MAN BETWEEN THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
AND THE TREE OF LIFE
The Bible is thoroughly consistent. It starts with a man in front of two trees, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). Eventually, in Romans we see that the tree of knowledge got into man’s flesh, and the tree of life got into man’s spirit. The two trees are within us Christians. The problem today is not whether you behave yourself ethically. The problem is whether you go to the tree of knowledge or come to the tree of life. Day by day do you live, walk, and have your being according to the flesh or according to the spirit? If you do things according to the flesh, that means you are eating the tree of knowledge. To set your mind upon the flesh is death (Rom. 8:6a). Death is the issue, the result, of eating the tree of knowledge. But if you walk according to the spirit, you touch the tree of life. To set your mind upon the spirit is life (v. 6b), and life is always the issue, the result, of eating the tree of life.
We need to see that these two trees are within us. We are not in front of the two trees but in between them. Outwardly, we have the tree of knowledge in our flesh. Inwardly, we have the tree of life in our spirit. Now the whole situation depends upon whether we would go to the tree of knowledge or turn to the tree of life. Would we walk, work, and have the church life according to the flesh or according to the spirit? If we have the church life according to the flesh, the result will be death. Then our church life will kill the saints because it is not according to the spirit but according to the flesh.
My burden is that we would see that Satan is in our flesh and Christ is in our spirit. We have an enemy in our flesh and a dear Savior in our spirit. What shall we do? Would we turn to our enemy and go along with him? Would we coordinate with him or come to Christ and be one with Him? We may say, "Surely, I will not go along with Satan but go along with Christ." I know you would say this, but this is easy to say. Actually, we need a lot of defeats and failures which will force us to realize that there is no hope in the flesh. The flesh is good only to force you to turn to Christ in your spirit.
Some older saints may tell the young people that they need to learn the lesson of patience. But actually the young saints do not need the lesson of patience. They need the lesson of failures. They need the lesson of losing their temper. This will make them desperate to turn to the Lord in their spirit. If the older saints teach the younger ones to learn the lesson of patience, none of them will ever make it. No one can graduate from this kind of school. But after two years, many of the young ones will graduate from the school of failures. Some would say, "I give up. I can never make it in the brothers’ house. I don’t have that much patience." I would say, "Hallelujah for your giving up." You have to give up and turn to the Lord in your spirit.
Our marriage life is also used by the Lord. God’s purpose is to use your marriage life to force you to turn to your spirit. Without our spouse and our children, we could not gain Christ so much. The wives help the husbands to turn to Christ, and the husbands help the wives to turn to Christ. Praise the Lord for the hardship. Praise the Lord for the defeats, the failures. Praise the Lord for the many times we were trying to give up. Praise the Lord for the disappointments. This is because without all these negative things, we would never be forced to turn to the spirit. We would never be alert that we need Christ. We need Christ minute after minute. We need to come back again and again to the spirit.
(The Flesh and the Spirit, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)