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Faith Imagined: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

November 20, 2009

Garbage In, Garbage Out

There were two trees in the Garden of Eden: Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, but they Snake tempted them to eat a fruit from this tree. They did, and their eyes were open to their nakedness.

We all know this story, and we pity Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden apple, yet we consume poisonous apples daily and think nothing of it.

Tree of Knowledge is the symbol of evil. The snake is the symbol of the fallen Arch Angle Lucifer (Satan) who before his fall was called "the star of the morning, son of dawn" (Isaiah 14:12). The fruit is the symbol of the fruits of evil. Adam and Eve's consumption of the fruit is the symbol of sin. Sin separates us from God. God is all good. Something that is 100% genuine cannot mix with any other elements. God is %100 good; therefore, everything that has the absense of good (evil, sin, darkness) cannot mix with Him. Those things are un-God. There is no in between. God did not create evil, but since He created good, the absense of good exists.

God gave Adam and Eve free-will and they chose to allow evil enter into a creation that was made all-good by God. They consumed sin with Satan, and this sin corrupted God's beautiful design. Because of God's mercy and love, He came down to this corrupted earth and became a man we know as Jesus. Jesus felt the full repercussions of sin -- He felt pain, hunger, temptations & death; yet, He lived a blameless life. Our 100% perfect God came into our %100 corrupted world to show that He could still live a %100 blameless life. He consumed no apples while He walked among us, yet He tasted the fullness of their poison. He took that poison within His body, so that whenever we take bites of our apples, He pays the price.

There are fruits of evil all around us, and we daily have the choice to consume them. These fruits are on TV shows, movies, music, books, Internet, conversations, relationships, actions, thoughts, attitudes, etc. I'm not going to go into the specifics of what is evil and what is not. If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit of God residing in you. If you are daily allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will tell you what is good and what is evil. You'll feel it in your soul. Read Galatians 5:16-23 for more information.

Our culture today relishes in pushing the boundaries of the knowledge of evil. Every aspect of media and day-to-day life dives into the unexplored knowledge that seems beautiful, delicious, new and interesting. It all appears exciting at first: a provocative new love affair, a sophisticated act of mayhem, a piercing insight of torture, a hilarious act of perversion, a subtle twist of purity. And we fill our hearts and minds with it. Christians are consuming sin by the fistful, and we think that we are doing nothing wrong. We act like we have it all together; but when disaster hits, our true colors show. Many Christians are depressed, defeated and distraught. We have forgotten that what goes in, must come out.

I'm not saying that you won't experience hardships because you will. Jesus lived a blameless life, but He experienced the effects of sin because the world is corrupted. Yet, with our choices we can tip the scales towards blessings or towards curses. Before the Israelites entered the Promise Land, God told them that they can choose a life of blessings or curses (Deuteronomy 30:15-16). God said specifically that the path to blessings was not hard to achieve: "Now what I'm commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach" (Deuteronomy 30:11). How do we achieve the path of blessings vs. the path of curses?

Here is a simple formula:

Consuming fruits of sin from the Tree of Knowledge of Evil = a path of curses

Consuming fruits of God from the Tree of Life = a path of blessings

God told the prophet Ezekiel to eat the scrolls (Ezekiel 3:3). King David meditated (ponder and contemplated) on God's laws because they were like honey (Psalm 19:9-10). Jesus broke the bread and said, "Take it; this is my body" (Mark 14:22). God's Word, God's Commands and God's Son are all fruits from the Tree of Life. What I fear for myself and for other Christians is that our daily intake of fruit is 99% from the Tree of Knowledge and only 1% from the Tree of Life. God has tested me on this, and I failed miserably (Psalm 26:2); but I'm determined to do better!

God makes a promise to us. He said that if we consume from the Tree of Life, we shall be blessed. My prayer is that Christians (me included) would drop all the apples and start clinging to God's Word. Satan was once the bearer of light, and he can make sin seem beautiful. The beauty of sin is rooted so deeply in our lives that it's hard to see it; and the only way we'll ever be able to distinguish it is if we explore the opposite -- God! When we start cultivating a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God, all those apples that seemed acceptable at first start to repulse us. Once we experience the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin become extremely apparent.

The world has made the Tree of Knowledge seem so exciting and awesome, but the fact is that nothing is more exciting or awesome than the Tree of Life! It is up to Christians to choose the path of blessings and show the world how totally amazing our God is! I know that the apples in your life may seem to taste good and look trendy, but I promise you that if you sacrifice them for God and replace them with fruits from the Tree of Life, you will be blessed. I can make such a bold promise because God promises it in His Word.

I love Christians who make an effort to set themselves a part from the world, yet maintain a high regard in the world's eyes. I can think of several Christian - athletes, singers, movie stars, scientist, entrepreneurs and writers - who are admired by Christians and non-Christians. In the New Testament when the church was in its early stages, the Bible says that many people admired the church members, though they didn't join the church (Acts 5:12-14). Not everyone is going to become Christians and not everyone is going to agree with our faith, but we still should be admired for our integrity, our work ethic, our selflessness, our compassion, our talents and our love for others. We still should lead lives worth emulating. That is why it is so important to eat from the Tree of Life!

