Tree of Life – Part 4
Walking in Innocence and Freedom
Stop and think about the neutral ground in the Garden of Eden prior to Adam and Eve eating from the TKGE. They had not eaten from the Tree of Life, but death was not yet flowing in their lives or relationships either. So, they enjoyed a close loving friendship with God, and each other. No judging of one another. No criticism of each other. No evaluating and laughing at each other. No finger pointing. No negative attitudes. No secrets. No lies. No insecurities. Even without eating from the Tree of Life it sounds better than the last church you served in, doesn’t it?
Now, what if we add the Tree of Life to the equation? What might be possible? How wonderful could life and ministry and church actually be if everyone was out of the TKGE, and eating from the Tree of Life?
Let’s explore the Tree of Life a little more and understand the root system, the limbs and the fruit they produce.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:13 NIV.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16b NIV
To have a deep tap root called love is a wonderful thing. Love is outgoing toward another’s good. When loves flows from us like a mighty river, it impacts others in the best way possible. We could call the manifesting limb service to others. In time, as the flow of love leaving us to serve others creates a wonderful fruit that surpasses happiness. It is a fruit called joy.
The term happy comes from the ancient word hap. A hap has to do with luck. Often these events are beyond our control. When our luck is good and several haps occur that we are hoping for, we say we are happy. When one or more haps come our way that we did not want to occur, we wish they were not, so we are un-happy.
The joy of living in the Tree of Life is not a result of luck or circumstance, but a solid fruit growing on the limb of service to others, being fed and developed by the root of love. This is the essence of the Two Great Commandments.
Faith as a root produces a limb called trust. When this limb called trust in God produces it’s wonderful fruit, we call it peace. When you live in the Tree of Life, Father watches out for you. You need not worry like those who don’t know God. You don’t fuss and fume about what you don’t have. You relax and rest in the Lord, and have peace of mind. It’s His plan, His church, His ministry, His problems, His problem people, His challenges, He is the center of the plan, not us. We can relax and have peace. Amen!
Hope. With hope as a root in the Tree of Life, the heart is not made sick. Instead the limb of optimism produces fruits like patience, endurance and faithfulness. People living in life smile more and see the future with a positive slant. The TKGE person is so busy with his conspiracy theories and figuring out who did what wrong that they have little time for smiling and loving others.
Humility is certainly another root in the Tree of Life. Have you ever met a Christian with no humility? Sure you have. It’s almost enough to turn you off church all together! Jesus exemplified humility, and taught this virtue. When we truly are humble, we no longer worship ourselves in a hundred different ways, but rather, we worship God with our whole being. Humility realizes God is the center of the plan, not self, and the provider of all things. This focus branches out in a limb called worship, and produces a fruit called righteousness. To focus on God and appreciate and love him with our whole heart results in a lifestyle and actions God likes, and calls righteous.
Living in the Tree of Life exemplifies the Kingdom of God as clearly stated in Romans 14:17. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” NIV
If you live in the TKGE, then eating and drinking are important. After all, it involves right and wrong, good and evil. You could be sinning by eating too many chips, or drinking too many sodas! “God forbid, we better make some rules governing this action so our church will set the right example to the world! From now on any member in good standing can’t drink more than two sodas a day, and only one small bag of chips!” Welcome to a church filled with death, little freedom, and unhappy people!