10 February 2013

The Tree Of Life

This post is a continuation of The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil (Part 1), and The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil (Part 2).

I used to have this Jesus thing figured out. I was a real man of God and on fire for Jesus. I was passionate about serving my King and his people. I felt I was making a real difference in the lives around me and I was the best example of how a good Christian should look and act. Of course I had my flaws, but everyone knew I was the real deal. But, then something tragic happened. I met Jesus.
I used to only see things in black and white.

If you ever meet the guy, he'll wreck your life. In a good way.

You see, ever since I came into this world I've been eating the fruit that was laid out before me. The fruit was so pretty to look at and delicious to the taste (Gen 3:6). I knew the truth about Jesus and I'd share with friends and anyone who cared to listen. However, I was never one of those shove-it-down-your-throat sidewalk preachers. I was more of an action man. I let my walk do the talking.

After I became friends with Jesus, he started showing me things I'd never seen before. He started teaching me things that were shocking and made little sense, but when has God ever made sense (Isaiah 55:8-13)? It didn't matter, I believed him and I ran with it.

He would tell me things that were so close to what I'd been taught all my life, but yet so very different (Pro 25:2-3). Then he revealed that I'd only been eating a fruit that would never satisfy me. I just knew this was true because I never felt like I had ever "arrived." There was just always something missing in my Christian walk.

Then, he began to remove the scales from my eyes (Acts 9:17-19). I didn't see in black and white anymore. Everything became colorful and I could literally see life all around me. Minor things that I overlooked in the past became more important, and the stuff that I used to think was more important became minor.

After having my mind blown away for days and weeks on end, I started reading the Bible again from my new perspective. My Father would sit down with me and we'd discuss the verses I read. I asked him questions and details about certain stories and he would answer me. And, guess where I started? Genesis. It only made sense to start over. I read the whole book of Genesis and tried to move on, but he would always point me back to the first 3 chapters.

Then everything started to magically fall in place. He showed me why I was struggling so hard and why I thought something was missing. I was eating the fruit from the wrong tree! I was eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and not the Tree of Life.

In every Christian organization, everywhere, they teach you how to do the right thing. They tell you to follow God's commands and live righteously. Honestly, things are always about right and wrong, good and bad, holy and unholy, righteous and unrighteous, forgiven and unforgiven, peace and war, Jesus and Satan, Heaven and Hell etc. This sounds good and we believe what we hear, but it's all just black and white (Col 2:8). Of course, no one wants to do the wrong thing or go to hell, so we try desperately to do the right thing (Eph 2:4-10). However, this type of thinking, this way of life, and this belief system is not what God intended for us. Eating this fruit only leads to a long slow spiritual death. A death that isn't seen or prevalent, but is buried deep within your soul (Gen 2:17).

Once Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they began to see things very differently from how God wanted (Gen 3:7). They were consumed with right and wrong and viewed themselves in a completely false light. God tried to protect them from this new awareness by telling them not to eat the fruit, but it was too late. Now, something had to be done to keep them from living forever in this new state. Ultimately, God chose to block the way to the Tree of Life with a sword and a cherubim. This kept Adam and Eve from eating its fruit and living forever with this new confusing knowledge of good and evil.

However, there is a huge amount of good found in this story that people seem to miss. Just like God fixed Adam and Eve's problem with being "naked" by clothing them with skin, he also had another master plan (Gen 3:21). His plan was to help mankind overcome their struggle. This knowledge of good and evil made us believe in things that just weren't true (Gen 3:11). It made us believe lies that we were somehow not good enough and that there was something wrong with us (Gen 3:7). However, God had a remedy for this too. He fixed everything with an even newer and better awareness.

What is this new found knowledge? He sent his Son to die on a cross.

