Have you ever considered what it would have been like to be in the Garden of Eden? To be honest, I’m fascinated by the idea. I guess it’s because Eden was the manifestation of God’s original intentions regarding the state of humanity. In Eden, there was:
- Provision – An ample (non-GMO) food supply, landscaped and cultivated by God Himself
- Companionship – Not only did Adam and Eve have each other but God Himself physically walked with them and talked audibly to them. Can you imagine the conversations over dinner?
- Activity – From day one, the Eden residents had jobs with the best benefits package EVER and a Boss who absolutely loved them. Talk about job security.
- Life – They literally lived in an epicenter of vitality. The Tree of Life was in their backyard and four rivers converged at their front door. Everyone and everything was in a perpetual state of thriving.
Eden was more than a place; it was a state of being; a state of being abundantly complete. And then with one, brief conversation with a literal snake-in-the-grass, it was gone. What could have possibly happened in that conversation to make anyone put life in Eden at risk? I took a look at Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV):
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Eve, aided by the strategic interjection of doubt by the snake, decides that the overflowing provision and abundant life of Eden is not enough. She believes she is missing out on something; something that will make her and her life better. In her action to disobey God she makes a loud declaration; she finds the life God has given her insufficient…incomplete. And consequently, humanity is thrown into an eternal soul death spiral that only the sacrificial death of God Himself can remedy. However, there are still consequences. Particularly, we are cut off from the garden and earth becomes an anti-Eden environment.
So in my reflections about Eden have I imagined rushing Eve like a linebacker, slapping the fruit out of her hand, giving her a good shake, and making the first pair of snakeskin shoes? Maybe. But then again, who am I to judge her when I have done the same thing…often.
Sure, I don’t live in Eden. But I do have a type of “garden” inside of me. In my garden there is an abundant supply of fruit, provided by the Holy Spirit, my resident Caretaker (Gal. 5:22-23). My garden is continuously nourished by the well spring of life Jesus Himself gave me (John 4:14) and pruned for optimal growth by the Master Gardner (John 15:1-2). And the power that raised Jesus from the grave hovers over it like life-giving energy source. Yet, I have often believed the voices of doubt that state my life was still lacking, that I needed something more, that what I have is incomplete. And the next thing I know, I am pursuing the “more” I think will complete me.
Sometimes the “more” can be a graduate degree, a new job, a spouse, or maybe a child. Don’t get me wrong, desiring these things isn’t bad. They are great things! But when we find ourselves connecting our completeness to them, that’s when things can go terribly wrong.
I have to remind myself of Colossians 2:9-10 (NASB):
For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
The take home message for me is simple:
“Don’t forsake God to chase after what He’s already given me.”
Are you living out the abundant completeness you have in Christ? What types of “more” have you mistakenly tied to your completeness? What sources of doubt make it difficult to embrace your completeness?
Now that you have finished reading it’s time to SyncUP with God. Start by reviewing the “Weekly SyncUP Guide”. It provides 5 daily guides on scripture reading, reflection questions, life application steps, and prayers to help you have your own daily SyncUps with God for the rest of the week.
DON’T FREAK OUT…if doing all 5 this week is overwhelming, set a goal of 2 or 3 and work your way up from there. Enjoy and God Bless!