Go back and listen to the song again. Meditate on the lyrics. Ask God to test your life, so He can sift the sin from you. Just remember that whatever is done in secret is found out. If you are spending time with God, reading His Word, obeying His commandments and staying clear of the Tree of Knowledge, your life will reflect God's beauty. And I can only guess what awesome things God will do in and through you!

* I was just asked the question, "Why would God put the Tree of Knowledge of Evil and Good in the Garden"?

I want to assert again that God cannot create evil. Lucifer was created as the most beautiful angel ever - Lucifer means light-bearer. When God created Lucifer the absense of Lucifer was also created. Everything has its opposite because of its absense; it's what defines it. Because Lucifer fell away from God, he became the opposite of the light-bearer. He became the bearer of darkness. Evil is created because of our free-will. We can embrace God (God is all-good, all-love, all-holy) or we can embrace un-God (evil, hate, corruption). God gave us the choice; otherwise, we would just be robots. When we embrace God and accept Jesus as a payment for our wrong choices, we go to heaven (the place that has God). When we shun God and do not accept Jesus as payment for our wrong choices, we go to hell (the place that does not have God). Everything that is evil is merely the absense of what God made. We decide which direction we go -- to God or away from God.

I know you might wonder why God created anything in the first place because everything He creates has an opposite. However, when I look at my life, my husband and my children, I feel so much love and good. I'm glad God created us. God created a family. He didn't have to, but He did. I rejoice that He did. I would rather be confronted with the Tree of Knowledge than never exist at all. So guard yourselves, my friends. Guard yourselves from the Tree of Knowledge of evil! Ignorance is bliss when it comes to sin!

He [she] who has an ear, let him [her] hear what the Spirit says to
the churches. To him [her] who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the
tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (Revelations
2:7 NIV).

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Blogger Crissy said...

Another inspiring post! I am going to spend today praying that God shows me my apples and helps me let them go.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

There is much food for thought in this post. Thank you, like Crissy I too will spend time in prayer today.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Very powerful message here, Alisa...this statement..."He took that poison within His body, so that whenever we take bites of our apples, He pays the price. "...really brought the story home and spoke to my heart....

7:02 PM  
Blogger Matt Grudzielanek said...

Very nicely written--so true. I do have a naging issue though--why does Adam keep getting blamed for what Eve did? :) Oh, just had to throw that out there. May He be blessed by your actions today!

7:09 PM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said... always, I am leaving your blog with inspiration and much to think about....I was reading Revelations this morning and the TRUTH and wisdom in first book,Genesis carries through to the last book. How like The Alpha and The Omega, The Author and The Finisher, right?

This was beautifully written....thank you again!

And Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love it!!! esp: He consumed no apples while He walked among us! thank you!!!

6:53 PM  
Blogger Tea With Tiffany said...

Stopping by to say have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Just wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a wonderful day!

9:03 AM  
Blogger alwayshopeful said...

thank you alisa .this is billy you said a prayer for me when i was in the hospital a few days ago. i am out and better because of your prayers also.i also hope you have a happy thanksgiving alisa. god bless you alisa

from billy bedsole age 7

thank you alisa!!!happy thanksgiving,betty ps...yes billy wrote that to you!

7:29 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Thoughtful post -- Happy Thanksgiving.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Awesome post, Alisa. And this is a topic near and dear to me right now. I've struggled a lot with this recently but recognize God calling me back patiently to focus on Him. Thank you for your writings and hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving!

8:02 AM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

Alisa, I think you did a wonderful job articulating some very difficult concepts to understand. And I agree with everything you said. I love reading through the Old Testament. My own life and walk at a testament to the truth of choosing to eat from the fruit of God as opposed to the fruit of the tree.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Cindy Bultema said...

What a powerful post!! I loved the video too... Thanks for sharing!!

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jen Keller said'" Yep, another great message Alisa. The insight about David, Ezekiel and Jesus and eating from the Tree of Life was outstanding. That hit home for me. Incredible view!!!! Thank you for sharing ways that we can relay to others. The part you shared about God's reflection is something The Holy Spirit has been showing me lately through people like you."

10:58 PM  
Blogger Nishant said...

There is much food for thought in this post

Work From Home India

11:56 AM  
Blogger From The Heart Online said...

Wow - I'm amazed at the power with which you speak. The confidence God gives you is inspiring and challenging even in itself.

Then there's the content! What a huge challenge. Above all else, we are to guard our hearts.

I'm blessed to have met you online - encouraged and challenged by your words.

I pray God sifts sin from my life that my choices would result not in a life of curses, but blessing.

It's 3am now. I laid awake for awhile, pondering the difference between good and evil. It's no coincidence that I read this post right now. I thought I was supposed to write, but I see I was supposed to read :)

Thanks again Alisa!


3:28 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you Alisa! This was a wonderful post ... so chocked full of truth to chew on! I am challenged and encourged by all at the same time. Our churches today seem to have no idea just how close they want to get to all those apples ... myself, included. I pray I learn to remove them all COMPLETELY from my life. Have a blessed day!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Patrina's Pencil said...

"Once we experience the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin become extremely apparent."

EXTREMELY! Your voice is powerful. I praise God for His truth in you.

Patrina <")>><
warrior bride in boots

12:34 AM  

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