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Killing Scott

Killing Scott

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Genesis 2:16-17

I remember once, while addicted, I read about the cause of death of a couple of different celebrities. They’d both died from a lethal combination of opioids, alcohol, and sleeping medications. They weren’t trying to die. They’d just accidentally consumed a fatal cocktail of chemicals. That was a little terrifying because I knew that I’d taken very similar combinations on multiple occasions. I had no intention of overdosing and dying, but I’d bet those celebrities hadn’t planned on that either. I acted like I was invincible, but I realized in that moment that overdose and death were concrete possibilities in my addiction.

Physically dying wasn’t the only kind of death I was courting though. In my addiction, I chose the drug over my wife, which was killing our marriage. I used my medical license to obtain my pills, killing my career. In pursuing my way above God’s, I turned my back on him, killing my faith. When I first got sober and stopped using, life was terribly bleak because I’d killed everything good in my life. Physical death was a real possibility, but it was hardly the only consequence. Maybe my heart continued beating, but I wasn’t truly living. The authentic life for which I was created was something I’d killed.

Today’s passage teaches us of the origin of this death. In the passage, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden along with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, commanding Adam not to eat from it. Adam was presented with a clear, simple choice. Follow God or follow Adam. If Adam followed God – Life. If Adam followed himself – Death. This death wasn’t a literal, instant death that arrived at that moment of disobedience, but it did mean that his body would begin to decay and that he would eventually die. So, in that sense, Adam’s sin led him and continues to lead us to a physical death. The more immediate consequence though, was that Adam damaged his relationship with his creator. This is always the direct and most important consequence of sin – it damages our spiritual health, sickening everything else in our lives.

Daily, we face Adam’s choice – follow God or follow self. Our way kills our relationships, trust, integrity, purity, and faith. God’s way is life. In abandoning our way, we think we’re making tremendous sacrifice, but we’re only surrendering death and misery. In following God’s will, we gain the authentic life found only in a relationship with him.

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