Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to the Garden

I once heard a preacher sharing a testimonial about how God had to return him to the place of failure, to face the same test, the same choice, before he could progress past it. One can't skip a rung on the way up a ladder, he can but slip down only to face that rung once again in the next attempt to go up. I think that same principle works on a grander scale with all humanity, particularly those who are saved.

When we put faith in Christ and choose to acknowledge him as Lord, we do so from an analogous place and face virtually the same choice as did Adam and Eve back in the Garden. The difference, beyond location in space and time, is that we're a little wiser for the wear. Adam and Eve were innocent, really ignorant, their experience short and sweet--what had they faced that could have truly informed them about the downside of their choice? A little strategic tickling in their ear by that forked tongue devil of a Serpent and they opted (as they had the power to in their godlikeness) for going their own way.

When Holy Spirit conviction comes upon people, and the Word of God is filling their earssome are brought to a moment of clarity, before a tree once again. They are no longer innocent, the tree doesn't have leaves and branches, but it does have the power to produce very good fruit. The option in that crystal clear moment is theirs once again: to trust God or go it alone. The Serpent's there too, but experience makes his a much harder sell this time--we've been through "life" without God, so it's difficult to cover the stench of death in his foul breath.

Nothing in the scriptures, from beginning to end, demonstrates God making, or even being willing to make this choice for anyone. God's grace can put us back in the Garden at the tree, as it were, but he will not decide for us. What he is looking to achieve cannot be gotten in that fashion. He is no puppetmaster, he's a Father; and we're no sockpuppets, we're sons. So, though Christ has faced that test for us; don't think we can get into Christ without venturing back to the Garden too.