Living in the Garden

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:14-19

There’s an art to communication. In fact, art itself is communication, a way of attempting to translate a thought, a feeling or an experience from one brain to another. But in order to communicate something, you have to have something real to communicate. You have to have had a thought worth expressing, a feeling worth sharing, or an experience worth unloading. Whether it’s a poem, a painting, a play or a prophecy, you have to have something to say in order to make saying anything at all worthwhile.

There’s an old joke about a revered mystic, a hermit who had been rumored to live atop a great pillar of rock in the middle of the desert for two score years and more. From time to time, a pilgrim would strike out into the desert hoping to find the great man to ask him for his wisdom, but they would return discouraged, defeated by the sun and the sands, if they returned at all. Finally, a young man ventured out with a burning question about life, the universe and everything: a burning question that, when answered, would change all mankind. He journeyed far into the dunes, surviving extreme thirst, hunger, mirages and the heat from the blazing skies, and came upon the wise man’s pillar at the setting of the sun on the seventh day. Trembling with anticipation, the young man prostrated himself before the pillar, hailing the renowned ascetic — and asked his burning question. At last, the guru called down and replied, “Man, for two score years and more I’ve been living on top of a pillar of rock in the middle of the desert. How in God’s Name would I know?”

When we open ourselves to Jesus as He opens Himself to us, we become part of something greater than ourselves. Acts 17:28 says, “in Him we live and move and have our being” — we are completely open to the glorious abundance of God in Christ Jesus. Now, ‘completely open’ legitimately means exactly that. We’re intended to be wide open, utterly unstoppered, ready to fill to capacity with the Father’s blessing and favor, to have that profusion fill us to the brim… and then over, for it to cascade about us. We’re supposed to be the cup that overflows. That’s our role in life, and our role in Christ: to resonate with His voice in the earth, to demonstrate the Kingdom, to be so full of God’s marvelous grace and astonishing love that it runs from us in drips and dribbles, torrents and waterfalls, wherever we go.

Of course, the act of laying ourselves bare, being that open and vulnerable, is the total antithesis of every small untruth, every little lie that the world has tried to drill into us since the moment we’re born. We’re told to guard ourselves, that protection is vital, that it’s a matter of self-preservation. It’s no small thing, to unlearn everything we’ve ever been told is important in life. But we were always intended to live in a garden, a flourishing paradise blossoming with life, saturated with warmth and beauty and plenty, because that’s the fullness of God, brimming over. The desert is arid, harsh, a place of parched throats and a thirst that runs from your hair to your toes. Fullness is our inheritance, ever since Eden. Once we’ve experienced the garden, why would we choose to live in the desert? Why would anyone?

It’s true that people living in the desert don’t drown. Neither do they fall, or cry, or laugh, or experience anything truly magnificent. Fundamentally, if you don’t completely open yourself up to receive, to allow the garden to wash over you, you’re not truly living at all, only existing — and there are no great stories about mere existence. If you want to tell a great story, you have to have a great story to tell. You have to be that story. We’re not just delivering the good news. We are the good news.

Think about your affect, the way you present yourself, how you talk to people. Think about the story you’re telling as you go about your day. Are you prey to stress, to worry, fear and anxiety? Do you find yourself believing the worst as a default setting? Practice opening yourself to grace: making yourself vulnerable to goodness. As you open yourself more, reveling in God’s eagerness to fill you to capacity and then more besides, you’ll find that negativity simply cannot exist in the same space as you. As you overflow with His fullness, His passion for you, you’ll bring the garden to everyone you meet, and every situation you find yourself in. Becoming a great story that people will tell, and tell, and tell again.

Ben from Team Brilliant

Paradise” by Seyed Mostafa Zamani is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Advertisements

One thought on “Living in the Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s