The unspoken tension of ministry is that we’ve been called to lead while still needing to be led. We’ve been called to feed, but often we serve others when our souls are hungry. When Eve eats from the forbidden tree in Genesis there is no indication that she was famished. As a matter of fact, the serpent doesn’t even exploit her with an enticing, delectable fruit. The serpent simply makes her hungry to know. “Did God really say…” Suddenly her focus is no longer on being fruitful, multiplying, subduing, or having dominion, but rather on the areas where she was no longer clear on what God said.
Can we go there? Just between you and I. Let’s discuss the moments when we, as leaders, are a bit unclear about what God said. The vulnerability of not knowing, but still having to make decisions creates fragility. If we aren’t careful we will resist the fragility and settle for a false confidence that lends to us the appearance of strength, but not the true joy that comes from God being our strength.
Up until recently I preferred to liken myself to the heroes of the faith. I espoused courage like David. Prayed with Hannah in mind. Stretched my faith to look like Abraham’s. Committed to dedication like the woman with the issue of blood. I even kept a little sword nearby in case my world needed a pinch of Peter. (Can I get a witness?)
A few years ago I revisited the most overlooked woman in the Bible, Eve. I saw her as more than the woman who changed the course of humanity. I saw her as a leader dealing with the aftermath of when hunger strikes. It’s one thing to be hungry. It’s another thing for that hunger to strike at your faith, hope, peace, and confidence.
Adam and Eve lived so closely with God that if she wanted clarity on what God said she could have easily opened her mouth and asked him. Instead, her hunger blinded her from her access. When is the last time you took a moment and stopped feeding others long enough to see where your soul is hungry? Maybe you’re hungry for rest, passion, strategy, or validation. The sin is not in being hungry. The sin comes from staying hungry or not choosing the right source to fill you up.
Who we are when we are hungry for God is truly us at our best. It’s awkward, vulnerable, and embarrassing, but it’s also liberating and empowering. After Adam and Eve’s hunger led them astray they were undeniable dependent on God. From that place of hunger God gave them a strategy for redemption, boundaries for moving forward, and exchanged their fig leaves for a more durable.
I especially love the part about fig leaves, because God dismantled how they wanted to be presented and gave them something that could withstand the environment where they lived. Don’t you think we should rescue Eve from being the villain of humanity? Eve’s life reveals to us that imperfect vessels can be covered and developed when they surrender their hunger to God.
We are no longer in the garden and the world is changing more quickly than we can keep up. Our old ways are as good as fig leaves, but there is a way forward that offers us hope. That way cannot be found until we are willing to live like Eve – aware of our deficiency, humbled by God’s consistency, and in pursuit of God’s destiny.
Sarah Jakes Roberts is a businesswoman, bestselling author, and media personality who expertly balances career, ministry, and family. She has been the driving force behind grassroots marketing for films, publications, and community programs that inspire and uplift people of all ages and backgrounds. Sarah is the daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes and pastors a dynamic community of artists and professionals in Hollywood alongside her husband, Touré Roberts. Together they have five beautiful children and reside in Los Angeles.