Friday, February 26, 2010

Fellowship in the Garden—Then and Now

My thoughts rest this morning on God’s benevolent intent towards me!

I am His and He is mine.  His love is perfect, mine has its shortcomings.  But His love towards me is never altered nor affected by my imperfections. 

He never walks away from me out of disgust.  He never responds dejectedly to my neglect.  He never shakes His finger at me disapprovingly.

He faithfully stays by my side and lovingly, graciously, mercifully massages my heart towards Him. 

It is my truest desire to be found faithful in Him.  How often I fall short.  How often I miss the mark.  How often I cringe at thoughts and reactions that respond out of me. 

I weep over this sinful flesh. 

There are victories, to be sure.  Who I am today is so unlike the me of yesterday.  I have learned to rest in His sanctification schedule over my life.  I embrace His holiness and desire more than anything to be. like. Christ!  That is why I have come to embrace the brokenness of revealed sin in my life.  And why it saddens me.

He is a holy God.  He holds to the line of righteousness that will not be moved.  He is also ever with me.  He draws me towards Him.  Towards that holy place in His Presence.

O! to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O! to be like Thee, O! to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness
Stamp Thine own image deep in my heart.

He desires relationship—with me!  He desires closeness—with me!  He desires communication—with me!

My thoughts visit Genesis.  In the Garden before sin entered in.  Adam and Eve had such a closeness with God as they walked and talked with Him.  

He is not a God of changed opinion.  He “is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrews 13:8.  His desired and lived-out relationship with the first couple then is the same relationship that He desires to have with me today.

Even after sin entered into the garden, God continued to communicate with this couple.  God did not, could not, would not lower His holy standards to accommodate them.  But neither did He cut off communication and fellowship with them following their outright disobedience.

Adam and Eve were blatant in their sin and yet they still heard from God!

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.  Genesis 3:9-13

God talked with man and woman before sin.  God talked with the man and woman after sin.

The man and woman talked with God before sinning.  Man and woman talked with God following sin.

Their fellowship of natural, 2-way communication continued in the midst of their disobedience.  What was normal before, remained.  Their closeness was altered, but God did not withdraw His desire to talk with them because of their actions

In fact, I have available to me what Adam and Eve never did!  Recovered closeness! 

Adam and Eve had to continue this life separated from the One they desired most to be with.  Separated from the garden.  Yet I have Christ within—ever drawing me closer to God.  The Holy Spirit within—aligning my heart with His.

The Blood of grace and suffering bore at the cross reconnects separation with a true oneness—a closeness “walking alongside” could never be.  The veil was torn.  The chains of separateness between God and His beloved broke free. 

This is the fellowship offered to me.  Received by me.  Living in me!

To meet in the garden of my soul with its Designer and Cultivator.  To have the closest of relationships, the deepest of communication, the truest sense of belonging and being wholly loved—desired! 

What hope, what joy that gives me this day. 

O! to be like Thee, while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love,
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.