What was intended for evil was completely fixed by Christ's shed blood. God's sacrifice gave us a whole new perspective on life and those around us. Not only did we get to keep the knowledge of good and evil that made us more like God, but he also gave us another, even better awareness. This new knowledge makes us even MORE like God! This perspective allows us to see with God's eyes; to see things the way he sees them (2 Cor 5:18-19). For those who struggled desperately to free themselves from the slavery of sin, they were made righteous by Jesus (Col 2:13-15). We were made holy, royal, and white as snow because of him. Jesus gave us an even greater understanding that helped us believe that we were good again (2 Cor 5:14-15). God has always been there for his children when we jacked things up and he didn't fail us this time either.

Jesus came to this earth as the second Adam. He came to fix what the first Adam couldn't finish (1 Cor 15:45-49). By eating the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the first Adam gained an understanding that caused him to see others (and himself) with the wrong perspective. However God sent the second Adam to bring us back to the original Truth. Jesus gave us the freedom to live again and be who God created us to be without judging others (and ourselves) as being right and wrong (Mat 7:1-5).

God sent his Son to come to earth and die on a tree (Gal 3:13-14). On that tree, he absorbed all that was bad for all mankind. He nailed sin (and the knowledge that told us what sin was) on that tree so he could fulfill God's plan and give us a new everlasting life (John 3:16-17).

Also, what man didn't know is when they took Jesus from the cross, they were planting a seed (Mark 4:1-20). This seed was God's Son and he was buried in the ground just like any other seed. He was buried and protected from any predators or anything that could wash the seed away.

When a fruit falls from a tree, its desire is to be buried so it can one day rise again as a new tree that produces life-giving fruit. However, God's seed was much more miraculous than anyone knew. His seed burst forth from the ground as a glorious tree that produces life. Once a fruit is disconnected from the vine, it is no longer living. When it's no longer connected to the branches, there's nothing to keep giving it nutrients. Fruit has to die before it can bring new life.

Jesus is the Tree of Life. This is the fruit of the tree that God wants us to eat (Gen 2:9).

This is why he commanded us to eat his body and drink his blood (John 6:53-59). When Jesus said this, it was such a foreign statement that it drove people nuts and they stopped following him. Why? Because they didn't understand what he meant. And, how many people take communion today and still don't get it??
Jesus is the Tree of Life.

God wanted us to choose to eat from the tree that gives life and not the tree that leads to death. He wanted us to completely consume Jesus and the work he did on the cross. So take it all in. You are what you eat and you have to eat it whole and leave no morsel behind. He wanted us to be reminded of it so often that whenever we ate bread and drank wine (which was every meal during those days), that we would remember him. Remember that you are good, forgiven, spotless, washed, holy, royal, special, perfect, and loved. You are good (Gen 1:31)!!

Don't listen to anyone else who tells you different.

God planted the seed and did all the work so we could enjoy the fruit of his labor (John 5:16-23). It's just like in the beginning. God spent 6 days working his butt off to make everything beautiful and perfect. Then he said it was good. He made it to where Adam and Eve had to do next to nothing except live, move, and have their being (Acts 17:24-28). And, he's still the same God that he was back then (Heb 13:8). He made a way for all to have true life and he did all the work for us. This is the way God intended it to be from the beginning. It was his plan all along from before the world began (John 17:1-5).

Now, you have a choice. Are you going to keep eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that looks right, seems delicious, but only leads to a long slow death? Or are you going to start eating from the Tree of Life and have life more abundantly (John 10:7-10)?

Jesus is the Way to the Tree of Life. He is the Truth and he is the Life (John 14:6-7). And as long as you think you're sinful or something's wrong with you, or feel that way about the others around you, you'll never have everlasting life.

Only a serpent would tell you that you haven't arrived. Only a serpent would tell someone they aren't good enough. Only a serpent would feed you fruit that leads to death.


Psych You Out said...

I really think this is your best blog yet. My favorite part, and the part that made me go :O was when you said fruit had to die before it could bring new life. I think if people would read this and really grasp it, it would be an absolute life changer.

Dathan Ellis said...

Yeah, I was like ~:-O when he told me that too.