from God. But if we focus on what He has provided we can relax, enjoy life, and fellowship with God instead of worrying all the time.
b. Serving Him. God didn’t design us all the same. We all have different gifts and personalities. And if we focus on using what He gave us to serve Him and to bring Him glory, our relationship with Him will be healthy. But if we choose selfishness, it leads to a disconnected relationship with God because we’re not living by His design.
c. Being obedient to His will. If He created us, and if He’s our Father (and He is), then He gets to make the rules. But we have to remember it’s for our own good. He’s our Father and He’s looking out for us. So we need to follow and play by His rules. However, the deeper issue is trust. Do we trust God? Do we really believe that He is good (like we talked about last week)? We have to trust that He is good, that He knows best, and that He has a plan. God gave us boundaries for our benefit not to bully us.
2. God gave us relationships to complement each other not to compete with each other.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him (Gen.2:18-20 ESV).
So this could’ve been a bit awkward. I’m picturing the giraffe smiling and winking at Adam. And Adam says, You know, I don’t think it’s gonna work out. You’re up there and I’m down here. How would we kiss and hug? That would just be weird. Or maybe when the skunk came to Adam, he was like, If you spray me every time we have an argument, I’m walking out that door! But seriously, back in chapter one where God was creating, He said that everything He made was good. But in this passage something is NOT good. He says, It is not good that the man should be alone. And there’s a reason for that. We were created as relational creatures. And God is not alone either. It is true that we only have one God. But our God exists as a Tri-Unity (Trinity). He is in perfect relationship with Himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But God created us to relate to as well. He wants us to know Him. But He also wants the Crown Jewel of His creation (people) to have a partner to relate to.
And the idea is that man, alone, is incomplete. He’s lacking something. So when God says that He will make a helper for him, that’s what He meant. He meant that the helper (the woman) makes up for what’s lacking in the man. And that’s why that line in Jerry Maguire is not just funny. It’s also profound (You complete me). It’s theologically correct. We need someone to complete us (in marriage). But it also applies to ALL relationships. People need people.
As humans, we weren’t meant to be alone. We are relational creatures. We need friends and family. We can go without the bells and whistles of life. We can go without all the fancy things and newest tech gadgets. But we can’t go without relationships. It’s just as important as food and water. Loneliness is not good. People need people. We need each other. We need to share things with each other and hang out with each other. We need to encourage each other. We need to challenge each other. Otherwise, we might become the Unabomber…
Where it goes wrong though is when we try to outdo each other, control each other, and fight for power over each other. God gave us relationships to complement each other not to compete with each other. Relationships aren’t supposed to be competitive. When it comes to sports, I’m very competitive. That’s why family game nights get a little scary. It can get crazy and become not very fun pretty quick when someone’s not winning. And then the rage comes out. So we’ve learned over the years when to stop. We usually have a short window of time where it’s fun, and then it goes downhill quickly.
And no one’s immune from it. Couples compete with each other, even if they don’t realize it. They get caught up in who makes the most money, who does the most work outside or inside the house, and who has the most friends. They compete over power. They give each other the silent treatment when they don’t get their way. They argue. And they get back at each other by trying to manipulate and control each other. It’s crazy. And then it goes really downhill when the competition turns to punishment. If a spouse is withholding something from the other (like money, sex, or anything they like to do together), the one who’s left out starts to look somewhere else to find it. And that leads to a break in the relationship, which is not God’s desire.
Obviously, I know stuff happens (and God knows). My desire is not to make anyone feel guilty. God is gracious and He can make good things come out of bad. However, He wants us to have healthy relationships that last, whether we’re talking about husbands and wives, families, and/or friends. We are relational creatures. We need each other. But God’s desire was for us to complement each other, not compete with each other. And I believe that God’s desire was that we be equal partners in relationships. It’s not about who’s in charge.
It’s about the fact that we need each other. We are all equal. It’s not about who makes the most money or who has the best toys. If we have a lot of cool toys, maybe the best thing to do is to share them for everyone’s good instead of hoarding them for ourselves. And I think that’s why God includes the animals here. God wasn’t expecting an animal to get married to Adam. The point was that Adam was in charge of God’s creation and he had the responsibility of naming the animals. But Adam needed a helper to share his life with. Something was missing. God had to create something else (a helper), just like Adam, but different enough to make up for what was missing. And that’s where the woman comes in.
