Which Tree?

Pastor John Bevere in his book Good or God? discusses the way we all get distracted toward the life we really don’t want, you know the life where we are not experiencing all the “divine good” that God has in store for us.

He says “Most Christian people….are deceived by and drawn to behavior and things that seem right, good and wise but are contrary to His wisdom. We are told: ‘There is a way that seems right to many, but its end is the way of death’” [Proverbs 14:12].

Bevere boils it down to choices. God has a choice He presents to us: that we choose the tree of life or we choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Of course it is not and in today’s world it is getting more complicated all the time.

We are constantly bombarded by advertisements which are very clever. The strategy is to get us to buy something we do not need or do something we should not do. That is not new but the pervasive nature of advertising is. We all use the internet and companies track consumer behavior via the keystroke. Interested in buying a mattress? Guess what will show up on your browser page the next time you go to search something? Guess what will show up on Facebook when you log on the next time? Go to Amazon and what will you see on the screen?

You know, mattresses.

Secondly is the influence of our leaders in this world. For the past twenty years or so, one can see that our society is in a slow downward spiral that is leading to more and more uncivil behavior. I know this should not be a factor but when a leader is on television or some other form of media and they say or do something that is crass, that crass behavior impacts others. Maybe it becomes more acceptable for ordinary people to do. It should not work like that, but it does.

One can argue that America is a nation that values the right of expression. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, but at times it seems like there is too much speech. Due to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. every passing thought is posted for the whole world to see. Maybe it makes all of us feel important but is it necessary? Also some people seem to have very little regard for their readers. It is important to consider the person who is reading a post and careful editing is a part of good writing. One does not need to express every thought without careful consideration, but it seems that many do that very thing.

Lastly, Pastor Bevere gets very serious about Christian behavior. He says that many Christians don’t feel they have to be concerned about the choices they make because they are saved. The thought is “I’m saved, headed for heaven, and will not see death” [Bevere, 9]. The way of death in this world is a worry that unbelievers have to deal with. I am a Christian; I don’t have to choose between life or death in this world.

Bevere is trying to communicate to all of us that we do.

We see it in the choices people make every day. The desire to fit it. The desire to be “hip”. The desire for power. The desire for wealth. The desire for knowledge that impresses others. We give in and go for those desires and neglect the life choices that are really important.

We settle for something that seems good but maybe it is not. Maybe it is “of this world” but the values of this world are not what we should aspire to. The tree of life is the right choice. If we choose that tree, we will have a “source of nourishment” that will lead to success, long life, peace of mind and honor.

Sadly, we are seduced to choose from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and people lead lives of toil, stress, unproductivity, sickness, selfishness and other byproducts of slow spiritual death.

Pastor Bevere admits that this is a hard choice: “good and evil cannot always be differentiated on the surface level” [Bevere, 11].

But God wants us to choose the tree of life. He wants to redeem us. He wants us to recover some of what Adam and Eve lost. His wisdom leads to happiness, pleasant living and abundance.

I want all those positive things associated with divine good that Bevere speaks of.

Don’t you look forward to future study of Good or God?

I sure do…

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