In The Garden
John 15:4-8 (Jesus speaking) "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
When I think of vines and branches I am reminded of one of my favorite hymns, In the Garden. Verse one and the chorus of the old Hymn says, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever know.”
John 15:26 tells us “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, The Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” (underlining my emphasis) And I am reminded that John 14:26 tells us, the Counselor that the Father will send is the Holy Spirit. (Who was sent back to us after Jesus went to sit at the right hand of the Father.)
‘While the dew is still on the roses’, means I have come early in the morning to the garden, even before the sun has come up. ‘And the voice I hear, falling on my ear’, is the Holy Spirit speaking to me, ‘the Son of God discloses’. The Holy Spirit teaches me about and helps me to know the Son of God, Jesus.
Can you image or picture what it must have been like when Adam and Eve walked with the Lord? What it was like to walk and talk with Him, before they had sinned? We know that Genesis 3:8 tells us that after they had sinned, when the Lord came to the Garden to walk with them, they hid. How many times we do that too – we hid or distance ourselves from the Lord, we stop meeting with him, and we stop reading His word.
Then I think of Enoch, whose name means dedicated, who walked with the Lord 300 years. Scripture says, “then he was no more, because God took him away.” All the others that Genesis 5 is talks about, says, “then he died.” So one would have to conclude that Enoch never tasted death, that he and God had such a close relationship that the Lord God just took him home.
In John 15 above, Jesus tells us that unless we remain in Him we won’t bear much fruit. We know that branches on trees that don’t have any blockage, bugs, or disease flourish and are vital. But we have all seen parts (branches) of the same tree that appear to be dead. The branches are just sticks and have no leaves on them. That’s us without an abiding – getting our nourishment, our strength, our encouragement from the source of living water – Jesus. Is something blocking or keeping me from receiving what the Lord has for me? Without staying connected with Him, my spirit shrivels, and then my physical body doesn’t continue in healthiness either. I start to make decisions that lead to death and destruction.
How do we walk with God? First we have to choose to – to become a disciple, a follower of Jesus. We don’t want to walk and talk with someone that we don’t care about, someone that we don’t want to be around. We walk and talk with them because we care about them, and we want to hear what they have to say to us, and we know that they want to hear what we have to say. That is one of the ways we build relationship with another person, isn’t it?
Secondly, we must stay or remain in that love relationship. How do we remain in that love relationship? John 15:9-10 tells us, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” Verse 11 goes on to say, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Sounds to me like I remain in His love when I obey His commands, and His joy is placed in me, as I obey His commands; so that my joy is complete, (made full, filled up, abounds, is furnished and supplied liberally).
Then I experience what the writer of In The Garden did – verse 2: ‘He speaks and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing and the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing.’ Verse 3: ‘I’d stay in the garden with Him tho’ the night around me be falling; But He bids me go through a voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.’ I hate to leave His presence. I hear in His voice he hates to have me go, but he is calling me to come again to the garden with Him tomorrow. I experience the love and joy of being together.
Where is your garden -- your place of meeting with Him? Is it a special room, a special chair, or even in the recesses of your mind with your eyes closed? Go alone – just you and He. Tarry there – hear His voice speaking to you. May you experience the love and joy of the Lord in your time with Him!! May your times be rich as you walk and talk!
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we praise you and we praise your Son Jesus, for His obedience to provide the way for us to have communion with you. Thank you for the awesomeness of being able to have a love relationship that is rich, wonderful, and rewarding. I pray that we would all experience your love and joy as we choose today to make the necessary changes in our routines that would allow us to ‘come to the garden’ and meet with you there. Help us to know what it means to remain, to abide in you. Show each of us where we have let blockage come in to separate us from your flowing to us, that we might confess, repent, and remove those things that hinder us from receiving from you. We want to bear fruit and to bring glory to you!! Thank you for your faithfulness and your love for each of us!! In the precious name of Jesus, we ask, for your help and revelation. Amen
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