By: Staci Stallings
Teaching Sunday School is fun. I teach fourth grade. One of the focuses of the 4th grade curriculum is the Ten Commandments and sin. The lessons talk about our conscience, original sin, sin, etc. One thing I have found is that the kids know the basic story of Adam and Eve and the garden, but teaching them the real meaning opens up so many doors.
See, most of us think that Eve’s sin and Adam’s sin happened there and that’s the end of it–of course, it perpetuated in original sin, but we don’t understand that we make the same disastrous choice they did nearly every single day. Because we don’t understand that, we keep making that choice and then can’t figure out why our faith feels so shaky and weak.
Let me explain it this way.
There were two trees in that garden. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But let’s make this a little simpler as I do with my kids.
There were two trees in that garden–the Tree of God and the Tree of Me.
Now the Tree of God is good for every good thing. It provides, it sustains, it comforts, it encourages–in abundance, all the time, every day. The Tree of Me, however, is always a temptation. The Tree of Me says I don’t need God. I’ll do it on my own. Or worse, I have to prove something to God. I have to do things to prove I’m good enough.
The Tree of Me represents my strength, my wisdom, my understanding, my effort. It is highly limited and ultimately doomed to fail.
The Tree of God represents God’s strength, God’s wisdom, God’s understanding, God’s effort.
Do you set your goals and go for them, heedless of what God says or wants for you? Do you do things FOR God? Are the things you do for God because they are a duty and He might be angry if you don’t? Do you frequently look around your life and wonder where any abundance might be? Is abundance something only other people experience? Do you fret and worry over everything? Do you panic at the trials of life? Do you feel buffeted in the storm with no way out?
If so, I challenge you to consider that you are probably eating off of the Tree of Me rather than the Tree of God. Eating off of the Tree of Me, you have a pretty fair assessment that you can’t do what’s in front of you, that life is much bigger than you, and you’re just a few steps away from utter disaster. But when you eat off of the Tree of God, problems are compared to God, and God can handle any problem. Time issues, family issues, people issues–they are all handled, not by you but by God because you let Him.
I can’t, but He can. This simple phrase puts the futility of the Tree of Me into perspective.
So which tree are you eating off of?