Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17)

There’s a tree in the center of my garden. All around the tree, the garden provides abundant life. But of the tree, I may not partake.

My tree has a name. I don’t like to say it, but I know it well. Each day, I see the tree, there in the middle. Everybody has a tree. They have names like fear, lust, and pride. I don’t know all of them, but I know my tree. It peeks through other foliage reminding me of its forbidden status.

My bent nature, and the indulgences of those around me, keep me from loathing my tree as I should. And so I tasted the fruit. I hated myself afterward, and stayed far from the tree. But even at the edge of my garden, I spotted splashes of color from the fruit.

Jesus came into my garden. He led me back to the tree and touched each fruit. My bite marks instantly healed over, but at the same time, wounds appeared on his body. Then he took me by the hand and we walked through the garden in the cool of the evening. Joy interlaced its fingers with peace. I didn’t feel the usual tug of the tree, not even when we were near it.

“There’s another, the Tree of Life,” Jesus said. “One day you’ll eat of that one. It has all of the bliss of your tree, but none of the addiction, destruction, or neurosis. Wait for that tree.”

While we laughed and played, my thoughts were consumed by Jesus. Then I bounded away to investigate a waterfall. From the height of a verdant cliff, I could see red dots hanging from the tree at the center of my garden. I thought, If I don’t get back to Jesus, the tree will have me again.

Prayer: Jesus, keep me close, protect me from temptation.