but even if…

You Are What You Eat

“I, the LORD your God, am a jealous (passionate) God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)

Maybe you have your dad’s eyes and your mom’s feet, but what else did you inherit from your parents? Does our loving God really punish us for the sins of others? As my kids would say, “No fair!” I used to read verses like this and cringe a bit… a lot of Old Testament truth can seem hard to reconcile with what we know about God and His infinite mercy and grace. But with the help of the Spirit we can begin to see it with fresh understanding.

It’s true that we inherited a sinful nature from Adam and Eve, so there’s that. And certain diseases and difficulties do seem to run in families, like an ugly, genetic hand-me-down. But notice an important distinction God makes: only “those who hate” (those who don’t believe) will face punishment, suffering the natural consequences of poor decisions and independent living; while “those who love” will be shown love to a thousand generations.

We all have the same choice to make that Adam and Eve had… daily. Even though we may already be saved, the life we experience on earth largely depends on this question: Are we going to choose to eat from the Tree of Life (live out of our spirit, in union with Christ) or will we choose the fruit from the Tree of Independence (live out of our flesh, apart from God)?

We have been chosen, adopted as God’s children as we believe in Jesus (Eph. 1:4-5), becoming “those who love.” An old saying goes: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree–implying the fruit (child) inherits the quality of the tree (parent). But which tree are we going to choose? Will we choose to be children of the world, carrying on in independence and bearing whatever natural consequences might follow from that decision? Or will we choose Jesus, living out of our spirit, according to the True Image we were created to resemble… the apples of His eye.

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2 thoughts on “You Are What You Eat

  1. Lesa

    You left this post in response to one of my blog posts a while back and I am just now sitting down with it. I am really moved by the metaphorical relationship between genes/environment and that of the fruit and tree.

    I am just so constantly focused on MY PARENTING (read-self focus) but that is really different than focusing on my children and so different than asking myself the hard questions about my personal choices, which are ultimately so much more impactful than any parenting ideology or theory.

  2. anj Post author

    The word “focus” is something God has really been highlighting for me lately. And “perspective.” Last night, we watched “Ratatouille.” Toward the end, the restaurant critic orders “perspective” and the waiter is confused? “Perspective isn’t on the menu.” “Exactly,” says the critic, “I provide the perspective.” (I’m paraphrasing.) It made me laugh about how I try to navigate my life, as if I could order it on a menu, when God is the one with all the perspective. So if my focus is in the right place (on Him), then whaddaya know, my perspective suddenly clears up too.

    :) anj

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