Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10

THERE WERE TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN

     Living the Christian Life is not hard…it’s impossible.   Now before the theology police try to have me burned at the stake,two-trees2.jpg let me explain why I would risk expressing such a thought.  This statement is a product of about 40 years of ministry and dealing with many people who have become frustrated with themselves and their inability to live up to the ideals of what some say constitutes the life of a good Christian.burned-at-stake.jpg  I mean really, if each of us believers in Jesus was to make a list of everything every preacher told us to do to be a good Christian, we would need an extra sheet of paper, maybe two (Timmmmmberrrrr!).  Here’s a partial list of some of those things I have heard and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep perfectly.  Read your Bible…Do it every day…and be sure and get up at 5:00 in the morning to begin.  You slouch!  You’re already behind John Wesley.  He got up at 4:00 a.m. and had preached Three times before noon.  Second, Pray!  Do it on your knees and at least 1-2 hours per day.  Third, Witness for Jesus...Remember, “…he that winneth souls is wise…”  Fourth, Obey the Holy Spirit.  Don’t dare miss a leading of the Lord or you can’t go to heaven.  Fifth, attend church faithfully…and don’t miss a service.  God doesn’t like it when people miss church.  Follow those few with Tithing, being filled with the Spirit, and finding your gift area and walking in it.  Whew!!!  I’m tired already.  Oh, wait a minute…I forgot Sanctification.  We’ve got to be sanctified.  “…Without holiness no one shall see the Lord.”  Let’s see how I’m doing so far.  Forget that!  How did I do today?  Let me get my list and check a few of these off.  Hope I didn’t miss one.
      Just writing that paragraph makes me nervous.  Actually most of the things I listed and so much more are helpful and some are even tree-of-knowledge.jpgnecessary for a successful walk with God but there is a problem.  The problem is the approach.  It is a “Do” oriented approach.  Now “Doing” is important in the Christian Life also, but it can never come before ‘being’.  The secret to living the Christian Life is hinted at in Genesis 2:9b.  “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  Look a little more closely at this verse.  Do you see it?  There it is?  Both good and evil are in the same tree.  What!  Yeah!  Good and evil are in the same tree.  There is the problem with trying to live the Christian Life.  Men have a tendancy to live in extremes.  Once we are saved we want to please the Lord with our actions, but we do it out of the abundance of our souls rather than our spirits, and we do as many good things as we can.  We make our lists of the good and right things we are supposed to do.  Our list is not too long when we first start, but as we listen to sermons and read our Bibles and go to seminars our lists get longer and longer until we become wrapped up in our list.  The end result of this is frustration.  Frustrated people either give up or, worse, just settle into a ‘religious’ life.
      A religious life usually consists of someone who has made a list just long enough that he can be relatively successful at keeping.  Her ability to keep the list makes her very proud and…if you please…a member of a very exclusive club…LEGALISTS.  There is also another side to religiosity, LICENTIOUSNESS.  These folks think that God’s grace has little to no responsibility attached to it.  As long as they feel comfortable for having prayed a prayer of repentance so they can go to heaven when they die, they are actually fairly satisfied with their life as is.  All of this comes out of the same tree.
      Therein lies the big problem.  As long as we keep trying to live the Christian Life out of our human souls we will fail.  The soul is where the Intellect, Emotions and Will reside.  God is Spirit…not soul.  Spirit is the highest life form.   The Christian Life is…God.  That is…whatever God does is the Christian Life.  Here are some questions we might ask ourselves. Does God read his Bible?  Does He tithe?  How about Church?  Does He go there on Sunday?  Surely He speaks in tongues, right?  Again, let me say these things are important (I hate burning at the stake).  But the key is to become a participant in Eternal Life.  Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life, and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…so that…you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
 
     I wonder if this conversation ever took place?  Did Jesus speak to the disciples just before the Ascension and say, “…Now boys, I lived the Christian life by partaking of my Father’s life.  I only did what I saw him doing and only spoke what I heard him saying.  We communed together every day.  We enjoyed one another’s Presence.  But you peons can’t do it that way.  You need to Read your Bibles and pray and tithe and…and…and do it all without complaining.  I connected with my Father, but you will have to live the Christian Life by a secondary method.”  That conversation never took place.
tree-of-life.jpgIf Adam had partaken of the Tree of Life, the very Life of God would have flowed through him.  His obedience would have been the result of his passionate relationship with his loving God.  God would have been “at work in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2.13). A Christian cannot obey his way into fellowship with God, but he can fellowship his way into obedience to God. Interestingly, when a person becomes a Christian he receives that Life, Eternal Life.  God begins to commune with him through his spirit.  He begins to produce in him the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23).  What is fruit anyway?  Fruit is the result of a tree that is drowning in life.  In Christ we have the privilege of choosing once again how we will live the sanctified Life.  We can choose one tree out of which still flows good and evil or we can choose the other one…The tree of Life.  There were two trees in the garden.  There still are.  One leads to fellowship, the other to religion.  Which will you choose?

May 5th, 2009 Posted by | Christian Life, Discipleship, Fellowship | 7 comments