If you spent any time in Sunday school as a child, you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve.
Once upon a time, God made Adam from dust and put him into the garden. In the midst of the garden was the tree of life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there, too. God had Adam name the creatures and Adam discovered everyone had a partner of like kind but him. Having exposed his need, God met it with Eve (as he had always planned to do). When Adam saw Eve, he immediately recognized she was exactly what he had longed for and was amazed with God’s provision. And they lived happily ever after. The End.
Wait! That’s not how it ends, is it? That would be the Disney version, right? Just skip the whole sin-and-its-consequences part and ride off into the sunset.
It is how it should’ve been.
But what really happened was Eve was faced with a choice: life or knowledge. And she chose knowledge.
If you had a good Sunday school teacher they taught you that we would’ve done the same thing. In fact we do it every day when we choose our way instead of God’s way. And just like them, we suffer the consequences – little deaths in the form of broken promises, broken relationships, broken possessions, and broken bodies. One day our bodies will die, too. If we are not in Christ, our soul will suffer eternal death-but-never-dying. If we are in Christ we will finally experience life as it was meant to be lived – unending and free from sin and sorrow.
What escaped me for years, was the fact that I do not only choose sin just like my first parents did, I daily choose between life and knowledge. When I open my copy of God’s word I am standing in the garden and I can see the two trees – life and knowledge – with their branches intertwined against the clear blue sky as they stretch toward the sun.
I must choose which fruit I will eat.
Will I look on the life offered in scripture and see that it is good and and a delight to my eyes and share it with my husband? Or will I look on knowledge of scripture as sufficient and delight to add to my knowledge and have nothing of value to share with anyone?
Notice that either way I am taking scripture in hand and eating of it – choosing life is not choosing ignorance. Choosing life means I interpret life through the lens of scripture. Choosing knowledge means I interpret scripture through the lens of life.
James 1:22 puts it this way,
… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Which will I choose? Doing life according to scripture and letting it penetrate my heart or letting the sound waves of scripture bounce off of the eardrums of my heart?
Will I eat of life according to the Bible, accepting Christ’s righteousness, reveling in his grace & abundance, and yielding to his Spirit? Or will I eat of knowledge of the Bible, establishing my own righteousness, repeating “right” answers, following the rules, and clanging like a cymbal as I fail to live in love.
I am just like Eve. Satan tempts me to eat the fruit of knowledge instead of life.
- It happens when my devotions become a check box on my to-do list instead of a check point for my heart.
- It happens when when I study the Bible to teach others instead of to be taught and then share from what I’ve learned.
- It happens when Scripture memory is a compulsion rather than a cleansing.
- It happens when my prayers center on my creature comforts rather than my Creator’s call.
But I am different than Eve.
- I don’t have to wait for the cool of the day to walk with God – His Spirit is with me through the heat of my day, too.
- God didn’t breathe life through my nostrils, his Spirit gives me life with every breath I take.
I must choose to value life over knowledge, and because his Spirit lives in me, I can.