What would your answer be, if I asked do you have a poisonous tree?
The originals, Adam and Eve, were told not to eat from a specific tree.
Genesis 3:3 “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” NIV
At this point, you might be questioning the direction of this post. You may exclaim that ‘I do not have a poisonous tree (literally or figuratively)’ or question how this verse holds any significance to your daily life or struggles.
Often times, when we are challenged with calling out our flaws, there is a slight hesitation and resistance to the idea that we are in fact flawed. That “I’m not perfect” line is almost comical: we all love to say it as a means of defence but there is a small part of us that refuses to believe we can not be perfect.
The story of the Garden of Eden has been turned into a western fairy tale: infantilised and reduced to two lovers who were deceived by a snake into eating a shiny red apple that could have made an appearance in Disney’s Snow White.
I can admit that because of how the story has been narrated in the media, growing up I did not revere the true weight of the sin they committed. Even now, when I read their story, I can be flippant about their relevance to me or the similarities between their fall and my struggles.
The relevance is that although we may not be living in Eden, it is a physical place and yet we all have that poisonous tree which bears poisonous fruits and causes us to desire sinful things. Eden becomes less of a mythical place but a presence.
The fruits of the poisonous tree are the characteristics that are not of God. They lead to sinful actions: the things you may or may not know are wrong (but deep, deep, deep down in your psyche, you know is wrong).
These obstacles affect our walk with Christ. They can delay our progress or hinder opportunities to please God.
What poisonous fruit do you eat?
It is at this moment that people tend to focalise on the ‘greater’ sins or issues they struggle with. Popular answers may include stealing, lying, jealousy and anger. However, generalising such things is not really searching your heart and mind for the specific, minute things you struggle with.
i.e. someone may struggle with anger specifically towards their mother or father, that every time they open their mouth you think ‘here we go again’ even if they are simply saying ‘hi’.
This also includes the mundane things that do not occur daily, but may be seasonal; when a new person enters your life, a budding relationship begins to grow with the opposite sex or when you are around a specific group of people (i.e. work, friends from University etc.).
Nevertheless, these mundane opportunities for sin are just as important. God wants you to bring these to the table and address them with Him. In fact, I am starting to believe that He is waiting for you to get rid of notions of pride and shame. He wants you to present these struggles to Him being as specific, organic and uninhibited as you are when committing/thinking of those things. God sees our heart so even when we do make that decision to come to Him and present an issue, we should not attempt to hide the depths of our ‘fall from grace’.
The term ‘fall from grace’ is now a colloquial term that has been abused and only serves to add weight to a sin consciousness.
But Romans 8:38-39 states:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV
Nothing can separate us from His love for us, but too many times, I have been the one to stand in the way of receiving that love. I would run away from even talking to Him or reading the Word because of fear, self-condemnation and not wanting to be a hypocrite.
But do not let the devil continue to tell you, you are right to stay away from God because you are all those things. Just start that dialogue with Him. For me, I am still practicing this but each time, I try to dig deeper and deeper as to my true intent behind my sins. I start of feeling ashamed and unworthy, but then I feel a weight being lifted the deeper I dig and try to be honest with God, and ultimately myself.
The devil wants you to believe that you need to come to God perfect, for Him to even consider you. But that is not true. Why did Jesus hang out with sinners then? The gradual change is the beauty in Christianity, but we focus on the beginning and end of our journey.