Episode 020: The Freedom To Choose

My first pastorate was in the Appalachian
region of Kentucky. If you read J.D. Vance’s book, Hillbilly
Elegy, you were introduced to some of the unique features of life in the hills of Appalachia. I discovered that some of the folks, like
Granny on the television show, The Beverly Hillbillies, really did eat possum and squirrels
and other critters. Someone once said that if God had placed the
first man and woman in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky rather than the Garden of Eden,
they would have eaten the snake and ignored the apple and we would have avoided the mess
our world is in. You are probably familiar with the biblical
account of what is called “original sin” or “the fall of man” found in the book
of Genesis. But let me recap the story, after the creation account
in Genesis Chapter 1, the Creator placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and in Genesis Chapter 2 verse 17, God commands them, “But you must not eat from the tree of knowledge or
good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” What God was offering these primordial humans
was the “freedom to choose.” In Genesis Chapter 3:6 we are told what Adam
and Eve did with this “freedom.” “When the woman saw that the fruit of the
tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,
she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was
with her, and he ate it.” So why would God give humans the “freedom
to choose” if he knew we would choose to disobey his commands? Because without the freedom to choose, love
is meaningless. Only if one can choose not to love can one
choose to love. That is the essence of the biblical creation
account. The prohibition against eating the fruit from
the forbidden tree was nothing less than the choice to love God or to withhold love. So, how does one choose to love God? Jesus answered the question for his disciples
in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my “If you love me, keep my commands.” When we turn away from God and choose to live
in disobedience, we not only break God’s commands, but by our refusal to love Him, we break His heart. The Genesis “fall of man” story is everyman’s
story. We have all at some time used our “freedom
of choice” to disobey God’s commands. But there is good news and that is the Gospel
because it offers a fresh start, a new beginning. As Adam’s progenitors, we are offered a
path back to full fellowship with God. We can choose to “love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” So how will you use your freedom? That’s something to consider. I hope you’ve enjoyed Ken’s Comments. If you want to to make sure you never miss a new episode Be sure to sign up for my e-mail newsletter at KensComments.com/newsletter

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