Thought for Thursday

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:17

Kenny and Bobby were two little boys who lived in the apartment at the west end of our house when I was a little boy. Because I played with them, I picked up some of their vocabulary. Theirs was not a Christian home, and their parents made no attempt to bridle their tongues. As a result of my association with Kenny and Bobby, I learned some words that I should never have learned, let alone said. When I first uttered one of those words in my mother’s hearing, she sat me down and sternly warned me that I would be spanked if I should ever be heard saying that again. Only a few days later, one of those words slipped out, and my faithful mother applied the board of education to the seat of understanding. It must have worked, because I still don’t say those words. However, we live in a world that has not learned the lesson of the Garden of Eden: with free will comes great responsibility.

My mother could not prevent me from saying inappropriate words, but she could inform me of the consequences of doing so, and could make sure that I received the consequences. In like manner, God created Adam and his wife with a free will to decide whether to behave or not, and then informed Adam carefully and seriously about the consequences. Just as I defied my mother’s warning, Adam defied God’s warning and turned to his own way. We made the wrong choices. Those of us who are saved have received the ability to make the right choices, So today’s text serves as a warning and reminder to us to be obedient, that we might not suffer loss.

If Adam disobeyed, he died. If he obeyed, he lived. If we disobey, our deeds die in shame, if we obey, our deeds live in victory and reward. For the Christian, the principle is just as valid as it is for the unsaved. For the unsaved, they don’t really have any choice, because of their sinful nature. But for the Christian, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into the right paths and to empower us to do the will of our Lord. And so, we must decide every day whether to suffer loss by allowing the flesh to be unbridled, or whether to submit to the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The one leads to loss and punishment, the other leads to blessing and reward and the joy of our Lord’s presence.

Rather than considering what we will lose today if we don’t trust and obey the Lord, let us consider what we will win by obedience and faith.  -Jim MacIntosh

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