**I do not own the rights to this photo.
Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV); And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (emphasis my own)
Genesis 3:6 (NIV); When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (emphasis my own)
Hello everyone! Greetings from Florida, USA! I am writing this pool side after a wonderful day at the seaside. I spent the day walking, praying, and soaking in the peace and sound of the waves. I hope that peace and joy will be reflected in the words on these pages today.
I don't typically add verses to the beginning of my blogs but these verses will be the focal point of the first discussion so I wanted them front and center. You will see some parallels in this blog related to my Easter blog. For your reference, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil will be referred to as the Tree from here forward. The “forbidden fruit” I am referring to is not actual fruit, but life's mindsets, lies, and pain we take into ourselves as a result of our own waywardness and following our own faulty wisdom.
This blog is very personal for me. I've been thinking a lot about the forbidden fruit I've not just admired in my life, but “eaten” through mindsets, lies, pain, and even actions. It tastes sweet, until it doesn't. In time, it becomes bitter and ugly. You wonder how something so enticing and so promising (or at least that's what you were told) could let you down so hard and leave your soul so sick. My hope is that if you are partaking of this world's forbidden fruit, you will turn away from it and leave the Tree behind – there is so much life and freedom that fruit can't give you (it never could). If you are standing in front of the Tree wanting to take said fruit because it looks so good and smells so sweet, I hope my words will give you pause to know there is something so much better for you.
First things first. I want to point out that the verses in Genesis 2 and 3 aren't about who's to blame for the Fall. Adam and Eve each had their own responsibility for the Fall - another blog for another time. The point of the verses is to show you how we get to the Tree in the first place to eat the forbidden fruit.
The Tree, the Fruit, and Subtle Deceptions
Humans are naturally curious, God put that in us. We get to the Tree the same way Adam and Eve got to to the Tree, curiosity. The Tree has beautiful fruit (seemingly freeing, good life choices and worldly wisdom) and that fruit is “forbidden” (increasing the mystery) so looking can't hurt right? Herein lies the first subtly of the fruit of the Tree, the fruit of the tree is pleasing to the eye.The problem with looking is it never stops at “just looking” (neither does sin). We humans must always touch as our first mother and father did so long ago. The second subtly of the Tree, the fruit of the tree was good for food and desirable for gaining wisdom . The Deceiver tells us that the fruit will give us something or fill us with something we supposedly don't have or have enough of: money, power, identity, love, wisdom, healing, god-like status. And oh, how that sounds so good, looks so good, and then the bite! The fruit is sweet and we need and want more. The third and final subtly of the Tree, the fruit promises fulfillment but it can never satisfy your hunger for any one thing. You will always need more, more, more. The fruit is no longer sweet but bitter. You realize that what you thought you desired has left you empty, spiritually hungry, bitter, and hollow. Your eyes are open, but not too goodness and wisdom, only to your pain and sin as were Adam and Eve's. Can you imagine what would have happened if they had been allowed to then eat of the Tree of Life in this broken spiritual state? Thank the Lord for his mercy! Contrary to what the forbidden fruit promises to give you, wisdom is far from you. Riches do not have the same shine. You do not know real love. You fail miserably at being your own god. You are broken. You don't even know who you are anymore. I speak from experience as this was me just 4 years ago. After I'd had my fill of not doing things God's way and all the forbidden fruit that went with that, I surrendered my heart and my body completely to Him. *I was broken, hollow, and bitter with soul and identity shattered. Yes, I loved Jesus AND I had been deceived. How many of your love Jesus, yet you are entertaining forbidden fruit and sin in your life that will break you to the very core of your being? Is it worth it? It wasn't for me. How many of you don't know Jesus at all and you need a way out? Good news is coming, keep reading!
The Good News
But God. I say “but God” because if it weren't for his infinite wisdom and love, there would be no way back from the bitterness and brokenness of soul caused by consuming forbidden fruit and the curse of sin. The Tree would be all there is to this life. We would be born into sin, live in sin and pain with no way out until we got old and died; or some sin killed us. If all I had to look forward to were the addictions and pain I recycled in various ways for years, I'd welcome death. Yet, even in death there would be no relief. You and I would be eternally separated from God, forever. If that doesn't sound hopeless, I don't know what does. I wouldn't sign up for hopelessness. Would you? The Father didn't want that for us either. He didn't want the Tree, the Deceiver, nor the forbidden fruit to have the last word for his beautiful human creations – me and you.
The Father sent Jesus to correct the mistake of the first Adam by becoming the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 and 45-47) and sacrificing himself for us on the cross that we might, once and for all, be free from sin and the effects of forbidden fruit. There is no greater love than this in all the world (John 15:13)!
Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all of our sins (past, present, future) having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (emphasis mine).
Friends, it is finished, once and for all (John 19:30)! The separation between God and mankind who took the forbidden fruit is done away with (Matthew 27:50-51)! The forbidden fruit is not the end; I don't care how much or what kind you've eaten! We have redemption available to us! We are made new (2nd Corinthians 5:17)! Jesus can heal the effects of the forbidden fruit in our bodies, hearts, and minds because he took all of the punishment already: Isaiah 53:4-5 (TPT) “Yet he was the one who carried our sicknesses and endured the torment of our sufferings. We viewed him as one who was being punished for something he himself had done, as one who was struck down by God and brought low. But it was because of our rebellious deeds that he was pierced and because of our sins that he was crushed. He endured the punishment that made us completely whole, and in his wounding we found our healing.”
He did this for us because he wanted to! He didn't have to, he wasn't forced to, he wanted to!
John 10:17-18 NIV; “ For this cause I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
He yielded himself to the government of the day and died for you and me because he wanted to set us free from the law of sin and death brought upon us all by the first Adam with the forbidden fruit. If he had not done so, there would be no hope for us because we could not save ourselves. I know I wasn't doing a good job of “saving myself”, that's for sure! None of us can, no matter how moral or good we are! His grace, never our works (Romans 11:6 NIV). Do you grasp the magnitude of what He has done for you and me? Oh that you would grasp this truth! My heart is almost bursting as I type these words because I so want you to understand the freedom and healing we have access to in Jesus and him alone!
The forbidden fruit and the Tree have no hold on us! Sin has no hold on us! Not even death will conquer us in the end (even though we die naturally) because Jesus has already conquered death (Revelation 1:18 NIV).
This is good news! Don't you see? I pray that you see! Lay down your forbidden fruit and embrace the King who laid down his life for you – a ransom for your freedom and healing. A ransom paid once and for all for all who will believe. Just believe.
With much love,
*Please see my blog Tears, Clarity, and the Freedom of It All, April 17th, 2022