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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Is the Garden of My Heart So Important?

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless

at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I Thessalonians 5:23 NIV

Today I am thinking about spending time in the garden of my heart and why the garden of my heart is so important. Why do I regularly need to be there? For me the answer is found in I Thessalonians 5:23. The garden of my heart is important because it is the place that I receive God’s love, comfort and peace. The garden of my heart is where I offer up to God my sacrifice of praise and worship. The garden is where God and I resolve my personal struggles and identify my sinful blame. Jesus is coming again and it is important that when he arrives I am found blameless in his sight.

It is assuring to know that if I confess my sin to God he is faithful to forgive me. The free gift of salvation is mine for all eternity. When I stand before God he will have no reason to let me into heaven other than the fact that I have accepted the free sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only acceptable payment for my sin. At that point God does not see my sin; he only sees that I have been redeemed by Jesus.

Even though as a believer I have been forgiven, I still have a major concern. I must be acutely aware that every day I live offers new possibilities for me to sin. It is not the sin that separates me from God but it is the sin that can cause me to loose part of my heavenly reward. Each believer will be held accountable and judged for what he has or has not done. The garden is the place that I can allow God to search my heart and see if there be any offensive way in me. Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

“…each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” I Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV

So God, what is it in my life that needs to be searched and examined? “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:23 NIV

When we stand before God he will look at our soul. The soul is made up of our mind, our will and our emotions. The soul never dies. It is the place where God changes me. The soul is where my emotions fluctuate between all time highs and lows. It is from deep within my soul that I hear the call of God. The soul is where thoughts both good and bad float around waiting for us to either embrace and obey the good or banish the bad. This is why God has commanded us to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 KJV

God will also look at our spirit. Our spirit is the core of who we are. It is where our sin nature resides. Our spirit is the part of our life that Jesus covers with his blood when we accept him as our Savior. When we accept Christ the Holy Spirit enters our spirit and remains there to be our comforter, our strength, our peace, and our guide. The Holy Spirit also convicts us regarding the sin in our life. The recognition of our sin offers us opportunity to confess our sin and keep our hearts blameless. If we choose to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit that rejection also becomes sin. The more we nurture our sin the farther away from God we walk. There is a huge danger that we can begin to love our sin more than we love God. We will also loose our influence for Jesus Christ. Although the Holy Spirit remains in us he is deeply grieved. Our heart becomes hard and conviction is often buried so far that we no longer feel it and we become a person who justifies our sins to fit our pleasures.

Our body is the shell that houses both the spirit and the soul. We are also warned not to abuse our body and we are told to protect our body. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Abiding in the garden offers opportunity for God to bring about eternal changes in my life that will bring him glory. It is now pretty obvious to me that the formula for bringing more glory to God, is less personal blame! I know that I am weak and frail. I know that I am selfish and prideful. I know I am prone to anger and I often fight for control. I also know that I have a deep need for the Holy Spirit of God to continue his sanctification process in my life every day until the day I die. This is a daily struggle between my will and God's will for me. It is only the Holiness of God that takes away my blame. I must allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of my sin. I must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to help me change my behavior when I cannot do in my own strength. I am pretty sure that I will not get it perfect in this life but I also know that spending time in the garden of my heart is where transformation happens. God may not expect perfection in this life but I do believe that he wants to see continual progress!


When was the last time that you asked God to examine your heart?

Does it concern you that your heart may not be blameless?

Are you surprised to know that you are accountable for what you do and do not do after you become a believer?

What life changes are you willing to make in order to be found blameless before God?

Are you strengthened to realize that God has given you his Holy Spirit to help you in all your times of need by giving you the power to reject sin and the power to choose to respond like Jesus?

Do you find joy in knowing that Jesus is with you in this effort so that you may be presented holy and spotless without even one sinful wrinkle when you stand before the Father?


Dear God,

I stand amazed knowing that you love me so very much! It is your heart of love that reaches out to me every day. God I know that you do not want to withhold any good thing from those you love. It is because you love me that you do not want to see me suffer loss of reward when I stand before you. Thank you that you continue to call me to come higher. Search me God and show me the sinfulness in my heart. God I know that I have many opportunities to sin daily in word, in thought, and in deed. I pray that your Holy Spirit will continue to call and convict me of my sin each and every day. Forgive me this day for the times that I have grieved your Holy Spirit by ignoring his promptings. Forgive me for all that is in my life that does not honor you. Help me to remember that the choices I make in this life do count for eternity. Thank you for reminding me that my choices will be examined when I stand before you. God, I pray that you will daily take away my blame and replace it with the spotless glory of your love, mercy, and grace. For it is only selfless work, poured out in love, and bathed in your mercy and grace that will stand blameless before you.

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.