Do you know that it was never God's will for you to choose between good and evil, that you were never suppose to choose between what is right and what is wrong?
Does that statement shock you? Some of you are thinking that this is nearly blasphemous. Others of you are thinking that the Watchman has finally lost his screws, blew his cork, or fell off the deep end. You may ask, don’t we have to “know” the difference between right and wrong? Aren’t we supposed to choose good instead of evil? Isn’t 99% of what religion has been teaching us all our lives been about choosing good and avoiding evil? Hold on, I can very easily prove to you based on God's Word that the above statement is true! However the implications of this truth, (if you really get a hold of it) may rock your Spiritual world, just as it is rocking mine.
When God made man, he put him into a garden specially prepared for him. There were two special trees in this garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The scripture states, And the Lord God commanded the man, “you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And there you have it, God never intended for man to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus man was never meant to have to choose between good and evil, right and wrong. His choice was only between life and death.
Because man chose poorly, sin entered his world, severing his relationship with God. Although the consequences of this sin were catastrophic, God used the knowledge of the difference between good and evil to bring forth His own good purposes. God used this knowledge as an act of love and grace that He imparted to us, for although this knowledge brought condemnation and shame, it also shows us that we are guilty of sin and revealed to us our need to have our relationship with God restored. (Rom. 3:19-20, 7:7) That knowledge of separation and sin is the first thing we must all see before we will take steps to mend our relationship with God.
However once we “are” born again and our relationship with God “has” been restored, we are no longer meant to live out our lives following after the “knowledge” that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought us. Our decisions should no longer be filtered through “is this good or bad?” We are no longer to be dictated to by “is this right or wrong?” Our minds are to be renewed so that this is no longer the question we ask.
Before Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. In other words they talked with God, they communed with God face to face. They had relationship with Him. They heard Him directly express his heart to them. They saw what God did. They knew God’s desires “for” them, and what God desired “from” them, because they “knew” Him. Likewise once our spirits have been quickened by God's Spirit, and we are a new creation in Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17); we must learn to hear God's voice teaching us His ways, and feel what His heart is communicating to ours. We must learn to see what God is doing so we can do likewise. We are no longer to be making our decisions from our minds, based on “is this right or wrong?“ Instead we should be asking, “What is God’s saying concerning this, what is His heart on this matter?”
This is how Jesus lived when He was here on earth. He did nothing based on whether it was right or wrong, good or evil. He lived his life doing what the Father would show Him to do. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his father doing, because whatever the father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) Granted, to live out this kind of life, we “must” be able to hear God’s voice. But Jesus certainly taught that we should hear Him, for He clearly said that if we were His sheep, we “would” hear His voice. (John 10:3-9)
Living by following the Spirit and hearing directly from God, as Jesus did, is much more difficult and frightening than following the law. That is why the Israelites told Moses in Exodus 20:19, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” It is much easier to live by a set of rules of right and wrong, than it is to follow and do what God may say to us directly. Especially in our day of relativism, when it is politically correct for everyone to make up for themselves their own idea of what right and wrong/good and evil look like.
Even when we do try to live for God by following the law, (be it the written commandments or our inner law of good and evil) we will always find ourselves in a place of guilt and condemnation, for we will always fall far short of its dictates. If I pray two hours a day, my inner law of good and evil may say I should have prayed six hours. If I give $200 dollars to feed the poor, my inner law may say I should have given $1000. The book of Romans chapter 8 teaches us much about walking with the Spirit verses living from our minds and a set of rules. It begins, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2) Through grace (because of Jesus sacrifice) we have been set free from the penalty and the letter of the law. Called instead to be led daily by the Spirit. It may always be good and never evil to give your $200 to feed the hungry, but the Spirit may lead you give $1000 or He may lead you to not give anything at all. “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5) Following after the Spirit will always bring life, while following what we see as right and wrong, good and evil will always bring death and condemnation. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6) “…for the code of the law kills, but the Holy Spirit makes alive.” (2Cor. 3:6 Amp)
When we live from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of being led by the Spirit, we are often quick to judge others' actions based on our measurement of good and evil. We are particularly judgmental of the evil things that we “don’t” do. However, if we live communing with the Spirit, we will see others through God's heart of love, and therefore can extend them the same grace and love that God has so lavished upon us.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
Many things in our lives are neither good nor evil, but that’s not the proper question anyway. It may be a good thing, but is it a God thing? It may be a good idea, but is it a God idea. Being led of the Spirit in all things rather than being led by the “knowledge tree” is certainly not for the immature. I wish I could give you a three step lesson on how to do all of this, but when it comes to being led by the Spirit instead of the mind, I will admit to you that I still have my Pampers on. But what I do know is this; we must spend time in the Word. We must spend time in the Spirit's presence. We must believe we can and will hear God clearly, and then begin acting, believing, and expecting accordingly. We must be willing to “miss it” sometimes in order to “find it.” For that is how we will learn to know the master's voice from all the other voices. We did not learn to walk without falling, and we will not learn this skill without some failure as well.
As a spirit filled believer, it is time I take the sword of the Spirit and chop down the tree of good and evil that still resides within me, and resolve to diligently seek and be attentive in hearing God’s voice, and strive to be continually led by the “Spirit” rather than by my “mind.”
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. But a natural man does not accept the thing of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised of no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:12, 14-16)