The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
If we eat from the finest food God has to offer on earth [the word of God], will eat from the finest food He has to offer in eternity [the Tree of Life], Rev 2:7. Yes, our happiness will be perfect in the eternal state but there will be varying degrees of happiness in accordance with our positive volition in time. The believer's positive volition in time is viewed very seriously by God. God is a rewarder of increased faith in those who diligently seek Him, HEB 11:6. It is our increased faith which pleases God, not what we hustle around doing.
Now, in order to increase our faith the Lord must bring in a certain amount of suffering, including and especially, undeserved. If you have positive volition you can count on a measure of undeserved suffering, it's actually a blessing! This suffering serves to intensify the believer's positive volition and prevent arrogance. Arrogance is held in check by the believer who makes the proper adjustments to the word of God. It is our attitude toward the word of God which is judged on the final day, Joh 12:47-48. The believer with positive volition toward doctrine has respect for the Lord and that respect leaves no room for the derailing factor to enter and off-track one's positive volition.
Respect for the Lord entails fantastic blessings which are given to only those who are not deterred from their calling, PSA 31:19. Those who respect the Lord have all their needs fulfilled, PSA 34:9. But, this respect for the Lord is not an automatic virtue, it is something that Christians must be taught, Psa 34:11. Once learned, respect for the Lord perpetuates prolongs life, confidence and spiritual self-esteem. Riches and honor come from respect for the Lord, PRO 22:4. And, a local assembly that respects the Lord cannot be destroyed no matter what comes against it, Acts 9:31 cf with 2CO 13:8. Our fellowship with other believers should also be based on respect for the Lord, PSA 119:63. Good fellowship depends on your ability to discern virtue wherever it is. This is important to note since there arise disadvantages in Christian fellowship! Those disadvantages are as follows:
1- Christian fellowship can cause the establishment of wrong priorities through interaction with confused believers, a case of the weak controlling the strong.
2- Christian fellowship can become a distraction from Bible doctrine through preoccupation with friendship or romance.
3- It can become the basis for the acquisition of legalism through association with legalists, GAL 5:7-9.
4- It can become the basis for involvement in antinomianism through association with carnal believers or loose believers who are in bondage to their liberty, GAL 5:13.
5- Some even use Christian fellowship to passify their loneliness without ever solving the problem of loneliness.
6- Some use Christian fellowship as a type of dating bureau or a marriage pool.
7- It can also lead to acquiring erroneous views of Bible doctrine.
Point being, positive volition cultivates a respect for God which increases one's positive volition causing the believer to establish the proper priorities. The positive believer is occupied with Christ over people, not people over God. People can often times be used by the enemy to thwart the believer's forward pace toward the main objective in life, which is, to glorify God. There is a difference between distractions directed toward Bible doctrine itself and distractions directed toward positive volition. There are three major distractions deployed by the enemy against positive volition:
1- The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of riches are successfully utilized, MAT 13:7,22.
2- Arrogant subjectivity is a subtle and effective weapon inserted by the enemy. Arrogant subjectivity is simply the over emphasis of personal problems. This eventually leads the believer into dwelling on his own problems so much that even while doctrine is being taught he or she is too enthralled in his own hurt and problems to effectively metabolize doctrine.
3- Then of course we have the problem of Christian fellowship which can be a major distraction toward positive volition, 1CO 1:10; 3:3.
Our short little life is the only time allotted to us to make the decisions with which to glorify God in the angelic conflict. Eternity is not the time designed by God to get serious about giving glory to Him. Eternity reflects the glory you sowed for God on earth. Your calling is as solid and tangible as the body you see in your mirror. God has every age, every detail, and every person's life perfectly planned out according to His grace and wisdom. His plan will go forward and He will be glorified with or without YOU. Yet, God offers to each of us the privilege of jumping on His train to glory and honor. A privilege most take so nonchalantly that they save it for another day. The derailing factor is strong at work in the lives of most, hence off the track they go tooting their own whistle, chugging along in their own stupid caboose.
The believer who forges forward continually feasting on the best food God has to offer in spite of the many dishes the enemy serves up to distract him will also feast on the very best in eternity! The Tree of Life as noted in Rev 2:7 is directly correlated to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden which fallen man was cut off from after the fall. Had man eaten from the Tree of Life in Eden after having fallen he would have perpetuated his fallen state forever! So God in His grace and wisdom sent man out of the Garden and provided a new tree in time, the tree or cross of Jesus Christ followed by the word of God. If the tree of life in time (the word of God) is fully exploited by the believer then the Tree of Life in the King's Garden in eternity is opened to the winner believer. Only winner believers gain access to the Paradise of God. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, To him who overcomes [winners in time] I will [graciously] grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." Rev 2:7
The word used here by John for Paradise is not a Greek word but a Persian word which is transliterated and means the King's palace and gardens pointing to the parties that take place in the King's gardens. The Persians had what they called pardes which refers to their palaces, gardens, and such places that they partied in. It is where they partook of great happiness. This transliteration as found in our Bibles does not really tell us what it's all about. It is not just a pretty place with flowers, but is a special garden designed for living it up! This garden is associated with happiness, delight, gratification, and satisfaction. The paradise of God speaks of the fact that in eternity, in heaven, there is a special park, a paradise which belongs to God Himself. Access to the garden itself is open to all believers in their resurrection body at certain times, but to go to the tree and to eat from it is a reward reserved for only those special believers known as winners. Only those who overcame the distractions, the sufferings, and the pain in time to fully respect God and execute His plan are those who are privileged to eat of the tree of life.
Our finite minds cannot even conceive what "the best" entails. The best of everything is the monopoly of God yet He freely offers it to us, how is it that so many believers refuse God's highest and best settling instead for mediocrity? According to such choices there will not be a whole lot of believers eating from the tree of life in the King's garden. Whether or not you will be one of them is determined now, here in time, by your decisions to remain positive to God's word, plan, purpose and will for your life. Positive volition is a sensitive mechanism and must be consistently fed to grow stronger, sort of like one of those giga-pets, most lying dead in some draw. That is just how most believers treat their relationship with God. The word used in Rev 2:7 for overcomers is the Greek word nikao which means to conquer, to be victorious, to be a winner. It is in the present tense which indicates that which habitually occurs or may be reasonably expected to occur when a believer has positive volition toward doctrine. "Winners" are those believers who consistently live in God's plan thereby applying doctrine to the problems of their life and advancing to maturity. The believer who has fulfilled his responsibility and has finished the course is the one who is offered to eat of the tree of life in the Paradise.