To own something is to acknowledge it as one’s own; recognized as having full claim, authority, power, dominion… even to have or hold as one’s own; to possess. Now… how one came about the ownership does not change the ownership, itself. Don’t let the two intertwine, for now.
The garden was given to man as a ‘rectangle of control’; a world in which were rules, guidelines, and established systems. Man did not make the garden, nor anything that was in it. He was placed there to ‘dress it’ and care for it… coincidentally, it was a meeting place for God, too. Man was given full and direct charge over that garden and EVERYTHING in it.
It’s Not My Job
How often have we heard those famous words, “It’s not my job”? Typically, someone looking to dodge any liability, any responsibility, or any solution to a problem… basically just washing their hands of the issue. Owning something in this life can take on so many flavors… so many variations… so very many facets. There is no one-rule-applies-to-all way to help explain it all… no simple, two-sentence outline we can use. Instead, look at it from within your character… from within your very reputation… your very being, as it were.
Liability: Ones ability to lie about their responsibility in a matter.g.w.bill.elliott.jr
The basics are that God actually informed Adam that his purpose for being in the Garden was to “dress and keep it”… many would twist that to mean that he was just being assigned as Chief Gardener over it all. But, the wording in the original means much more than that… and that ends up being a fork-in-the-road for those ready and willing to skirt a responsibility… to shy away from the tougher things in life.
As noted at the beginning, owning something entails responsibility, possession, and certainly control (dominion). One of the key elements and traits in a maturing life is their ownership of their life… both the things in it (tangible), their attitude and character (personality), and even their emotional and spiritual traits, too.
Again though, these areas of our lives is where we too often dodge responsibility, let alone even addressing that they are there. See… all-too-quickly, we make a determination about a value, or worth regarding ‘ownership’ of a thing in our lives. Sure, we have traits and habits that are ingrained in us from life experiences, from genetics, even from training (however direct or subliminal it may have been). Getting to a place in your life where you begin ‘owning’ it’s pieces… begin adapting a “I am responsible for this” posture… begin assessing a certain ‘thing’ in your life and not only recognizing it is yours (a habit, say), but beginning to ‘dress it and keep it’, as the Bible referenced.
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
The key show-stopper for so many of us is how daunting a task it seems to “get a hold of your life”… to get control… to make a change. One of the biggest troubles I ever have with ‘getting a grip’ on things in my life… I get overwhelmed with the big-picture part of it… with the “Oh man… there is SO much work there” stuff… with the “this will take forever” part of all of it. I just tend to not even try due to what appears to be an overwhelming and daunting task.
This is not a self-helps guide to improving your life… this is not some formula I devised to help you succeed with the life God has before you… not some “you go get ’em, champ” cheering session, either. In those simple words God said to Adam. Genesis 2:15 states, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. ” It is these few words that God shared with Adam that we can now revisit as His very direction for us over the ‘garden’ of our lives. God has placed you here on this earth… He has a plan… He has a purpose… the key element though, is that YOU take ownership of your very being. No… not avoid God… not “go it alone”… not even “I’ll check-in with God when needed”, at all.
See… Psalms 119:133 states; “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”, which helps clarify how important it is that we keep in close contact with the Lord. “Order my steps” indicates this is a one-step-at-a-time process! That odd word ‘iniquity’ is thrown in there too, to help be sure how/where this applies… it typically means, “a violation of right or duty”. We are to have dominion over ‘our garden’, and not let iniquity have dominion over us.
All Well ‘n Good
Now for the ‘how’ part… so far, this is all been well and good and should have that “yea, this kinda makes sense” realization for you…. now for the how part! Notice though… not the hard part… rather, the how part. Owning your world is ALL about the littler things first. Get a handle on smaller things in your life first. Balancing the smaller pieces… managing the littler issues… shaping them into your life how you want them, then “lather, rinse, repeat” as the saying goes.
We are complicated humans… we have so many facets… so many variations… so many little pieces that make up the whole. It is those pieces where we begin and actually work.
