"Two berries" Credit: Flickr user jeremysabol (cc)
The Church, The Eternal Purpose

Eating From the Wrong Tree

The Two Trees

To continue the eating theme from yesterday, I’d like to talk about the two trees found in the garden of Eden.  Remember them?

…the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ~ Genesis 2:9

The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Two trees.  Then what happened?

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” ~ Genesis 2:15-17

God created man, planted a garden in Eden, placed the man in the garden, and said, “Eat.  Eat freely!  Just not from that tree there.  Don’t eat from it.”  How simple!  All humans were told to do was eat.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty nice gig.  If only the Christian life was that easy today, right?  But what happened next?

The fall.  I’m not talking about autumn, I’m talking about sin entering the world and separating humans from God.  God then drives the humans out of the garden of Eden and blocks the way back to the tree of life.  Now we humans are destined to this life of toil.  It’s hard and takes a lot of work.  Especially this Christian life, right?

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

I took a bite from the tree of life at age 15, and thus began my life as a believer in Christ.  God opened my eyes to see Jesus as His son, and I believed into Him.  But what happened after I took that bite?  I was then fed from another tree.

I spent the next 18 years immersed in the prevailing institutional system of Christianity.  I spent 12 of those years serving on staff at various churches as either a youth pastor, worship pastor, or associate pastor.  The majority of all I learned and inherently taught was fruit from the tree of knowledge.

Everything I did was striving toward becoming a better Christian.  I was focused on reading my Bible, having a quality quiet time, serving in ministry, submitting to the authority of the pastor, keeping the church board happy, putting together a meaningful set of praise and worship songs, entertaining youth with witty Bible teaching and relevant events, so on and so forth.  I had to act a certain way, talk a certain speech, and live a certain lifestyle in order to please God and get in His good graces.  The Christian life was hard!

Then, one day, I found an unusual fruit.  It looked different than what I was used to eating, but it looked intriguing.  It smelled wonderful.  It was a simple fruit that was more profound than anything I had been eating up to then.  I wasn’t really sure where it came from, but I knew where it didn’t.  And I knew I didn’t want to go back to the old fruit.

The Tree of Life

I left the prevailing religious system 5 1/2 years ago.  That first year and a half was tough, because I refused to continue to eat from the tree of knowledge, but I didn’t really know how to eat from the tree of life.  Then I met a couple of regular guys who showed me the tree of life.  They then invited – no, encouraged – me to eat of it and eat freely.  I then moved my family half way across the country to be a part of an organic expression of Jesus Christ.  And I’ve been feasting on the tree of life since.

In the past four years, I have moved from a laundry list of things to do to please God to one, simple command: Eat Me.  See, the tree of life walked out of a garden and planted itself on a hill.  The tree of life hung on a tree of death, so all could eat freely.  The tree of life is Jesus Christ.  And all I have to do now is eat.  Eat freely!  The Christian life is made simple!  It was always meant to be simple, but somehow, over time, humans listened to and followed deception, just like back in the beginning.

Now, I have moved my family clear across the country to help others learn to eat from this life-giving tree.  It isn’t always easy, but it is always simple.  I am no longer filled with knowledge – I am filled with Life!  And you can be, too.

For more on eating from the tree of life, please see the following resources:

The Bread of Life ~ Milt Rodriguez

Taking Christ as Food ~ Milt Rodriguez

Featured Image Credit“Two berries” Credit: Flickr user jeremysabol (cc)

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7 Comment

  1. Reply
    kenneth dawson
    September 30, 2014 at 6:39 am

    yea man that is exactly my story–I was a first class heathen–you know the drugs,drinking,sex stuff–no religion–then I met Jesus at the tree/cross he came into me–then I went for the next 26 years into the tree of knowledge of the religion of funnymentalist Christianity–then 13 years ago on the day of the muslim attacks on America I was awakened to the spirit indwelling life of Christ living his Christian life out of my human life–how I do enjoy eating from the right tree–thanks for your story–its nice to know im not the only one.

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      October 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I like your phrase, “funnymentalist Christianity”; the tree of knowledge is certainly a “mental” thing. Thank you for sharing a portion of your story, brother. 🙂

  2. Reply
    Amanda Iosa
    September 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    It’s pretty shocking how inherent the wrong tree is to our human nature. I met Jesus six years ago, and was spiritually birthed into an “organic” church community, which was far removed from the usual religious law-driven life. Even so, the law is so ingrained, it has taken me the last six years to find Christ’s freedom and shed the majority of my own “natural” legalism.

    It’s stunning to me that all God “requires” is for us to eat what He freely offers. What a gracious Lord, to offer Himself without asking us to strive to partake of Him.
    Amanda Iosa recently posted…Seeing Christ in OthersMy Profile

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      October 1, 2014 at 9:46 am

      “It’s stunning to me that all God ‘requires’ is for us to eat…” – I like that word: stunning. Christ is stunningly simple, yet stunningly profound. Thank you for sharing, sister!

  3. Reply
    October 22, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Hi saints, it is wonderful to read your thoughts and revelations. Christ is our shared vision and passion, our Life and Love, our All! May you grow deeper into Him, and be fruitful in encouraging His Bride. She is glorious! We are so glad that He found us and chose us to be part of her here in Almere, The Netherlands. We feel connected to you, holy ones , even though this is our first contact. I’d love to hear more about your story and church(es). Hopefully we see more of each other as time passes.

    1. Reply
      R.C. Babione
      October 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Right back at ya, Eric – we’d love to here more about your story as well. Would love to visit someday in The Netherlands. May you grow deeper into Him, too! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Reply
    Passing It on – With Pipe & Pen
    February 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    […] Hand in hand with the first lesson, this is another one I wish I had learned in my youth. Growing up in the institutional church system, I ate of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil daily. I thought I knew what God’s ways were, because I had a knowledge of good and evil. God is obviously good, so whatever was good (whether it was for me and not the other person didn’t matter) was obviously God’s way. And vice versa, what ever was evil (for me, regardless of whether it was good for somebody else) was obviously not God’s way. Oh, how I ate from the wrong tree! […]

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