But before we get to the woman, here’s a good recipe for a healthy relationship (connection) with people. And this is primarily for spouses, but it works for all relationships.
a. Be who YOU are. Every one of us is different. If we were all the same, there would be no need for other people. But we’re NOT self-sufficient. We need people. Other people have things that we don’t and vice versa. So bring what you have to the table and allow your friends, family, and spouse to be who they are. There’s no need to fight for power or prestige. My kids drive me crazy when they ask us who’s better at something. It’s ok if someone is better at something. We all have different things we’re good at. Some of us are good at a LOT of things but not great at anything. Some people are great at one thing only. That’s ok. Celebrate and support each other. It’s not a competition. And we don’t need to force people to be like us or to be something they’re not.
b.Look outside yourself. Whether it’s your spouse, girlfriend, brother, sister, co-worker, use something you’ve been blessed with for the good of someone else. It’s not all about YOU. Make a sacrifice for someone else. Our culture teaches us to look out for number 1. But Jesus said to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt.22:39). And that’s what He did. Jesus left the comforts of heaven and moved into our neighborhood. He made great sacrifices to come here. Plus, He made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Paul said to consider other people better than ourselves (Phil.2:3-4). Imagine if we all thought that way. That’s what relationships are all about. It’s about benefitting someone else, not selfishly taking everything for me, myself, and I.
c.Cheer someone on. The world has enough critics and negativity. I’m not saying don’t be honest with people. We do need honesty. But a healthy relationship will consist of friends cheering each other on and supporting each other. It’s ok if someone accomplishes something that YOU don’t. Be happy for them and cheer them on. This is important for spouses too. You guys are on the same team. You were meant to complement each other. So there’s no need to be a critic, compete, or to be jealous.
3. God gave us spouses for the long haul not to leave when the going gets tough.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen.2:21-25 ESV).
Martin Luther made a profound observation about this Scripture. He said that in making the woman out of Adam’s rib (out of his side), God was signifying equality. Remember, she was his complement. She made up what was lacking in him and vice versa. So by taking a rib and making Eve, God was stressing that they were a team, they were equal, and they were one flesh. If God would’ve used a foot, He might’ve signified that he was to rule over Eve, but God didn’t do that. You would think that if God took out Adam’s brain it would’ve meant Eve was to rule over him, but He didn’t do that either. Although sometimes men do think with lower parts of their body so it does seem, at times, that we don’t HAVE a brain, but that’s a discussion for another day…
Now Adam did get to name her, just like he got to name the animals. But even the very name signified the equality of their relationship. He called her woman. In Hebrew, ish is the word for man and ishah is the word for woman. They sound related (because they are). It’s a beautiful illustration of the fact that they really do complete each other. And that’s what marriage is all about. It’s an equal partnership between two people, who might have different roles and gifts (just like in any relationship), but equal weight. Marriage was never intended to be a dictatorship where the husband rules and the wife manipulates to get what she wants. That was not God’s design for marriage. It was never a competition or a war. Adam specifically said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. He was emphasizing that he recognized that they belonged together as one.
So what comes next in a marriage? They form a new home. When it says they become one flesh it means that they are bonded together as one, in a close relationship (which includes the spiritual, emotional, mental, and the physical). There’s no longer just a me and you. It’s now US. It’s WE. Leaving father and mother means they are establishing a new home. It doesn’t mean they forget mom and dad. But they make their own decisions now as a couple. And in leaving mom and dad they’re saying this is a permanent change.
God gave us spouses for the long haul not to leave when the going gets tough. Whenever I do a wedding, I always meet with the couple anywhere from 4-6 times. And there’s certain points I always like to bring out. And one of those points is that things will change over time. “No matter how secure (or how in love) you both are right now, things will change. People change. Jobs will change. Your financial situation might change many times. Houses come and go. Friends come and go. You may or may not have children. You’ll have times of plenty and times of need. And when that happens, you’ll need to support each other. You’re a team. You’re an equal partnership. But it also takes time to blend your lives together. It doesn’t happen overnight. So we can’t run at the first sign of trouble…” (An Excerpt from one of my Wedding Sermons).
