Like every other tree in the garden it looked nice and was good for food. Just the replenishment a person needs before and after a day tending plants and naming animals. How convenient too; right there in the middle of everything (Gen 2:9; 3:3).

One thing was different though. God had told Adam and Eve not to eat it, it was a killer (Gen 2:17).

“But why can’t I eat it? I want to try it,” cried the childish voice inside.

The answer never broke the silence: “Because I said so.”

The story reminds me of the day when I learned a new British slang word. A gang of my older friends decided we should sneak under a fence into a neglected orchard. Lookouts were stationed. The rest of us picked the largest apples we could find, scoffed1 a few, wrapped the rest in our T-shirts, and scarpered.2 The word was scrumping.3

Tempting fruit hangs at the crossroads of our lives, on the way to everywhere, at the places of decision. There is no fence. A bright strobe light and a twenty-four-hour drive-through make its juicy lure unavoidable. Almost invariably it looks beautiful, and the fragrance suggests sweetness, even if there is the chance of a bitter aftertaste.

The dialogue continues today. “Why can’t we pick and eat?” The answer depends on perspective. What is pleasing to the eyes and good for food may well benefit flesh and bones. The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise. (Gen. 3:6) “Aren’t wise minds and the knowledge of good and evil worthy desires?” “It can’t be sinful.”

If human nature begins and ends in body and mind then dig in. But that’s not the case; we were created in the image of God who has no form; He’s only Spirit. Bodies and minds must come to terms with the silent, invisible spirit in every person. That spirit waits for its own breath of life so it can live, strengthen, and become the governor of body and mind.

When our minds understand that perspective they are able to make right choices. Enlightened minds discipline the body to pick fruit that feeds the spirit. Such minds have come to love the Creator and know He is thoroughly trustworthy. If He says, “No,” there’s a good reason and I don’t demand explanations. The spiritual life is nourished by obedience rooted in faith, and love of the Eternal Spirit.

Obedience is shallow until it is tested. That’s probably why the nicest trees are planted at life’s crossroads. Am I going to swing in quickly to feed body or mind, or will I do what Father tells me is right? The regular passing of the test strengthens the spiritual life. It’s practice that trains our senses to discern good and evil, not scrumping (Heb. 5:14).

The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.

  1. Probably new: “To devour food quickly and greedily.” []
  2. This means “run away”. It might be new too! []
  3. Check it in The Ridiculously Comprehensive Dictionary of British Slang. It actually means “stealing fruit from an orchard”. []

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