A few days ago I wrote about Extravagant Dad. In it I remembered what it’s like to walk in nature and explore God’s amazing creation. There is just so much to savor when you are outside. Today I took a walk with my dog, taking advantage of a bit of warmer weather here in the northwest. The dog ran forward and back, dashing among the standing tumbleweeds and brush, attempting to stick her nose under the neighbor’s electric fence so she could get a better look at those confounded cows. Curious of each others presence a yearling came running close to the fence as well and they had a good long look at each other. Had I not called Sophie back, I’m sure she would have wriggled under the wire and joined in the yearling’s frolics out there in the dairy fields.
Walking made me remember I had mentioned that our extravagant Dad gave us access to all He gave Adam and Eve. He created us for relationship and so, in giving us our adoption papers upon salvation, we are redeemed into the inheritance of God’s wonder and grace, and Papa God wants nothing more than to spend some time with us.
I allowed my mind to take a walk in what I imagine the garden may have looked like. I see something a bit like the photograph above. Wandering through lush vegetation I could almost see God strolling along through masses of green, chatting with His beloved children. Perhaps they decided to name certain bushes and trees along their walk, asking Papa what he thought of it all. Do you suppose God, Adam and Eve might have played hide and seek together? Now that thought makes me giggle at the fun of it.
I imagine that one evening though when, as they strolled along, they came upon a site. There, as the brush fell away and the sun began to set on the day, they rounded a curve in the path, and came upon it. The tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord spoke to them., “Of this tree, you shall not eat.” Have you ever spent much time thinking about why the Lord would give such instruction in this lush place? I didn’t, I just knew what Adam and Eve were told. “You can eat everything here, all the fruit of the trees and bushes, but of this particular tree you cannot eat.”
I’m no Bible scholar but I’ll tell you what I think. I believe that the children of God were told not to eat of this tree, so that there might be a choice. This was the defining moment between God and His creation, these two new children of His that He loved so dearly. If He simply placed them in the garden and told them they could eat anything there, then there was no choice involved. They would simply be His little darlings, kept in a wonderful place, provided with everything they needed to exist.
No, I believe this was the choosing point. This was the difference between having children who would come to Him, purposefully to have a relationship with Him and those who only lived off His provision. We, as children of God, have to make a choice in order to make this relationship work. It must be our heart’s desire to follow after Him. Anything else results in a dictatorship. No, God knew He had to turn His children free in the garden and see what they would do with this freedom they possessed. The results are self-evident.
I’ve pondered that one a few times. While I wished in the earlier days of my life the choice were not so, so final, I have come to understand the great wisdom in His act. I didn’t really want to come to Christ in my early twenties because I saw this relationship as one I would be required to give up a lot of things I quite frankly didn’t want to give up. By the time I reached my late twenties, all had changed. I had lived according to my desires, learning that I wasn’t a very good steward of my life and I cried out to Him to come and be my Lord. As the days rolled into years, and the years into decades, I’ve come to understand the value in choosing between what I want and what He wants. There is value in His precepts because oh my, He’s God! What I wanted was plain and simply the lusts of my flesh.
I am so grateful to my Lord for giving me a choice. Have you considered the results of your choices lately? Is there something you’ve continued to choose but the results are a bit confounding? Or perhaps you simply don’t want to budge on a certain point in your life. All I can ask is, “how is that working out for you?” Are you getting the results you want? If not, it might be time to either choose or to change. Either way, the Lord is waiting for you. He loves you no less than He loved His original children, Adam and Eve. He simply had to leave you to choose.
If you’ve reached that point in your life where you are unhappy with the results of your own choosing and you want to come into relationship with God, you can make that decision here and now. All you need do is ask Him into your life by saying this prayer:
Lord, I want to make a change today. I realize I’m a sinner and I’ve made wrong choices. I don’t want to walk the rest of my days without you. I know now that you, Jesus, are my Savior. I know you went to the cross to pay the price of my sins and you were raised again — all for me. Lord, I ask you to come to me today, come live in my heart. I believe in you and I need you to be the Lord of my life. I ask this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Welcome friend! I encourage you now to seek out another believer and tell them about your decision. Don’t keep this a secret! It’s wonderful news. I also encourage you to find a strong, Bible-based church and join in. It might be difficult at first, but you’ll catch on. I pray the peace of God, which passes all understanding, to enfold you now so that you know you have made the right choice. It’s a glorious choice you’ve made!