Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.
My home office picture window is my front row seat to magnificent sunrises, bountiful crops ready for harvest, and deer who gracefully graze on the vegetation of our farm. Move to the living room and a new picture comes to life with wild turkeys, swaying trees, and sunsets so sweet they move me to emotion. Yet, imagine standing in the shadows near the river that flowed through Eden, gazing at the Master Gardener’s masterpiece, the Garden of Eden. Oh, it almost takes my breath away thinking about the beauty of God’s work.
Contrary to those still having trouble grasping the concept of God, He planted the Garden of Eden. It is not some make believe fairy tale, it’s a real garden, a perfect garden. It had everything needed to maintain its beauty. It was self-sustaining. God loves the human race, and this is demonstrated by placing Adam and Eve in His perfect garden. This was no starter home, needing a little work, it was perfect!
But by the third chapter of Genesis, a mere fourteen verses, satan starts his siege of deception.
And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”
“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
I would love to tell you that Adam jumped in between Eve and the serpent and said, “Wait a minute Eve, we ought not disobey God, He gave us this home.” But I can’t. He went along and disobeyed God.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
Oh, the curse of sin. It is a river which flows from one generation to the next. Instead of a river of life, we are separated from God with a dam of death. Adam and Eve were evicted from their home in the Garden because of their sin. They failed to pay the rent to reside in the garden of paradise. The rent of obedience to God.
There are great gardens in the world, the Garden of Versailles in France and many others. But nothing compares to the beauty of a heart being cultivated by the power of God. When Jesus is deeply rooted in a life the fruit produced is like nothing in this world. It is a supernatural transformation!
I want to be a great garden for my God. I want to go to Heaven and take as many along as possible. So, what are my responsibilities to God? What are my responsibilities to my fellow man? Satan is still selling snipe hunts to gullible people, so how do we help each other avoid his traps? Romans 12 offers Biblical wisdom we need in today’s world.
First, because we are a disobedient bunch of hooligans, before we can take the next step, we need Jesus to wash away our sin. Remember we live under the curse of generational sin. This must be addressed before we can move forward.
In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul writes about our responsibilities to God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
How do we do this? We must yield to the spirit and that starts by cleaning up the mind. When we feed the mind the junk in this world, that junk will make its way out of our minds and into our bodies, and then into our daily walk. Junk impacts our witness! We are new creatures when we are born again, and this should be demonstrated with appropriate behaviors. Transformation comes from yielding to God, studying the Word, and talking to God.
Romans 12 has two verses which talk about our responsibilities to God and nineteen about our responsibilities to society and fellow man. Something tells me God is placing an emphasis on how we deal with one another. He believes it is important to love one another and get along. Some of these verses are contrary to the way we conduct ourselves in the current culture. We are considered weak or a pushover when we exercise self-control and a civil tongue. But God demands it in His Word!
Verses 17-20, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” Says the Lord.
“Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; If he thirsts, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Remember, we are cultivating gardens not digging graves.