Deuteronomy 30:19-20a “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”
Continuing Pastor Kyle’s bold message on living by the Word, Will and Way of God, Kyle told us that we may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but gave us three positive statements about living rightly in the eyes of the lord today. (1) We are still made in the image of God. We all were formed by God out of the dust of the earth, like clay in the hands of the Potter (Isaiah 64:8). Our Maker forms our life into whatever He wants; not what we might desire. Our view of what is good for ourselves may be distorted as we do not see the whole picture. We have to trust our Creator father God. (2) We still have the same marching orders from God and that involves obedience. Remember that next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the tree of life to test us. God did make us to be robots, but gave us a “free will”. Satan tempted our first parents with a lie, but continues to deceive the world, create confusing doubt in our mind and tempt the flesh desires of our sinful heart today. But, we are to put on the full armor of God (God’s truth and righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith and the Word of God) as we walk in the Spirit and not gratify the sin nature’s desires. (3) Jesus makes the “Garden” intimacy possible again. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The enemy (the devil) has stolen our garden experience. But, through Jesus’ work on the cross, our sin is reconciled and our intimacy restored for the quality of life. Satan steals and kills; God provides and saves.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Kyle explained that there were numerous methods of dealing with our sinful shortcomings. Some are behaviorally focused. We need accountability, checks and balances, reminders and an occasional “slap on the wrist” for correction to keep us on the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness. Sin makes people feel shame and guilt, but the grace of God heals all wounds. We need to take a look at ourselves and focus on why we go there in the first place and what are the paths that led us there? Some are heart-focused. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20-21 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Compared to the big picture laid out for us in the Word of God, are there some pieces missing? The best are holistic. Do we look at the whole picture with an eternal perspective or with an “in the moment” existential short-sightedness? We all carry stress, but what place do you go to (physically and mentally) for relief, or what do you consume to take the edge off? Jesus paid the price for us to have a restored “Garden” intimacy. We have a picture of God’s Way, but need a map to get there and an instruction manual on how to.
2 Peter 1:3-7 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
There is a plan and a picture by God for us to get to the Garden experience. If we have no spiritual growth and progress in life, how can we say that we are walking in obedience with the Holy Spirit? We have the choice to say: “No thanks, I got this.” But, we have to look at why we do what we do in honest conversation with the Lord. We all need to “tend to the garden” of our life in body, mind, soul and spirit, and live our life as God intended us to live it.