Choose Your Tree

Jun 3, 2019 3232

Choose Your Tree

In life, you always get to choose. I’ve heard people say, “I had no choice.” But that’s usually just means that they didn’t like the choices that they had, or perhaps that they didn’t even know they had a choice. But there’s always a choice about how you live your life, and for every moment of every day.

One of the most important choices which is always with us is whether we will sit under the Tree of Life or whether we will sit under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis in the Bible is all about choices. These were the two trees that God placed in the Garden of Eden:

Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9, NIV).

The Tree of Life represented the source of all things good: happiness, peace, relationships. These are the things that make life worth living. These are all the things that lead to a fulfilled life.

The Tree of the Knowledge of the Good and Evil sounds like it might be a good tree. We all value knowledge, right? And we think that knowing what is good and evil is a positive thing. But this isn’t a good tree at all. The devil, whom Jesus said was a liar (John 8:44) told our first parents that it was a good tree, but God said it wasn’t (Genesis 2:9, 16–17).

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a very specific kind of knowledge. It isn’t a knowledge that discernsgood and evil. Instead, it’s a knowledge that judgesgood and evil. There is a difference.

Judgment belongs only to God (Mat 7:1–5; Luke 6:37; John 5:22; Rom 14:1–23; James 4:11–12). When we judge and condemn another, we are taking the place that belongs only to God.

The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the Tree of Judgment. As soon as Adam and Eve ate its fruit they started judging. First, Adam judges himself as unworthy (Gen 3:10), then he judges Eve (“the woman” – v.12), and finally he judges God (“you gave… me” – v.12). It happened in that sequence in the garden, and it has happened in that sequence ever since. Judgment never ends when it’s in human hands.

At the Cross, God showed the world how he judges.

Thousands of years later we find another judgment (John 12:31) centred on a tree. Now it is the tree of Calvary (1 Pet 2:24). There, Jesus Christ was judged by the highest powers of this world and found wanting and worthy of death. Again, the tree of judgment is the tree of death; it is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Humanity thought they knew what they were doing. But they didn’t.

God saw the judgment of this world and turned his back on it. Instead, at the Cross, God showed the world how he judges! In Christ, God turned the tree of judgment into the Tree of Life. From Christ’s wounds flows life everlasting for all who believe. And the Tree of Life was restored to this world, for all believe.

Because of what Jesus has done, the ultimate  standard of judgment is now the Cross. In a real sense, we are all judged according to how we choose to respond to the Lamb of Calvary. That’s whyJesus said that he didn’t need to judge anyone:

If anyone hears My words and does not  believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world(John 12:47, NIV; compare with John 3:17–18, with both passages being in the context of the Cross).

I have been writing about judgment in the sense of condemning others, judging them as unworthy, and looking down on them. This affects every one of us, in each and every one of our relationships.

So, you get to choose what tree you sit under. Will you live under the Tree of Life, choosing for all your words and actions to build others up and give life? Or will you sit under the Tree of Judgment, with the result of your words and actions being death to all.

Choose life.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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