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.”
– Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
– Revelation 22:1-3 (ESV)
Everything was going great until that day. You know… the day that humanity fell so hard that we now capitalize the event as The Fall.
Adam and Eve had a choice.
One option was to choose life, and live in The Garden and walk with God. In this life there is no shame or guilt. Only peace and love.
The other option was to choose knowledge. The want to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. It was the want to have a moral compass, and to know what we now refer to as The Law.
Adam and Eve chose the wrong path.
They chose to know The Law. And when we know The Law, we also begin to realize our own sinfulness. That’s the death that we experience when we eat of that tree. We experience condemnation and judgement, and let it drag us down. Immediately after eating of the fruit, Adam and Eve realized their nakedness and when to hide in shame.
Many of us are still eating of that tree today.
There are two things that are still resonating deeply in my heart today after hearing a message on this at church this weekend…
“God never intended for you to walk around thinking about all of the sins you’ve committed.” – Susan Kefover
The crazy thing about this is that our own guilt and self-condemnation is often one of the biggest things holding us back from accomplishing everything that God has empowered us to do. The truth is that in Christ we are forgiven, and we need to walk in that forgiveness!
But it’s not just about how it impacts us…
“Grace reaches where the Law cannot.” – Susan Kefover
Too often we get overly wrapped up and concerned with judging people’s rights and wrongs, often piling on condemnation and shame. But is it our comparing them to The Law that draws them closer to Christ? Or is it when we pour out Life and healing and restoration on people that draws them?
This can be a hard pill to swallow as long as we’re eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, especially when we see so many people living blatantly sinful lives. The reality is that no one will ever measure up to The Law. Including ourselves.
As for me… I’m committing to try to look past people’s shortcomings, and dig deeper to see the value that God has placed in each one of us. I want to judge less, and love more (including myself). And I’m hoping and praying that God will use that to draw more people closer to Him.
What about you? Which tree are you eating from?