Every year in New York City, thousands are drawn to the annual tree-lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center. The Christmas tree, which is at the centre of America’s busiest city, is lit and decorated exquisitely, and stands anywhere from 70 to 100 feet high. I’ve never attended myself, but its sparkling, majestic presence seems to draw people in, creating awe and wonder.
Long before New York City had the idea, there was an even more spectacular tree planted in the heart of Paradise. It was the centrepiece and crowning glory of the Garden of Eden. It was called the Tree of Life. God had given it to His people as a source of blessing and eternal life. What’s more, God had given Adam and Eve everything they could possibly ever need. They even had the manifested presence of God Himself. They could walk and talk with Him “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8, KJV). God was physically, substantially present in the garden. Walking, talking and fellowshipping with God was His original plan for us. This is what God has always wanted and still wants today—to be near His children, to delight in them and for them to delight in Him. God longs to be close to us. He wants us to hear Him and come running into His loving presence.
Yes, God gave Adam and Eve everything they could possibly ever need or want. But He gave them something else, too. He gave them a choice. He gave them free wills to choose whether or not they would come to the Tree of Life to partake of His goodness. And He gives us the same freedom of choice today. We can choose to draw near to Him and partake of His goodness. Or we can choose not to. I don’t know about you, but I want to walk with God and enjoy all His goodness! The good news for you and me is today, 6,000 years later, we can get to that place of intimacy with God. We, too, can hear Him and come into His presence with the excitement and anticipation of the first human beings to ever meet God face to face. A Tree of Life is available to us today.
How do we draw near to the Tree of Life? The Bible tells us that we can draw near to Him through seeking His wisdom and His Word while also completely trusting Him.
Draw Near to the Tree of Life Through Wisdom
In Proverbs 3, the Word of God describes the benefits of obtaining God’s wisdom. There we read that wisdom’s profit is better than the profit of silver or gold. We’re told that it is more valuable than precious jewels. Long life, riches and honour belong to the one who presses into the wisdom of God (verse 16). But, as we learn in this passage, wisdom is something even more valuable than all the benefits it makes available to us: “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom…. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast” (verses 13,18, NASB).
Wisdom—God’s way of doing and being right—is a “tree of life”! You have full access to this Tree of Life through God’s Word. Draw Near to the Tree of Life Through Seeking
The Tree of Life is the source for everything that God has in store for our lives. And the way we draw near to it is the way Jesus instructed us in Matthew 6:33, NASB: “Seek first His kingdom.” If you don’t seek, you’re not going to find. It’s when we aggressively, actively go after the things of God that we get revelation. You’ll run right into the goodness of God. You’ll find that God is love. You’ll find that God desires to pour His blessings out upon your life in every way.
Wishing won’t work because it has no power to bring God’s highest and best into manifestation. Seeking works, which is how we draw near. Seeking, according to the Word of God, gets rewarded (Hebrews 11:16.) No doubt the Garden of Eden was a setting of unspeakable beauty, and heaven will be a place of unimaginable joy; but there’s a wealth of goodness to be enjoyed right here and now when you seek God each step of the way.
Draw Near to the Tree of Life by Trusting
Diligently seeking is not a new concept to people. Everyone on earth is diligently seeking after something. But there is supposed to be a big difference in the kinds of things we believers pursue. Jesus said we are not to worry about what we will eat or wear, or any other material need (Matthew 6:31-32). When we get as fervent about going after God as those outside of God’s covenant are about going after worldly things, we will really begin to see the glory. Why don’t you need to seek after the things of this world? Because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (verse 32, NIV).
Yes, God knows exactly what we need. He knows what we need spiritually, physically, financially and socially. He knows what His covenant people need and desire. And the wonderful thing about God is that He delights in providing these things for us! He wants us to have peace and wholeness—nothing missing, nothing broken. It is up to us to completely trust Him to provide all we need.
Draw Near to the Tree of Life by His Word
One of the best ways to draw near to God and His wisdom is to dive into His Word, one on one—just you and God. Some of the most precious and powerful moments of my walk with God come while I’m fellowshipping with Him in His Word. The wisdom and revelation of God begins to come, and I get so excited! You will never walk in the fullness of God’s goodness without learning how to study His Word on your own. It’s one of the primary ways you can experience Him speaking personally and powerfully to you each day.
Draw Near, Then Stay Near
Throughout the Bible, God shows us in His Word that He desires for us to draw near to Him. The responsibility lies with us to draw near and stay near. “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all of His works” (Psalm 73:28, NKJV). God’s desire hasn’t changed from the beginning when He revealed His loving Self to the first man and woman. God’s desire is to be close to His people, to have them draw near to Him, so He can bestow His goodness and blessings upon them. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, NKJV).
Can you sense His presence near you this Christmas season? Can you hear His Word echoing within your heart? He wants you to draw near now and always. You see, Jesus is the Tree of Life! He is the wisdom of God—the Word made flesh. Press into that Tree and stay close. All who draw near to Him will be blessed.
Dare to Draw Near to the Tree of Life This Christmas!
- Determine to press into Jesus, the Tree of Life, and stay close! To help you stay accountable, consider joining a Bible study group, or join KCM’s Partner Community.
- Practice the presence of God by walking and talking with Him every day, all day. Talk to Him as you walk to your car, go shopping and do chores.
- As you study His Word today, write down what God is saying to you through that Word, and how you will respond.
- Share the Tree of Life! Ask God to show you someone you can share this post with, and be obedient!
BY GLORIA COPELAND