“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden”
When I think of the commands of God, what comes to mind is usually the ten commandments He gave to Moses. But God’s first command to us was just one.
To be free.
Not free from something, but free to do something. Free to eat of any tree. Essentially, free to enjoy. Free to choose. Free to partake of all the perfection God imagined for us.
But also, free to choose something other than Him and His good gifts. To choose death instead of life. To choose to know what it was we were forbidden from, rather than be content and trust. Because the second part of this command is what we are familiar with…
“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
We see not being able to do something or know something as restriction. But is the command not to do something that kills you really a restriction? With the fruit came everything that we are freed from through Christ. Guilt, condemnation, sin and death. It’s so easy to see freedom as the ability to do what we want. And we do have that. But having what we want is not really freedom.
“There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
True freedom is found in the original command. Freedom to enjoy the gifts of life God has given. Freedom to enjoy His earth, His provision, His beauty…free to receive His free gifts. As much as we are fallen, the command of God has not changed.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants”
His gifts are still free. Life has always been a free gift, but now it is life eternal. Life in the Eternal Life, our Savior. Jesus has returned us to this first command. He has freed us to simply enjoy our God and be filled in Him and trust Him. To have our life in Him and be free from death.
As Christians, as people who have died with Christ and raised united with Him, we are restored to the simplicity of the garden. We have one command in Christ. Be free to live. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Free to eat of the bread of life. To enjoy His provision and His beauty.
But how much more free we are, now that we are in the Son! We are not walking with God like Adam and Eve in the garden. We are united to Him. One, as He is one with His Son. United in His Son. Perfect in His Son.
We recently celebrated our Independence Day. We were free as a country. Free to worship as we chose. Free to live as we chose.
But the true bondage, the true death, of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was spiritual and eternal. It was inward and complete. And freedom is freedom in Christ, in Spirit and in truth. It frees us from our entire self and from the world. We are in the world but not of it.
“And it is for freedom that we have been set free.” Not for a new set of rules, so we can fit in at some church and appear better than whoever we see to be less good than us. Not for status or affirmation. Not to have a freedom that serves our ego or pride. Freedom from our pride, freedom from our need to prove ourselves as good or righteous. You will be free from the need to prove yourself to be a good person and Chrsitian.
It is easy to say we are doing things for the sake of Christ’s reputation when it’s really our own. Christ’s reputation is in His own hands. And it is best served by our surrender and not by our works.
Our righteousness is filthy rags. And we are free from works.
We have Christ’s works as our own. He will work through us when we are surrendered. It is only faith that takes it from a free gift to a living reality.
True freedom cannot be faked. America could not have been formed if the freedom was not won in truth, with war and sacrifice.
Our freedom was gained through Christ in His sacrifice and victory when He died and the grave could not hold Him. And in Him, His Spirit will take us through this death as well. But death in Christ is begun in Him and through Him.
How does this look practically for us?
It is by faith. Trust that you are free. Believe what God says about you, despite what the serpent says or what your eyes tell you. Even the heart is deceitful above all things. But remind yourself of what God says and walk in it.
He is still calling our names, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, looking to walk and talk with us.
People hear God in many ways, by praying and waiting, by reading the Bible, by writing down what you think God is saying. God answers in songs and messages and books and through people.
But nothing can replace time spent alone with Him, waiting on Him.
Not only to hear Him, but just to be with Him and give Him your self. Tell Him how good and faithful and beautiful He is. Rejoice that He will make all things right and perfect. Rejoice in the glory of His Son.
We must be weak. Be humble. Rely on His work in us.
Just come to Him and ask to know His love and for the strength to love. Come to Him daily and surrender. Pray for His strength and revelation of His love. You won’t do it perfectly. But it’s not about you.
It’s not the act of faithfully spending time with God that makes you holy. If you fail to do it, it does not negate what Christ says about you. That you are perfect in Him. Holy in Him.
What faithful time with God does do, is resets your mind and heart everyday to walk in the truth of God. Knowledge does not serve us day to day. What changes our lives one day, is just an empty sentiment in a month, if not sooner. We need to put Jesus on daily. To renew our minds daily. To remind ourselves who we are and what God says about us, every day!
The more it becomes about Him and His love, the more free you will be from yourself and from what others think about you. It is only a clearer view of Him that makes us like Him. And that view comes by faith and time in His presence.
1 John 3:2
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
Kara J ❤