Dust and Enmity

In the biblical account of the fall in Genesis 3, the curse on the serpent included eating dust and experiencing enmity. Crawling on his belly, the serpent would forever be considered the worst of all livestock and wild animals. In other words, because of the serpent’s deceit of Adam and Eve, his role earmarked forever the dust and enmity of a sinful, disobedient life. Instead of enjoying life in the abundance of the Garden, mankind would know both good and evil, be banished from the Garden to toil by the sweat of the brow among the thorns and thistles of life. Not a pretty picture for Adam and Eve…not a good fate for you and me.

Eating dust and experiencing enmity are accurate depictions of the fruit of a disobedient life. When we don’t listen well to the basic instructions of the Lord, eating disobediently from the forbidden tree, we will surely die. Our deaths may be subtle and small (death of a dream, a disappointment, or an unmet expectation, etc.) or dramatic and large (death of a relationship, death of joy, even physical death itself), but death nonetheless. You know the feeling, not listening to God and choosing your own way tastes like dust and feels like enmity, producing more death than life.

I’ve been there way too many times myself. I have the propensity to be selfish, the ability to be controlling, and have plenty of bad habits that have tripped me up along the way. I’ve landed on my face on several occasions and been humbled by eating dust and experiencing enmity. Not because I want life to be this way; I guess you could say it’s in my DNA…and in yours too I might add. We are all cursed with the same disease: sin. We have made and will continue to make choices in this life that demonstrate how poorly we listen to God and decide on our own how strength and willpower how to traverse our own garden of life.

But there is a better way. It’s the way of God. It’s walking along the pathway that leads to the abundant life in Christ. When we submit our lives into the gracious, merciful, loving hands of God we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The old passes away; the new way ahead is pure gift. The God-blessed life takes us back to the Garden of joy, where we have freedom to partake of the abundance of God at the river of delight through the breath of His Spirit, the forgiveness of His Son, and the renewal of the Father.

The process of crafting a personal rule of life reminds us of our humanness and our desperate need for God’s reign over our head, our heart, and our hands. Instead of toiling by the sweat of our brow in the gardens of our own making, we are invited to come home to His wide open field where we partake with Him and the family of God in the joy of a plentiful harvest. Visit www.RuleOfLife.com and witness for yourself how your brothers and sisters are no longer consuming the dust and enmity of a self-absorbed existence but instead are breathing a renewed spiritual life in their garden with God today.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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