(Gen 3:19 NLT) By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return."
God wants you to rely on His grace. By God's grace you can work hard doing what He has called you to do, but you can do it without getting overwhelmed, overloaded or stressed out.
Have you ever heard the phrase "By the sweat of your brow"? It comes from our verse for today, which is Gen 3:19. In Genesis chapter three Adam and Eve sinned. This caused God to curse the serpent, the man and the woman. The curse God spoke over Adam was that he was going to have to work hard for his food. Prior to sin event Adam received everything by God's unearned grace. God had given Adam purpose, power, partnership and parameters. Adam lived in abundance. Adam and Eve's only physical need was food and they had an entire Garden (more like a forest) to eat from. They had more than they would ever need and it was all given to them by God's unearned grace. However, Adam violated the one rule he had and his sin caused him to lose it all. Adam was cursed, kicked out of the Garden, and forced to WORK for everything he was going to get. Another translation reads, "You will work hard for your food, until your face is covered with sweat. You will work hard until the day you die, and then you will become dust again. I used dust to make you, and when you die, you will become dust again."
So what does this mean to you? A few things.
1. Prior to the fall Adam was experiencing The Blessing. He had communion with God, companionship with his wife, abundance and authority. Adam was living the good life and everything he had was given to him by God's unearned grace.
2. When Adam sinned he lost access to The Blessing. Adam was cursed, kicked out of the Garden, and forced to WORK hard for everything he was going to get.
3. The curse God spoke over Adam was that he (and man in general) was going to have to work hard for his food and earn his provision by the sweat of his brow. Hard work by human effort, without the grace of God, is part of the curse and NOT The Blessing.
4. Jesus came to redeem us, to get us out of everything Adam got us into. Jesus did not redeem us back to Abraham, He redeemed us all the way back to Adam, prior to the fall and prior to the curse. We are not supposed to earn everything we achieve in life now by hard work alone, relying solely on human effort, earning things through the sweat of our brow. No. That is not a picture of God's best.
5. God still expects us to work, because Adam was working prior to the fall. God gave Adam a job before he gave him a wife. But the way in which Adam was working before the fall, under The Blessing, was completely different than afterwards.
-- Before the fall of man Adam worked, but he enjoyed grace based success. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, he received revelation concerning what to say and how to say it, and God blessed everything he put his hands to do.
-- After the fall Adam was left on his own, working hard by human effort alone, and he had to sweat to earn everything he received.
-- Which picture do you think God expects you to identify with? Adam in the Garden or Adam after he was kicked out of the Garden? I submit to you that God wants you to identify with Adam in the Garden of Eden. That is the life He wants you to live. God wants you to experience success, but success His way, graced based, with His favor on your work, so that you don't rely on yourself and your own ability to accomplish what God has called you to do.