And that applies to church planting as well. Abe and I were practicing this past week and as we were singing through Good Good Father, I had this major revelation. I was really enjoying our rehearsal. I was enjoying the process of having a song come together. And it reminded me that I can’t expect this church to pick up where my last one left off. It takes time. It takes time to develop relationships with people. And God will bring in who is supposed to be here when they’re supposed to be here. And it will happen over time. We’re still in the pre-launch phase. And the point is to connect with God and with people. Relationships don’t happen in a hurry. It takes time and commitment.
And marriages are the same. They don’t just happen. It takes work and commitment. We can’t run at the first sign of trouble. When we become one flesh, we make a commitment for the long haul. And no two relationships are the same. So my marriage is different, because no one else is quite like me or Olivia. And our family is unique because no one has the same four awesome children. Our family is unique and separate from all others. But we are committed to each other. And we have our problems just like anyone else. But we work through them and we do the best we can, because we’re in it for the long haul…
Before we get to our final recipe, we have to look at the last verse. This is one of the best lines in the Bible. It says that the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. When I’m talking to people (people who don’t believe), a lot of times they’ll say that heaven is going to be boring and they’d rather go to hell and party with their friends. So when I hear that, I realize they have no idea what heaven will be like…Adam and Eve had heaven on earth…
There was no sin yet. They were in the perfect environment as husband and wife. And they were naked. And I can assure you that they were not just holding hands and picking flowers all day long or sitting on clouds. Heaven is where it’s at. I don’t know what people want in hell, but I don’t want anything to do with excessive heat, burning, and/or a lake of fire. What I am interested in is running around naked all day long with no shame, guilt free, worry free, and experiencing God’s eternal blessings (and possibly having six pack abs…But I digress…).
Here’s a recipe for a healthy relationship (connection) with your spouse.
a. Marriage is an equal partnership. Believe it or not, the roles of men and woman vary greatly from culture to culture. And that’s fine. But God’s intention from the beginning is that a husband and wife are a team. Each one of us brings something different to the table. So it’s not about what a MAN or a WOMAN has to be or do. It’s about two individuals becoming one flesh and each one brings something different to the table that complements the other.
So it doesn’t always have to be the MAN does this and the WOMAN does that. Each couple is unique. Marriage is an equal partnership and each couple has to figure out what works for them. And that’s how I approach marriage coaching. YOU don’t have to run your household like WE do. You run it how it works for you. And I would also expect you to allow me the freedom to run my household in a way that works for my family. None of us are the same. We’re all unique. But the husband and wife are equals even though they bring different things to the table. So they might have different roles in the marriage but they are equal partners.
b. Marriage is until death do us part. Jesus gave His stamp of approval on this one. He said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt.19:4-6 ESV). Running when the going gets tough is not God’s desire or design. Divorce should not be the first option we think of when we have a problem. I realize divorce does happen and sometimes it IS for the best.
And God can make good things come out of some of our greatest disappointments in life. Praise God that He is a God of second chances! So if anyone reading this is divorced, this is NOT a guilt trip of any kind. But we are looking at God’s design for healthy relationships and marriages. And God’s design is for it to be for the long haul. So instead of ending a marriage when things get hard, get help. The church can and should be a part of that help. If even half the couples would get on board with these two simple truths (that we are equal partners and that it’s for the long haul), we could cut the divorce rate in two. If we actually opened the lines of communication and just talked through our issues (and would be willing to compromise), we could save countless marriages and families.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Cor.13:4-8 NIV). And God is love. He loves us. And He wants us to love each other with a love that considers other people, not just ourselves. He designed us for relationship. And love considers the other person while the other person considers us. That’s basic relationship 101. And basic relationship 101 says, You had me at hello. It says, We need to work this out because I can’t function without you. You complete me. And that goes for our relationship with God, with people, with our family, and with our spouse.
Questions to consider…
- Why do you think God’s rules offend people?
- Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like being around people? Do you see the need for healthy relationships? Or would you rather be by yourself?
- What do you enjoy about being around certain people that you call friends? Do you enjoy their company? Do you feel that it’s a competition? Or is it just nice to be around somebody and have someone to talk to?
- Does equality in the marriage relationship interest you? Do you have any preconceived notions about what a marriage should be or about what the roles of the husband or wife should be? Read Ephesians 5:22-33 and discuss how it relates to Genesis 2 and relationships between a husband and wife.