When I see someone in church experiencing God’s grace and mercy and presence, I am thrilled. When I see that same person turn his or her back on God and return to a sinful lifestyle, I am shocked. How could someone who has known Jesus ever leave him? How could someone who has experienced His grace ever find satisfaction with one foot in hell?
We need to return to the Garden of Eden. The garden is the mindset and mentality that every moment of the day is lived in and through and for God the Father, and Him alone; every thought bringing him glory, every deed done with the excellence that reflects His perfection and with His wishes in mind. Like the song by Matthew West, it’s not just going through the motions.
“I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna spend one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?”
Returning to the Garden is a return to that place before the fall, a place of reconciliation and right standing with our God and Father, because this was the plan and purpose of Jesus when he came to die!
Let’s look at Adam and Eve. When they were thrown out of the garden, sin entered, and destroyed their fellowship with God. They went from a face-to-face relationship to one of rules and regulations, feasts and holy days, special observances and sacrifices.
Very few people actually had a relationship like Moses and the prophets. Fast forward about 3,500 years. Man has perfected sin to the point that his relationship with God has now become a once a week, one-hour service that brings boredom, regret and condemnation. God has no face. He has no identity but the European blonde haired blue eyed Jesus hanging on the wall, His word no more than a book covered in cobwebs.
Jesus is a dead man to many, not the risen Savior who is both master and friend, but someone who hung on a cross and was buried. For them there has been no resurrection. They still have the mentality that they are lost, that they are Adam and Eve leaving the garden naked and in disgrace and fear.
Outside the garden, the Holy Spirit is a formless void, not the third person who actually resides in believers, who brings all things to our remembrance, who comforts and teaches us, who empowers us to good works and miraculous deeds.
I’ll never forget the day I returned to the garden. I had grown up with cold dead religion. I had a one-hour photo relationship with a god who looked like Charlton Heston. And he was fine with my sinful lifestyle. In fact, I never heard from him at all. But when I ran headlong into the true God, prayed that prayer of salvation and really meant it, my perspective changed.
You know about perspectives. It’s when you have two people at different places who see things differently. Like the blind men and the elephant. But this perspective was a revelation! Am I perfect now? No, far from it. Ask my wife if you want to really know who I am. But now each morning I wake with Jesus on my mind and heart. I go through my day walking with him, listening and talking to Him.
I think about ministry, soul winning, and acts of charity and kindness. I have a conscience that is not seared but is active and quick to correct me. When I begin to get in the flesh and forget who I am and who I have been called to be, then I look down and see that I am not in the garden. It’s not that I’ve lost my salvation. But I have lost my perspective. I’m sure that the greatest cause of people falling away from God is by losing their perspective. Their garden becomes so tangled with thorns and briers and weeds that it chokes their vision.
Returning to the garden is possible because of what Jesus has done. That place of fellowship has been restored because all of my sins were laid on Him, and God’s wrath was poured out on Him as well. In the garden, we are alive, not dead in our trespasses.
In the garden, we are immortal.
Romans 2:7 – To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
2 Tim 1:10 – But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
In the garden, we are not ashamed.
Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Philippians 1:20 – I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
2 Tim 1:2 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
In the garden, we can be free from sin.
Romans 6:22 – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Romans 8:2 – Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Hebrews 9:15 – For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
If we are going back to the garden, we will need to know our job description!
What defines a gardener?
They know the secrets of sowing and reaping.
They know the growing seasons and understand the soil.
They work hard.
They feed others.
They are dependable
They take pride in their work.
They rely on God for the rain.
Won’t you return to the garden today?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Our Prattville or its editor or publisher.
Article by Cameron Reeder
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