Genesis 2:16 “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” A couple years back, I sat next to Singapore’s Education Minister Ong Ye Kung at a dinner, and conveyed my concerns with the education system here. Me: “We do a lot of investing in edtech, and from our viewpoint, it’s clear that the world values rote learning less and less, while creativity becomes more important. Computers can’t beat us on creativity, but they sure can on memorization.” Minister: “Yes the system here is changing, but John you’re a musician. You know that you can’t improvise until you’ve memorized your scales. True creativity first requires constrained learning.” This morning as I was worshipping, our 3 year old Nate came down to the basement and climbed onto my lap. I invited him to join me on the piano, but asked that he limit his playing to two notes that fit the chord sequence. I knew that giving him free reign would lead to chaos, so I limited his options and gave him compete freedom within those two notes. As he matures, of course there is nothing I’d love more than to give him more and more notes and chords to play when we jam together. Sometimes God’s limitations feel like a constraint on our freedom, but today got me thinking. Who has more freedom? The novice who can only create chaos, or the concert pianist who can do the same, but can also earn millions of dollars and inspire millions of people if she so chooses? In the same way God’s constraints serve only to provide more ultimate freedom in creatively improvising the beautiful life He desires for us. Lord, thank you for being so good. Like Adam and Eve who ate from the tree even when you said not to, I sometimes fall into disobedience, but I know your constraints are there to provide me more freedom. I pray that you would reveal the areas in my life where I need to take these more seriously. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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