The Two Gardens

From the very beginning, God has wanted to do life with us – not for us!

God paints a powerful story between two gardens and invites us on a journey of living from His victory, not for His victory. The cry of Palm Sunday is “Hosanna!” If you were at church last weekend, you probably sang a song titled that – there are many to choose from J. Often times, we translate that word as “Save us!”, but in the Aramaic it can also mean “Bring the victory, Lord!” Are you in a challenging season where you aren’t experiencing the fullness of victory in Christ in your daily life? Be encouraged this season! The Jewish people were there 2,000 years ago, but thankfully Jesus has paved a practical way forward for us to walk in daily relationship with Him no matter the season.
As the people cried out hosanna, they were crying out for freedom from their Roman oppressors, but God was after something much more eternal – unity with His bride. When someone has a heart attack, they don’t need a painkiller – they need a healed heart! In the same way, when we go through challenging situations, we can lose track of where God’s victory is or where we really need to experience it. God’s plan is always way more loving, merciful, satisfying and eternal then we ever could imagine. Our Father has always been after our heart. From the very beginning, God has wanted to do life with us – not for us!
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in a Garden where they could choose relationship or separation. He isn’t afraid of the gift He gave us – freewill. This means that living in our identity in Christ and living in His victory is a choice. A daily choice. One that even Jesus had to make in the Garden of Gethsemane. Before we go to that Garden, let’s start in the Garden of Eden and discover 3 ways we can avoid compromising living in victory. Genesis 3:1-10 outlines the familiar story of the fall of man.
We lose awareness of God’s victory in our lives when….
1. We start to question who we are and what God has spoken to us. 
In Gen 3:1, the serpent begins by asking Eve “Did God really say…” and goes on to question her inheritance and identity made in the image of God. If you find yourself losing hope and questioning how victorious you really are in a situation, stop. Ask yourself what God has said to you about this area of your life and then declare His truth!
2. We take our eyes off of the beauty of Jesus and put them on what we think will satisfy us instead. 
A powerful Father of faith named Jack Taylor shared once that “If you’re not seeking God’s Kingdom first, then you’re already in the suburbs of idolatry.” An idol is anything that takes our attention away from Jesus or the lifestyle He calls us to. This could look like an addiction to TV, unhealthy eating, porn, drugs etc. It doesn’t matter how big a deal it is, it’s a big deal if it shifts our focus. When that shift happens, it opens the door to feelings of discouragement, hopelessness, and disappointment because it means we’ve left the true source of satisfaction!
3. Say no to God’s will and believe the lie. 
Eve was presented with the lie that who she was created to be was not satisfying enough, not good enough and not powerful enough. Ever heard that before? Today God wants to set us free and break us out of old patterns of thinking!
Thousands of years later, God hadn’t forgotten about the Garden of Eden and He decided it was time to redeem His garden encounters. In Matthew 26, we read the powerful story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, God paints a picture of how to be aware of our identities in children of God and how to live in His practical victory.
We walk in our identity and victory in Christ when…
1. We keep watch with each other.  
In Matthew 26:36 we read that while Jesus prayed to His Father, He asked His disciples to keep watch and pray. Two of the greatest gifts you can ever give someone are to love and encourage them and to pray for them. Who are you praying for regularly?
2. We acknowledge our feelings and situation, but don’t let them define our future. 
Matthew 26:36 reveals the reality that Jesus didn’t deny His emotions and the feelings of “sorrow to the point of death” He experienced that night. He showed us instead that we don’t have to let our feelings decide our actions. Don’t wait until you feel sufficient to be sufficient. It’s just not how God works. Jack Taylor put it this way, “Our weakness becomes the throne on which God sits and shoots rockets into the enemy’s camp!”
3. We sacrifice our will on the alter of Love and say “Have Your way!”
God redeemed the fall of man in the garden the moment Jesus said yes to His Father God’s will and no to any human desire. He then walked that out through the cross and resurrection. He gave His body and His blood to satisfy us and redeem us from the idolatry of the fruit from the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t enough just to say we were forgiven, God’s heart was for us to fully receive His grace and be redeemed from eating the fruit.
So let’s not just cry out for victory like Jerusalem cried out on Palm Sunday, but let’s realize that His victory has never left us. That it was fully paid for on by the Cross and empty tomb and now it’s our choice whether we will walk it out or not. It’s like being on a beach on a sunny day and wearing a giant sun hat, overcoat and sunglasses and then complaining about the lack of sunshine. The sun is right there.
Walking out the breakthroughs of the two gardens removes blockages so we can experience His victory and redefine what it looks like in our daily lives. It’s time, friends!

2 Responses to “The Two Gardens”

  1. Sheila Voorheis says:

    Excellent message Hannah!

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