|Old print I took of a garden gate in Camden, Maine|
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden;
and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Enjoy this excellent excerpt about being in the Lord's Garden!
By J.C. Ryle: “The Lord’s Garden”
The Lord's garden is not empty—it is always full of FLOWERS. It has had many in time past, it has many at the time present. Believers are the flowers that fill the Lord's garden.
In some things they are all ALIKE.
(1) They have all been transplanted. Not one of the Lord's flowers grew naturally in His garden. They were all born children of wrath, even as others. No man is born with grace in his heart. Every believer among the Lord's people was at one time at enmity with Him, and in a state of condemnation. It was the grace of God that first called him out of the world. It was the Spirit of Christ who made him what he is, and planted him in the garden of the Lord. In this the Lord's people are all alike—they are all transplanted flowers.
(2) The Lord's flowers are all alike in their root. In outward things they may differ, but underneath they are all the same. They are all rooted and grounded on Jesus Christ. Believers may worship in different places, and belong to different churches, but their foundation is the same—the cross and the blood of Jesus.
(3) The Lord's flowers are all at their beginning weak. They do not come to full maturity at once. They are at first like new-born babes, tender and delicate, and needing to be fed with milk, and not with strong meat. They are soon checked and thrown back. All begin in this way.
(4) The Lord's flowers all need the light of the sun. Flowers cannot live without light. Believers cannot live comfortably unless they see much of the face of Jesus Christ. To be ever looking on Him, feeding on Him, communing with Him—this is the hidden spring of the life of God in man's soul.
(5) The Lord's flowers all need the dews of the Spirit. Flowers wither without moisture. Believers need daily, hourly, to be renewed by the Holy Spirit in the spirit of their minds. We cannot live on old grace, if we would be fresh, living, real Christians. We must be daily more 'filled with the Spirit'. Every chamber in the inward temple must be filled.
(6) The Lord's flowers are all in danger of weeds. Flower-beds need constant weeding. Believers need daily to search and see that they do not let besetting sins grow on undisturbed. These are the things that choke the actings of grace, and chill the influences of the Spirit. All are in peril of this—all should beware.
(7) The Lord's flowers all require pruning and cutting. Flowers left alone soon dwindle and grow small. No careful gardener leaves his roses alone all the year round. Just so believers need stirring, shaking, mortifying—or else they become sleepy—and incline like Lot to 'settle down by Sodom'. And if they are slow about the work of pruning, God will often take it in hand for them.
(8) The Lord's flowers all grow. None but hypocrites, and wolves in sheep's clothing, and 'painted Christians', stand still. True believers are never long the same. It is their desire to go on from grace to grace, strength to strength, knowledge to knowledge, faith to faith, holiness to holiness. Visit a border of the Lord's garden after two or three years' absence, and you will see this growth. If you do not see growth—you may well suppose there is a worm at the root. Life grows—but death stands still and decays.