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

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

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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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.