by Wayne Stiles
Two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane, provided the settings for two choices that brought opposite results.
The Bible wildly contrasts these choices.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s choice to commit sin had the potential of bringing condemnation to everyone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s decision to die for sins provided potential justification to everyone (Romans 5:18).
Adam never would have eaten the fruit had he known the consequences to himself and to his race. But he couldn’t see the results.
All he had was God’s Word and its warning. That’s all we have as well.
Two Choices Then . . . and Now
I’ve never been to the Garden of Eden, but I have seen Gethsemane many times. I’ll never forget standing in the garden for the first time. A stunning insight occurred when I turned around and saw the walls of Jerusalem so close behind Gethsemane. Jesus easily could have seen the soldiers coming to arrest Him. In fact, He said, “Here comes my betrayer!” (Matthew 26:46).
He could see those who would lead Him to death approaching, but still He chose to stay in the garden out of obedience to the Father—and out of love for us.
Every day, we walk in the gardens of decision. The two choices in two gardens give us pause to consider our own decisions today:
- Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, we can compromise God’s Word in favor of what we think or feel—and live with overwhelming regret. We don’t have to wonder if this will be our outcome. Adam has shown us it is so.
- Like Jesus in Gethsemane, we can take God at His Word—even when it costs us dearly—knowing the Father makes the potential worth the sacrifice. Our choices can produce good beyond imagination.
The Far-Reaching Potential of Our Choices
When a man named Mordecai Ham shared the good news of Jesus to a young boy one day, he had no idea the good that would result. Not many people know Ham’s name, but through his simple faithfulness, God converted Billy Graham. And through Graham . . . millions.
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. Only the Lord knows the staggering potential inside each decision we make.
“I cannot continuously say no to this or no to that, unless there is something ten times more attractive to choose.” —Henri Nouwen
We have to decide moment by moment to fight the good fight and choose the long-term benefits that faithfulness offers.
We have two gardens as proof that faithfulness is worth it.
Question: Why do you think there is such tension in our hearts over these two choices—when we know the outcomes? Please leave a comment.
Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), p. 78, 111. Used by permission.
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