Keep and Dress Your Garden

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [ahava], joy [simcha], peace [shalom], longsuffering [zitzfleisch], gentleness [nedivut], goodness [chesed], faith [emunah],
23 Meekness [anavah], temperance [shlitah atzmi]: against such there is no law [no proscription in the Torah].

All of the above are supposed to be displayed in the life of the person who’s been saved and redeemed by the Blood of Yeshua. If the attributes of the fruit of the spirit are not resident in our life, have we turned our back on the salvation that was purchased with such a high price? Are we in deep sin, with no way out? Has our conscience been seared toward the ways of God? The answer to all of these is a resounding NO!

There is a definitive difference between "sins" and "errors." Sin is a determination in the heart to go our own way, regardless of what directive God has already given us in His Word. Errors are mistakes that we make in our daily walk with Yeshua, and there is forgiveness from God for both sins and errors, if we will repent and ask for His grace and mercy to change us.

Our flesh, our natural man, wants to have its own way. The flesh will never submit itself to Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit of God] without a conflict. It’s only natural that it would happen this way! But we, as Believers, have a higher calling than to yield to the flesh, which is also known as yetzer hara [the evil inclination]. We have had our yetzer hara renewed when we were born from on high.

Proverbs 16:32 – Who is a strong person? One who overcomes his yetzer hara, as it says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the strong man, and a master of his passions is better than a conqueror of a city."

We should be a people who are ruled by yetzer hatov [the good inclination]. Do we always do this? No, of course not.   But, God sees our heart, and only He knows what our heart attitude is throughout all of the errors we continually make, as we lift one foot in front of the other, endeavoring to stay on the path which He has prepared for us.

The spirit and soul can only be separated by the Word of God, which will show us, and God, what our true motives are:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [Emphasis added]

Having explained the difference between sin and error, I feel compelled to add that if we purposefully make the same error over and over again, then we will have entered into the arena of sin. If we "repent" [turning away from our yetzer hara], then God expects us to have a different attitude, in that He expects us to want to change the unseemly behavior we’ve shown in the past. Dear Reader, don’t think for one nano-second that you are fooling God, when you give "lip service" to repentance, but have no change in your heart attitude! God is not mocked.

Jeremiah 16:10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?
11 Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;
12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:

If you will please indulge me for a minute, let’s take a look at the "spirit" that bears the fruit in our life, shall we?

As you’ve probably noticed, the word "spirit" is capitalized in most versions of the Bible. This same word "spirit" is shown in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, as #4151 pneuma.gif (1083 bytes) pneuma. The second definition of this word in the concordance is:

2) the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated

2a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides [Emphasis added]

2b) the soul

Would it be presumptuous of me to submit to you that this "spirit" that is to bear fruit, is the renewal that God graciously imposes upon our human spirit when it is renewed upon salvation?

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. [Emphasis added]

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [Emphasis added]

This word "renewing," or "renewed," points to that which God has done for us, according to the following definition in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

342 renewing.gif (1241 bytes) an-ak-ah’-ee-no-sis
noun feminine
AV-renewing 2; 2
1) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better [Emphasis added]

The "fruit" that is being discussed in the opening Scripture, is the visible outgrowth of the unseen, and mysterious vital force of Ruach HaKodesh, within the spirit of man. Surely, we know that God doesn’t just yank us around like puppets, therefore, there must be an intentional desire on our part, for this fruit to be manifest in our life. The most poignant fruit mentioned is the fruit of self-control [temperance]. Doesn’t that point to the fact that this is something WE must do with a heart set on serving God?

Yes, we will only bear this fruit in our life once Ruach HaKodesh establishes His presence in our heart and life. But, be certain, this is not something He will do FOR us. No. This is an interactive growth process in the Kingdom of God. We are in control of our own spirit, and Ruach HaKodesh will lead us in the way of good, if we will do and hear, all that He says to us.

Perhaps this was what God was implying to Adam and Eve, when he told them to "dress and keep the garden." Could it possibly be that He was instructing them to guard the ‘garden’ of their own spirit?

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [Emphasis added]

It’s quite interesting to take a look at the definition for this word "keep" in this particular Scripture:

08104 keep.gif (1007 bytes) shaw-mar’
a primitive root; verb
AV-keep 283, observe 46, heed 35, keeper 28, preserve 21, beware 9, mark 8, watchman 8, wait 7, watch 7, regard 5, save 2, misc 9; used 468 times
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to keep, have charge of
1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
1a2a) watch, watchman (participle)
1a3) to watch for, wait for
1a4) to watch, observe
1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands),            perform (vow)
1a8) to keep, preserve, protect
1a9) to keep, reserve

1b) (Niphal)

1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware
1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
1b3) to be kept, be guarded

1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from

Please note the definitions that have been italicized above.

In a Jewish tract [Pirke Eliezer, c. 2. fol. 72. 2.] , it is said, that his work in the garden was nothing else but to study in the words of the Torah [teaching or law], and to keep or observe the way of the tree of life: and to this agree the Targums of Jonathan and of Jerusalem.

Also note the meaning of the word "dress":

05647 serve.gif (969 bytes) aw-bad’
a primitive root; verb
AV-serve 227, do 15, till 9, servant 5, work 5, worshippers 5, service 4, dress 2, labour 2, ear 2, misc 14; used 290 times

1) to work, serve

1a) (Qal)
1a1) to labour, work, do work
1a2) to work for another, serve another by labour
1a3) to serve as subjects
1a4) to serve (God)
1a5) to serve (with Levitical service)

1b) (Niphal)

1b1) to be worked, be tilled (of land)
1b2) to make oneself a servant

1c) (Pual) to be worked
1d) (Hiphil)

1d1) to compel to labour or work, cause to labour, cause to serve
1d2) to cause to serve as subjects

1e) (Hophal) to be led or enticed to serve

Do the meanings of the word ‘dress’ and ‘keep’ take on the same nuance as the fruit of the spirit that we began with?

It seems quite tenable that to "dress" the garden of his spirit [by Adam] was a service to God, and it should be for us also. Do we labor to serve God? Certainly we do, since we are continually striving to have our spirit be subject to Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit of God. Just as the sequence of this Scripture states, we should ‘dress’ [labor to serve God] and ‘keep’ [protect and guard] our spirit, as our spirit serves as the ‘garden’ for which God has given us responsibility.

May this study stir you, and provoke you to study His Word for yourself, so that you may stand before Him unashamed, and hear – "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," that you may enter into His joy.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

As a closing thought, please keep your heart sincere before God, as He will search your heart and look into every nook and cranny of it, and He will see what your intent and purpose is in all things:

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. [Emphasis added]

The Greek word for sincerity is Strong’s #1505 judge.gif (1190 bytes) [heilikrineia] i-lik-ree’-ni-ah, and is a derivative of the combination word heilikrines, formed from heile (the sun's ray) and krino (to judge). The literal meaning communicates, to be judged by sunlight, meaning, tested as genuine, and figuratively used as pure and sincere.

Heilikrineia alludes to the Oriental bazaars where pottery was displayed in dimly lit rooms or tents. Dishonest dealers would use tinted wax to camouflage any chips, cracks or defects in their wares. A discerning buyer would hold any prospective purchase up to the sun and thereby judge its quality, as the sun’s rays would expose any hidden defects. Heilikrineia describes a person who is genuine and is not governed by any hidden motives or intents.

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

Humbly submitted for the edification of the saints by Anna L. Schwery
  2001,Yad b’Yad Ministries
Questions or comments on this article? Contact the author.

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