Living in the Spirit


Living in the Spirit

MOST OF US KNOW the story of Adam and Eve and how there were two trees in the garden of Eden. We usually know this as a temptation story, but there is more to it. The story of the garden of Eden is also about wisdom. The two trees tell a story with their names.

The first tree—the tree of life—reveals the goal or purpose of wisdom. We want to find life—a life that is good, blessed, abundant, and eternal. This has been the core question of humans of every age, “What is the good life, and how do I get it?”

The second tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil— describes the nature of wisdom. Wisdom requires the ability to distinguish between good and evil. This isn’t just about morals, though it is related. This is about recognizing what is good for me because it ends in the good life I’m looking for and what is bad for me because, well, it ends badly.

So, why start a study on walking in the Spirit with a discussion of wisdom and the garden of Eden? It is because of what the Old Testament calls wisdom, which the New Testament calls walking in the Spirit.

Wisdom always involves a choice. In Proverbs, two women call for us to follow them. One is wisdom, the other is folly. We have to choose. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). In the New Testament, Jesus said that there was a wide path and a narrow path (Matt. 7:13). One is the path of folly, and it leads to destruction. The other is the path of wisdom, and it leads to life.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the heart of wisdom is faith. Proverbs 3:5–6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge [or be intimate with]1 Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). In the New Testament, life in the Spirit is described as a walk of faith. Paul put it succinctly in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (NIV). Trust is a very relational word. It is more than a choice to obey God. It is a bond with God that says, “I trust you more than I trust what I can see and understand for myself.”

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Spirit is the source of all wisdom, whether it comes through revelation (dreams, visions, angels, prophecies, etc.) or whether it comes through Spirit-inspired Scripture. All wisdom flows from the Spirit of wisdom (Deut. 34:9; Eph. 1:17).

Throughout the entire Bible, to be filled with God’s Spirit is connected to being given wisdom from above.

Wisdom is ultimately measured by eternity. The one who orders his life in a way that pleases God may still suffer in this world, but in the end, the wisdom of trusting God will be proven for all to see. When those who relied on their own understanding are left ruined and destitute, and those who trusted God and obeyed Him are welcomed into paradise, there will be a little question left about which was the wise way to live.