“That sounds great but how do I DO it?” This is the most common response to conversation about the Tree of Life. People begin to sense the stirring in the room when the conversation arises, and, like the aroma of popcorn, it makes them desirous. Then, their next responses tell me whether or not they are “getting it.”
This is a follow up to the last post. So if you are new to Bobhamp.com, start with the previous post, “this tree will kill you”, for this to make any kind of sense to you.
Examine this process. Life, real aliveness is flowing. Then the follow up begins. Someone tries to organize it. Someone tries to figure out how to replicate what’s happening, and they jump to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “Here is how we will do this now.” Last time we sang that song, the Spirit of God moved. Let’s sing this song every time we gather from now on. We change the root system the moment we begin to apply our “knowledge” to the Tree of Life.
Bill Johnson says that every denomination is the corpse of a great revival. It is the dead or dying remains of what began as a move of God on the earth.
What about church programming? Henry Blackaby tells the story in his workbook “Experiencing God” of the man who heard God say to him, “start a bus ministry”. When the man began the bus ministry, his church exploded with life.
Now people began to come to him to ask him how he grew his church so large. His answer? “You should start a bus ministry!” He began to consult with other churches about how to do this and eventually wrote a book on, “How to Grow your Church through Bus Ministry”
He missed it. He connected to the Tree of Life the moment he heard the voice of God. The bus ministry and the growth were simply the natural fruit that grows on the branches of the tree of life. He and others began to apply their knowledge of good, when the tried to imitate the fruit. Like trying to pick up apples off the ground and glue them on another tree, hoping that that tree to would become fruitful.
This is a bit like Victor Frnakenstein, collecting a bunch of dead parts and believing that the sum of the dead parts might actually equal life. The Word of God is LIVING and active…Hearing His voice is how we connect to the Tree of Life.
How about a personal application? Consider this, I sometimes think I was the most free when I first came to know the Lord. If we are not careful we can write this off as a “Honeymoon Effect” Everything is so new, and all my sins have been forgiven. Of course we are free. But we have so much cleaning up still ahead…is it just an illusion that we were so free then?
Consider this. At this time in my life, I had not yet conceived that I could or should do anything to help God out. Whether in my own personal growth and transformation, or with all the things He has to get done on the Earth, it simply had not entered my thoughts. All I had done was received His Grace.
It was not until I messed up the first time, or began to realize I might have some things to do for Him, that I began to get weighted down. I would submit to you that His burden is easy and His yoke is light, but the Knowledge of Good and Evil is HEAVY!! Especially the knowledge of Good that feels impossible. This was more than just a honeymoon period; I had jumped trees, and it was awhile before I had reasons to try to jump back into the one that had killed me.
Sometimes the worst part of our sin is not what we have done, but what we are driven to do trying to clean up our own mess. Isaiah the Prophet tells us that in repentance and rest we will be saved, in quietness and trust is our strength. We would much rather repent and then fix stuff. Out of our knowledge of the bad that we have done we fervently apply our knowledge of good, believing that this will restore the intimacy we are missing.
God calls us to come to Him, our Dad, so that He might heal and comfort and strengthen us. We look at Him in our shame and start gathering dead apples off the ground trying to prove to Him our worth and regain His approval. “Look Father, I fixed it, I turned it around,” I, I, I…We gather fruit from a dead tree, hoping that it will produce in us the sense of purity, love and intimacy that comes only from being rooted and grounded in the Roots of Life.
The trap is always this. We look on the outside. God looks on the inner man. We look at the end of the branches. We seldom look close enough to see if the fruit is growing there or simply glued on to the branches. God looks at the Root system. The things we do, are they for God, or from God.