The Difference Between Eating from the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life

The Difference Between Eating from the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life

If you are honest, you have to admit that you know far more than you are presently put into practice. If you never heard another sermon, you would have enough biblical truth to work on applying for the rest of your life. You may feel spiritually satisfied by the fact that you go to church every Sunday, that you have your devotions every day, and that you go to the Bible study every week. But if you’re not applying what you are really reading and hearing, then you are only kidding yourself. You’re forgetting the whole point of looking into God’s word in the first place….Every time you hear the word of God preached, you are training yourself to either obey or disobey God. – Ken Ramey, Expository Listening

Adam TreeI have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. I love to study and learn so much that I often have to check myself.  Many times, I would rather seek more knowledge than to seek into practice what I already know.

At times I have heard the Holy Spirit questioning me when I am reading too much, What are you looking for? What are you trying to obtain? Is it more knowledge you are trying to obtain or me? I’m right here. Waiting. Spend time with met through prayer and in meditating on my word. Back away from the books for awhile.

I wish I can say that I have always put the books down to spend time with Christ. Sometimes I have. Sometimes I haven’t. Dealing with Christ in books sometimes is easier then dealing with Christ in person. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge is sometimes more appealing than eating from the Tree of Life. It’s easier, less painful to learn second hand from a book than first hand from life experience.

I would rather read about another person standing up for Christ; I would rather read about their struggles, doubts, trials and suffering than to endure such pain and suffering myself in my own workplace and learn about it first hand as my own faith is tested and strengthened by fire. I would rather read about prayer sometimes than spend an hour on my knees in prayer. I would rather read about how to nourish my marriage than put into practice what I already know God has commanded me concerning my marriage. I would rather read about budgets and how to do a budget than to practice being on a budget. I would rather read about fasting than to fast. I would rather read about how to share my faith than to risk humiliation and share my faith.

Yet there is a vast difference between the type of Christian one grows into by what he feeds on. One does become what they eat. One type of Christianity is based on head knowledge of Christ and the other is based on a heart knowledge of Christ. One is based on hear-say and personal testimony of others and the other is based on personal experience and firsthand knowledge of walking with Christ yourself. You don’t just know of him, you know Him.

One knows Jesus lives because they have personally encountered him. They have walked with him in life as Enoch walked with God. They aren’t living off another’s life experience and stories. Instead their life is filled with their own miraculous stories about when God caused them to walk in faith, when God rescued them, when God revealed himself to them in ways no one else could see but their own eyes. They know what they have seen with their own eyes, heard with their own ears concerning the Word of life. The life was made manifest to them. (1 John 1:1-3) They may not have touched Christ as John and the other apostles did but they cannot deny that Christ has touched them and spoken to them.  They may not be able to understand it fully or explain it, but they know Christ yet lives because God has revealed Him to them in their own lives.

This is the difference between eating from the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. There is something different about these Christians because of their spiritual diets. They live off practicing the word of God in their lives. They consistently recognize and trust in the hand of God in their life circumstances. They feed from the Tree of Life daily.  Like Jesus, they have food to eat that the world knows nothing about. (John 4:32)

They are practical because they have practiced what they teach. They are understanding, because they have suffered too. They are merciful and forgiving because they have failed.  They are patient because they know how patient God has been with them. They are real, genuine, down to earth, battle worn. They are beaten, broken, tired, worn out and humble from their experiences yet joyful and giddy for having known Him and seen Him yet again.

Those who feed off the Tree of Knowledge alone are often disconnected. There is a wide gap between what they believe and how they act. They can never seem to play it out. They have high ideals, many good truths and sound doctrine but there is a wide disconnect between their head and their heart. There is no power. They have a form of godliness but no ability to live it out. They are always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They know of Jesus but they do not know Him through experience. They are often cold and unsympathetic when it comes to sinners, impatient,  ungracious, because they have never entered the fire themselves. They have never been battled tested. They choose to stay where it is safe instead of following their Lord to the cross. Their knowledge of how to battle comes from others who have returned from the war and is repeated and not first hand. They can quote scripture, they know all the Christian lingo, mottos and phrases but there is a staleness about them as they are drawn from stagnant waters instead of the fresh living life giving waters of the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, we must eat from the Tree of Life. We must put into practice what we hear and what we already know, which is more than enough to practice the rest of our lives if we put our heart into it. We must be fed by Christ demonstrating his truth, his faithfulness, his presence, his wisdom, his love, his understanding in our daily lives and in our circumstances. We must hear him speak to us in our troubles and trials. As we are going through something we must be looking for Christ and listening for Christ asking ourselves, What is it that Jesus is saying to me through this? What does he want me to know? What does he want me to learn? What does he want me to see? How would he have me respond? What does he want me to do? How is this testing and strengthening my faith in Him? How is this intended to grow my love for God or for others? How is this intended to help me see the sinfulness of my sin? What is God doing in my life right now?

We must be continually listening and obeying. We must be continually praying; talking to God, talking to Jesus as one talks to a friend. When is the last time you talked to Jesus. Just talked? If Jesus asked you in the evening before bed or in the middle of the day, “How’s it going?” What would you say? If you had the opportunity to tell God how it’s going with you right now at this point in your life, what would you say? That is what prayer is. Your opportunity to tell God how it is going. “Lord, it’s going great right now, I really appreciate such and such…” or  “Lord, It’s really not going so great right now. It is anything but well with my soul. Give me hope where I see none; strengthen my feeble faith. This adversity is really showing me how week my faith is and how little  I actually trust in you when tested. Increase my confidence in you”

Right now, would you take time to put down the phone, the tablet, the books and simply take 5-10 minutes to come and sit down before the Lord and tell him how it’s going. This is feeding off the Tree of  Life. It is walking with Jesus in the evening in the cool of the day. It is coming to Jesus for counsel, for strength, for guidance, for refreshment, for understanding. It’s opening your bible and allowing his word to speak to your heart, to your circumstances and to give you direction.

What I am writing is not anything new or profound. It’s simply a reminder that we know far more then we are currently putting into practice.  We always want to pick something up when we want to draw close to God, maybe it’s time to put everything down, come to him empty handed and simply pray.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psa. 62:8)