Ability vs. Right

In the beginning, God placed Adam in a garden east of the city of Eden. The garden was complete and had everything that anyone could ever need.

The Bible says in Genesis 2:8-9, “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

God commanded Adam to tend and keep the garden. He was made caretaker over the garden. He was given the authority to make all the decisions required to tend and keep the garden in good order.

Then out of the ground, God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to be named. Whatever Adam called each creature, that was its name. From the fish to the domestic animals, Adam named them all.

But then, God told Adam something he could not do. God commanded Adam to not eat of a certain tree in the garden.

Now, it wasn’t like God was trying to keep good things from Adam, because the Bible says in Genesis 1:29 that God gave every herb that yields seed on the entire face of the earth to Adam and also every tree that yields fruit with seeds. Also every beast of the earth and every bird of the air and everything that walks on the earth and everything that has life was given to Adam to rule over.

You might say that God had made Adam king of the earth. God had withheld nothing from Adam that was useful to him. The only restriction Adam had was this: Do not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden.

Now, this is the point. Adam did not have the God-given right to eat of the tree. However, he did have the ability.

A few years ago I heard a man on a television talk show talking about marijuana. He said that it was okay to smoke it because God made it. And he concluded if God didn’t want people to smoke marijuana, then He would not have made it. That is possibly the logic Adam could have used when trying to decide whether or not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden.

Just because we have the ability to do something does not mean we have the right to do it.

Let me give you an example. We all have the ability to kill someone. If you are strong, you may be able to break someone’s neck. If you own a gun and have one bullet, you have the equipment required for murder. Even if you are a weakling, you could still poison someone. There are thousands of ways to murder someone. Everyone has the ability. But no one has the right to commit murder. God says it is wrong and we are not to do it. The government says it is wrong and has passed laws that prohibit it. If you break the law, you are punished. We have rights in our country, but we do not have the right to murder, even though we have the ability.

As Christians, we need to understand that everything we can do is not something we have been given the right to do. We must choose to love. We must choose to forgive. We must choose to obey God’s Word. We have not been given the right to do otherwise.

Devotion 0185

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