Admonition in the Garden
The day that you eat from [this tree] you shall surely die. Genesis 2:17, NASB
Remember God's admonition to Adam? What an act of love it was for God to warn him!
A few years ago, I (David) would have never been able to say that it was "loving" of God to warn Adam about the tree. Instead, I saw this warning as God depriving Adam, as dangling the proverbial carrot in front of the man then yanking it away.
I have since come to realize that God's warning was an act of profound love for humankind. The truth is that God created an incredible paradise for Adam and provided generously for his every need and desire. He placed only one limitation on mankind: There was one tree in the midst of the garden that Adam was not to touch, for God knew that if Adam ate from it, he and all the generations to follow would be destined for pain.
God put the tree in the garden because He wanted the man to choose a relationship of mutual love. Had there been no "forbidden tree," there would have been no choice, and the man would have obeyed God simply because there was no alternative. God warned Adam about the tree because He didn't want him harmed or separated from Him. What an awesome God!
As we travel the narrow path that leads to life, we must remember that God's admonitions are always clear and in our best interest. His warnings serve to protect us, to shield us, and to defend us from harm, not to place limits on us.
Our admonitions of one another should be the same.
When I feel prompted to admonish Teresa, I must first thoroughly check my heart to see that my motivation is right. I have to ask myself if I'm motivated to speak out of her best interest and a concern for her well-being, or if I'm speaking out of my own selfish desires for convenience, retaliation, judgment, or accusation.
How can you be absolutely certain that your heart is truly in the right place when you feel the need to admonish your spouse?
Father, help me to examine my motives before I speak admonitions to my spouse.
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