Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The First Place

The Garden of Eden.

Have you ever spent any time trying to imagine what it was like?  What image comes into your mind?  Is it lush greenery, heavy-laden fruit trees, wild flowers and a peaceful river?

I think that's what most of us try to imagine - a perfect environment.  The smells, the sounds, the quietness, the sun shining through the glistening leaves of the enormous trees, the tastes, the colors - I think we call it Utopia, right?

More often than I can testify to, God takes the elements of my life and converges them to a single point of concentration.  Let me explain.  I am teaching Genesis with the middle schoolers at church and we are just getting ready for Genesis 3, which means we've been hanging out in the Garden of Eden for a few weeks.

In addition to that, we are studying the Sermon on the Mount in ladies study and in the Beatitudes we've been mulling over the characteristics of citizens of the Kingdom.  Though for now, we citizens live in a fallen world, a day is coming when that kingdom will be restored and the stewardship that I experience now will be drastically changed.

And finally, this weekend is our women's fall conference. The theme is The First Place, taken from Colossians 1, where in a lengthy description of Jesus, it ends with the phrase - "and He will come to have first place in everything."  We desire to see Jesus at the forefront of every aspect of our lives today, but a day is coming when His rightful position will be returned and we won't wrestle with our flesh to have Him there.

So here's the point of the convergence - the garden of Eden, while peaceful and beautiful beyond my imagination, had the presence of Jesus Christ in the center of it, completely unhindered by sin.

Pure and perfect fellowship.

The Kingdom is all about restoring God's creation to its original intent.

Pure and perfect fellowship.

Jesus having first place in all things is the restoration of that kingdom.

Pure and perfect fellowship.

That's the end game, friends.  That's where our focus needs to be.  Do you long for pure, unhindered and perfect fellowship with Jesus?  Does your heart ache to see His face and hear His voice? Are you weary of the daily battle with the enemy?  Does your heart feel the pull of eternity?

When you think of Eden, don't worry about trying to imagine the garden.  We'll get to see it someday, because the Lord will create a new heavens and a new earth. He'll restore the earth to its original beauty and we'll have the opportunity and privilege to steward His creation unhindered by sin once again. So don't worry - you'll get to see it.

But when you think of Eden, let your heart long for that pure and perfect fellowship that Adam and Eve had before sin. Imagine meeting with Jesus and walking through the garden. What does He want to talk with you about?  What does His voice sound like?  What will you ask Him?

There will be no fear - fear of His judgment or fear of disappointing Him.  There will be no sin - no self-centered requests or need for repentance.  Though we have restored fellowship and a restored kingdom today, it's still going to be different then. Sin will be destroyed. Done. Gone. Over. We will all be changed.

Spend some time imagining that today and let your heart soar with joy and wonder, as you set your mind on the things above...Jesus' unhindered presence, Jesus restoring His kingdom, Jesus in the first place...

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing time we will have, and the beauty will be beyond discription. My mind can't imagine what Jesus will say to me. I think I will have questions for Him but when I get there they may all be forgotten or maybe answered instantly.