Monday, July 13, 2015

Lessons from the Garden

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.

This Garden was perfection.  Everything that was needed was there.  It required no work to produce an abundance of food for Adam and Eve.  The Garden of Eden was a perfect gift to the first humans.

But then sin entered the world and the garden (and mankind) was cursed, changed, but not for the better.

Genesis 3:17-19: Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,And you shall eat the herb of the field.19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground,For out of it you were taken;For dust you are,And to dust you shall return.”

When we were first looking at our land, it looked beautiful from the road.  We saw the tall trees and marveled at the views.  But then we started walking through and discovered the thorns and vines.  The way became impassible.How much does this resemble our lives before Christ?  We might look good on the outside, but the inside is a horrible mess.The land needed to be redeemed. It too hard work to clear places to be usable.  Heavy equipment, sweat equity and time all need to be given and used to clear an area for a house, a barn and a garden.

Christ came to redeem our lives.  The cross was not easy.  He was humiliated, beaten and rejected.   

Isaiah 53:3: He is despised and rejected by men,A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

But through that, came the gift of eternal life for everyone.

Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)

I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Hebrews 9:12: Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

I Corinthians 1:30: But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption

This last spring, we spent a lot of time clearing a patch of land for the garden.  It took weeks of hard work to get the thorns out and the soil ready.  Then we planted our plants.  We had the Genesis 2 garden.  Now all we had to do was sit back and wait for the fruits and vegetables to be ready.

But that's not what happened, is it?  Instead of a Genesis 2 garden, we ended up with a Genesis 3 garden full of thorns and weeds.  We "forgot" that we needed to keep working the garden for it to produce a harvest.  We "forgot" that we needed to be in the garden daily, working to keep the weeds and thorns out.

This last week I spent two days reclaiming the garden.  And as I looked at the garden plants that were now visible, I was struck by how much the garden resembles my spiritual walk.  Just like the garden  needed to be reclaimed, sometimes my thoughts and actions need to be reclaimed.

To keep the garden from falling back into weeds and thorns, I have to be out there daily, working.  And so I have to work daily at keeping the weeds and thorns our of my life.  How?  By being in the Word daily, by praying daily and by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through me.

Psalm 119:105: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

Eventually, the garden will be what I want it to be.  It will produce food for my family.  I will be free of weeds and thorns.  It will be beautiful.  It will start to resemble the Genesis 2 garden once again.  It won't be perfect, but it will be closer that it was today.

Eventually, through daily work by the Holy Spirit (sanctification), my life will resemble what God wants my life to be too.

Ephesians 1:13-14: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[a] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

It can be difficult to look at the garden and not see what we want.  To sit and realize that it's going to take time to see the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor, to be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest.

It can be difficult to face the same struggles again and again in our lives.  We need to be patient enough to realize that sanctification is an on going process that will not be finished until we hear "Well done good and faithful servant."

Matthew 25:21: His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

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