Monday, March 21, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Eleven: Pick Your Tree

Have you ever noticed that it’s hard to stay away from temptation? When I gave up dessert for Lent, I was suddenly drawn to the last Lindor truffles from Valentine’s Day. The bowl of pastel mints for Easter called to me each time I passed. And I was suddenly in the mood to bake! It took constant vigilance to resist the voices luring me into the kitchen.

 Kelly absentmindedly filled his pocket with free candy at the store the first day of Lent, until he remembered his promise. Even then, there was a little voice inside that said, “She’ll never know.” But of course he would know and so would God, so he put them back in the bowl. It would have been no sin to indulge, except that we chose to give up dessert for Lent in order to focus our minds on Christ.

Doesn’t it seem like whatever you’re trying to resist suddenly throws itself in front of you everywhere you look? But often, we cause our own demise – we flirt with temptation, tantalizing our desire until we finally give in. Where do we find the guy who ends up in the arms of the adulteress woman in Proverbs 7:8? He just happens to be strolling down the street where she lives…just before sunset. And where were Adam and Eve when Satan tempted them to eat? They were conveniently located right beside the forbidden tree.

“Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
 ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 2:8-9, and 3:3-6).

If you read carefully, you’ll find the tree of knowledge wasn’t the only thing in the middle of the garden where Adam and Eve were hanging out. The tree of life was there too. They had a choice. Would they choose to eat only what God allowed, and believe it was satisfying and perfect? Or was the serpent telling the truth? The fruit did look tempting. Maybe God was keeping it for himself because He knew if they ate it, they could be gods too! So they believed the lies of a slick-tongued serpent over God.

We face the same choice every day, and the stakes are life or death. Six thousand years or so later, the serpent is still using the same ploy…successfully, “You’re not going to die if you disobey God; He’s keeping the good stuff for himself.” The two trees stand in the middle of our world – the tree of evil and the tree of everlasting life. Satan claims the first tree will satisfy our desire for sensual pleasure, God is holding back on us - that if we eat of it, we’ll be like God himself. The other tree promises eternal life in harmony with our loving Lord and Creator who has already given us everything we need. Only one tree fulfills its promises.

How we respond to this question is the key to everything else; that’s why it’s in the middle. We can try to ignore it, walk past it, but sooner or later we’ll end up at the trees of choice. Whatever we pick and consume will produce fruit in our lives in keeping with its origin. Whose voice will we believe; who will we follow?

Lint Removed: Disobedience
Cleaning Process: Repentance

No comments:

Post a Comment