In the Garden were two trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
A few years ago, the word knowledge caught my attention. It would seem that prior to eating its forbidden fruit, good and evil existed – Adam and Eve were simply unaware of it. Since the devil was around, this was certainly true. Interesting.
In a way, it seems like these two trees are now resident within us. (Work with me here. This is all new to me, and I’m not likely to put it down as clearly as I’d like! A little grace while I work it all out, okay? 🙂 )
The Tree of the Knowledge is like our old nature. The Tree of Life is like the Spirit that now indwells us.
We are free to choose our source.
When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, everything changed. God was no longer the lens through which they saw things. They became like God, all right. Thereafter, they decided for themselves what was good and what was evil.
As do we.
How do we determine what’s good and what’s evil, though? It depends upon how it makes us feel:
If it makes me happy, and I feel content or satisfied, then it is good.
If it makes me angry, hurt, afraid, or upset in any way, then it is evil.
We pass everything through the filter of our knowledge, our understanding, and our perspective – then label it “good” or “evil” accordingly.
Where this can really get us into trouble (experience speaking here), is when we are faced with a massive test.
Last year, I came up against the granddaddy of all trials. As we are all prone to do, I ran to the Tree of Knowledge to figure out how to handle the thing. I ran through my database, where I’d stored all my vows and agreements:
“No one will ever do … to me again.”
“I will never…again.”
“I’m unlovable. This is all I deserve anyway.”
My source for what to do with all the pain and turmoil was my own history. From my perspective, this was clearly EVIL.
If my heavenly Father truly loved me, He would have protected me.
Checking my database again, I came to the conclusion:
God is not good…
…at least, not to me.
Even He thinks I am worthless or He would have kept me safe.
Because my source for deciding good and evil was my limited knowledge and understanding – and a very warped lens as to what a father is like, I was nearly taken out.
I had expectations of what God should have done.
When He didn’t act according to my understanding, I was hurt and disappointed.
My own database was insufficient, so I consumed volumes of others’ thoughts and conclusions on the matter. I picked from their trees and put it on my own. For eight months, I sifted through tons of information in search of relief.
A Tree of Knowledge is like a lone redwood tree planted in the sand.
A redwood has very shallow roots that must be intertwined with other trees if it is to stand during a storm. Alone, and in shifting sand, it doesn’t have a chance!
All the while, there stood the Tree of Life, solid as a Rock:
Abide in Me.
This last year would have looked very different had I chosen to eat from the Tree of Life, instead of the Tree of (my own) Knowledge. I didn’t know that I could go to the Lord and ask Him to give me His perspective on the matter at hand. I didn’t realize that He wanted to change how I viewed Him, and how I thought about what was going on.
If you hear nothing else, get this:
Our Lord is the only reliable source for every moment of every day. Ask Him often to give you His mind concerning everyday life. You will be surprised at what He shows and/or tells you! There’s the added bonus of His peace that goes far beyond our comprehension. 😉
This, of course, brings to mind one of my favorite verses:
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5,6
I’m in a new season now. My source for daily life (and not just when I get into a jam!) is the Tree of Life. I am learning to:
Cast down arguments and every high thing
that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought into captivity
to the obedience of Christ.
~2 Corinthians 10:5~
All the junk that grows on the Tree of Knowledge, based on our human perception and understanding, is an argument and an high thing that exalts itself against our knowledge of God, and the only source for accurate knowledge of Him…is the Tree of Life.
This is woefully inadequate – a topic that would take many chapters to flesh out. I hope you get the gist of what I shared. ❤
I’m thankful to Bob Hamp at Gateway Church in Texas for opening my eyes to what I was doing. His foundational classes are worth their weight in gold. You can find them here: http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom/events/foundational-classes