Tree of Life – Part 7
When living in the TKGE comes so naturally to human nature, and is so prevalent in our society, what does Tree of Life living look like in everyday application?
When you live in the Tree of Life you walk in a simple, childlike innocence. You are not an expert in right and wrong , good and evil. You have a childlike approach to life and relationships. The abilities that come with the TKGE , which are – know, blame and judge – are not a part of your personality or life style.
When you meet people, you have a beaming smile on your face, not a frown of evaluation and caution. When you open your mouth and speak, words of life come out, even when speaking with someone who greatly dislikes you. You speak words of life because it leads to life. You avoid gossip because it leads to death. You speak the truth because it leads to life, and lying leads to death.
Everything you do leads to life in you and in others. You avoid those things that are very common but lead you or others toward death. When you are accused by others, you speak blessings into their lives. When a staff member does something wrong you work with them in love and bless them and love them into better service. You don’t get into mini sermons on right and wrong and moralizing until the staff member decides working in another church would be fun.
When the worship leader forgets his guitar, you don’t get angry or frustrated. You speak life into him and into the congregation, and then get on with worshiping God which leads to life. How church service “looks” that morning is not important, and certainly doesn’t affect your image.
The main issue here is life. Making life choices in thousands of decisions everyday, is Tree of Life living. It may seem natural to accuse your teen of laziness when you find the sink still full of dishes, but does accusing lead to life when we may not know the whole story?
Maybe you’re a youth pastor, and you are upset at a young man in your group who shows up for services with more body percing than a Spanish bull near the end of a bullfight! So are you going to speak life into him, or allow your worries about how it makes your youth group look cause you to try and control and brow beat him? Life or death. That’s what it is about. If you go off running around worrying about right and wrong , good and evil, and you will wear out and burnout in due time.
Life and death. Life does not come from expertise in good and evil, but, it does come from the revelation of life and death. Unless you and I can understand this, we should not re-enter ministry. Unless we can understand this we will never be life-giving ministry leaders.
Everything we do and say should be because those actions or statements lead to life. We should not do and say things because we are angry, insulted, embarrassed, fearful, intimidated or wounded.
Everything should lead to life. Even tithing. Why do you tithe? Because God commands it? Because your denomination teaches so? Because it sets the right example? Because if you don’t God will fry you in hell? Because there is a big fat promise in Malachi of blessings and you want to cash in? Or, do you tithe because it leads to life in you and others? Do you tithe because being a cheerful giver leads to life?
It’s true, being a cheerful giver in any area of life leads to life. Writing a nice big fat tithe check on Sunday morning with deep regret in your heart only leads to death in your spirit.
The innocence in the Tree of Life comes from knowing Jesus personally. The purely intellectual believer who knows much about Jesus, but doesn’t know Jesus from the heart will find it impossible to walk in this type of innocence. When you have this innocense, the anointing can flow freely. Without this innocence, well, knowledge is all you have.
Since it is all about life and death, how can we tell if we are living in the Tree of life? With time, and understanding that it is a heart issue, you will know easily. Here is one interesting test. How do you react to other people’s sin? Do you respond with life? If you do, you will experience something Jesus died to give us – freedom! If you respond with a sour spirit to their sin or your own sin, then you have eaten of the wrong tree. If your response is free from victimization, you are well on the road to the Tree of Life.