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One time, John said, “God loved the world so much, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever would believe in Him would have forever life.”
And what did Jesus say forever life is? TO KNOW HIM. To get into His rooms and be close, close, close!
When we come to Jesus, our sins are forgiven at His Real altar so that then we can be one of His priests. All those washed in His blood are set apart as special to do the Father’s work, “Holy-Spiriting” others every day. But that’s not all. He also wants us to go exploring deep into His Most Holy Room to enjoy the glorious company of God Himself.
When we move deep into God’s House… first by the Blood of Jesus, then by doing His Father’s Holy-Spiriting Work, and then by Celebrating that Life with our Father, we begin to taste the power of a forever life — a supernatural life that can not be destroyed.
And that is not something we study or analyze or know in our brains. It is LIVING in the Glory of a life that was once dead, but is being made alive in Christ’s Anointed Life!
Do you remember those two special trees in the Garden? Yes, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Which tree did God want them to eat from? Yep, the Tree of Life.
Have you ever wondered what those two Trees have to do with you? Well, you should because they have everything to do with you! Jesus didn’t come just to forgive you. He didn’t come just so we could go to His paradise when we die. He came so that we could start eating from His Tree of Life again, which gives us Forever life and takes us right back to His Garden of Eden.
And what is Forever life? To Know Him… to be intimate with God Himself.
That’s why we’ve tried to tell you that this way of thinking that says if you can just manage to do more good than evil, then you’ll get to go to Heaven… is ridiculously wrong, wrong, wrong. First of all, only those who completely abandon their lives and are washed in baptism and filled with His Spirit get to have forever life. And, second of all, what is “forever life”? KNOWING HIM.
Listen to something Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth. He said, “The wisdom of God is hidden in a mystery. A secret plan that God decided from the very beginning. A plan for our glory. If the rulers of this time had known it, they wouldn’t have even crucified the Lord of Glory, Jesus. Because, ‘Things that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, or no mind imagined, these are the things God has made ready for those who love Him.’ God has shown these things to us by His Spirit. God’s Spirit Knows Him… it searches the deep things of God. He shows us things that the world can’t understand because they just have the world’s mind and ways of thinking. But we have the mind of the Anointed One.”
You see? Jesus didn’t die so that we could keep on living by our little ole brains and feelings telling us what is good and evil. No way. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven, so that He could fill us with Himself.
So we don’t need to duct tape the scriptures onto our foreheads or write looooong checklists of good and evil to carry around in our pockets. No! When we abandon our lives to Him, the new deal is that He lives inside of us. And that, my little friends, makes all the difference.
Have you ever seen how a magnet works? When God comes to live inside of us, it’s like a Holy magnet is placed inside of us, a magnet that drawwwwws us, makes us attracted to, steers us toward the things God has an interest in — if we keep the mud and gunk, sin, off the magnet.
When you understand God as a person, you begin to become aware that on any given day God has feelings and thoughts and preferences about that day. No one can write enough books or make enough rules to express all the things they feel in any given moment in a day. If you’re waiting for Him to give you a long list of all the things to do and not do — thinking that by that list you will have a relationship with Him, thinking that by a list you will get eternal life — NO! That’s missing the whole point.
It’s like if someone says, “Getting a woman flowers is always a nice thing to do.” Well, it’s not if she’s allergic to flowers! You need a relationship, not a checklist, to know when to get those flowers. Anyone who has to ask, “Honey, just tell me, do you want me to buy you flowers, yes or no?” — that’s that missing the whole point.
Your own mind and feelings can think of thousands of good things to do in a day (or thousands of evil things to not do). But thinking about all that stuff is gobbling up fruit from the wrong tree — the tree of knowing good and evil.
The tree God wants us to eat from is this Tree of Life — the Tree that is rooted in a relationship with the Person of God Himself.
To eat from the Tree of Life means that I’m not just trying to understand all the exact words God ever said, though His words DO matter. Instead I’m trying to Hear and Understand His heart behind those words. When I do that, that opens up His words into a thousand other things that might make Him happy Today.
Those with the Spirit of Christ can know the very personality of God just like Peter, Andrew, Mary and John did. And the more we Know Him, the more we understand those little things about Him — His reasons why or His feelings about things.
Which is better? For your mom to say, “You have 15 minutes to get that room clean, young lady.” OR for you to surprise your mom by cleaning your room, just because you know she likes it. Which is more fun — the rule or the smile on her face? The smile!
So in following God, we can either try to follow all the rules (that’s the knowledge of good and evil tree) or we can really learn how to see God’s face and watch for His Smile. Eating from the Tree of Life is sensing that smile, or that little wink of His eye when we’re on the right track… or that one raised eyebrow when we’re not. And we respond to that wink or that raised eyebrow because we care about that relationship.
But, someone eating from the tree of knowledge says, “He said to do these things, so I have to always do this list of 40,000 good things in order to be His friend.” (Phht! sound) That’s not what makes someone a friend is it?
Or even worse is when someone says, “Well, there’s no rule saying I can’t do this, so I will.” Or “There’s no rule saying I have to do this, so I won’t.” Someone like that can wiggle out of doing what God wants and into doing whatever their self wants, if they don’t remember a rule saying they have to do one thing or another. (Phht! sound)
But someone eating from the Tree of Life says, “Ohhh, I Know what makes Him smile. And that’s all I need to know.” I’m not trying to simply remember what He said, I’m trying to be His friend and be part of His Life.
When Jesus was on earth He said to some of the religious pretenders, “You study the Scriptures so carefully because you think that by doing that you have forever life. But the Scriptures all point to Me, yet you refuse to come to Me for life.”
When someone refuses to come to Jesus, Himself, for Life, they do it on purpose.
They either want to live by the Tree of Laws and Rules because they want a set of rules just so they can feel good about themselves (which is just prideful self junk). Or they like the rules because that way they can still mostly stay the boss of their lives. Maybe they’re greedy, worldly, or vain, but they can still mostly do what they want as long as it’s not “against the rules.”
If someone doesn’t deeply care about the person, Jesus, then they will always find ways around the rules or find a list of rules to keep that makes them feel good about themselves.
But if you WANT to make God happy and not just get some good feelings for yourselves out of life, then it’s easy to find the things that make God happy!
And any “boundaries” He gives us are only there to help us find His endless treasures. So sure, relationship with Him is incredibly binding, but at the same time, it’s incredibly freeing.
Because it’s not a list in your pocket of good or bad things to remember to do or not do. Instead, God’s spirit whispers to you, “Come this way;” “Notice this;” “Love this person.” It’s that Holy magnet — nudging, drawing, pulling, wooing.
I can’t wait for you all to find that Life with Him.