Think of your life like the honeycomb of a beehive… there are many, many cells that make up that entire hive… many! There are many, many, MANY bees who work on that hive… who work on each individual cell in that honeycomb. You are one lonely soul facing a huge honeycomb of ‘things’ in your life… a huge, huge myriad of issues… of troubles… of wins and losses… even a whole collection of cells in that honeycomb of your life that have never even been explored… never even been tended to… never even been ‘dressed and kept’ (as the scriptures say).
Here is a quick, sample list of some areas of your life to which you can give your attention… to hand up to the Lord and asking Him to lead you, to guide you, to give you the hope, wisdom, and strength to ‘dress it and keep it’.
- Make your bed
- Your driving habits/technique
- The Kitchen
- Your health (smoking, exercise, diet, etc)
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalms 119:133
This passage of Psalms 119:133 begins with ‘order my steps’, which is key for us to review… to consider. See… waiting on the Lord takes on this very posture… this very characteristic… we ask Him to lead us… we ask Him to guide us… we wait on Him to order our very steps… the steps it takes to dress and keep this one little ‘cell’ in the honeycomb ‘mess’ we call our lives! As a whole, the honeycomb may seem overwhelming and way too much to take on… way too much to even know where to begin… way too much and way ‘too far gone’ to even think there is any salvageable hope of getting it back in shape.
Therein is the beauty of taking the little pieces… the parts of your life… the sections of that messy honeycomb and working with the Lord on dressing it… tending to it… getting it resolved and keeping it that way! As I shared earlier… tackling one little piece of your life in this way sets the stage for such a wonderful transformation in your life… in several ways;
- Quick win with a smaller, easier piece of your life (make the bed, clean the kitchen, your desktop, etc)
- You have frequent experience listening and following the Lord’s leading.
- A pattern begins to develop and all this lather, rinse, repeat stuff becomes rather second-nature and you no longer fear tackling the bigger items in your life.
It is by God’s grace that we even have the strength to handle all this… back when God put Adam in the garden ‘to dress and keep it‘, even then it was by the grace of God that he would succeed. We don’t know just how large that original garden was… we don’t know the dimensions, nor just how really full it was. When it was handed to Adam, it was perfect in every way.
Now however, not-so-much, right! Our lives are messy… they are ugly… the are complicated… they are scarred… they are even amputated and deformed from the collateral damage. But… we are NOT defeated in this work… we are not left hopeless… we are not left without God’s grace to lead us, to guide us, to provide the strength to dress it and keep it, going forward. Back on that fateful day with Adam and Even in the garden, sin had dominion… disobedience and lack of trust in God caused that fall. But, Romans 6:14 encourages us with “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”, which is to say that God’s grace will give you the tools to tackle the honeycomb mess of your life.
“For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.” Deuteronomy 15:6
Earlier, that sample list I provided was quite simple… rather mundane/shallow… you may even read those items and acknowledge that you already have those areas of your life in a pretty good place. This whole writing is to help you explore other areas of your life…. other cells of your honeycomb-life… exploring some deeper and more complicated issues.
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2
Again, an initial assessment (say, for an addiction) may just overwhelm you. Please, please, please remember to NOT ‘daisy-chain’ your honeycomb cells together. I mean… too often, we don’t even want to START trying to tackle a problem (say, clean the garage) because we see SO much work there;
- The broken-down, dust-covered car needs to be sold or repaired.
- The bicycles have flats.
- The Christmas decorations are piled on top of the gardening equipment.
- That freezer in the corner has a whole stack of newspapers on it.
But, that is RIGHT where you take these pieces and just tackle them separately from each other. “Cleaning up the garage” is the big-picture result. In many ways, our personality problems are identical… our spiritual issues are identical… there is SO much clutter in our lives.. so many facets… so many pieces… it is just easier to leave the garage-door of our lives closed and “don’t even go there”, as it were.
The key part of our lives… the “coulda hada pear” part of our lives… is that we no longer surrender to sin. We no longer disobey the leading of God. We no longer shirk our God-given responsibility to ‘dress it and to keep’ the life God has for us. It is the world that the Lord has given us… Own It!