This world is a vast orchard, filled with all variety of fruit bearing trees. But itâ€™s an orchard whose tenants are an unruly and greedy lot. The trees are laden with abundant blessings. The inhabitants, however, continue to harvest the fruits well before theyâ€™re ripe.
They canâ€™t seem to help it. As soon as they see the fruit emerge from flower, they rush to snatch it before someone else does. They gobble it down even though the fruit is hard, dry, and bitter.
This is man without the self-control which arises from the regenerating grace of the Spirit. It isnâ€™t that the blessings on the trees are to blame. God placed them there for our enjoyment. Sleep, exercise, food & drink, sex, song, humor, art, architecture, and a million other good things were put upon this earthâ€“â€“like fruit in an orchardâ€“â€“by God Himself. It is manâ€™s unrestrained desire which receives them wrongly both in time and manner. We reach for the fruit prematurely, and we reach for it from a heart of envy, lust, greed, and covetousness. We reach because we have no self-control.
Parents of children often admonish their children to self-control, as they should. But self-control isnâ€™t merely abstaining from foolish behavior. It is supplanting unrestrained desires with desires born from above. Instead of being steered by the impulses of our sinful desire, the twice born man is steered by the Word of God.
Self-control allows us to inhabit this orchard as husbandmen of the blessings God has filled it with. To flip the metaphor around, when God converts us He begins to ripen us for the fruit Heâ€™s prepared for us. He ripens us by restraining our carnal desires, and in so doing ensures that we enjoy His blessings at their ripest.
What misery has filled this world all because we wouldnâ€™t have our lusts restrained by God’s Word. Instead weâ€™ve corrupted ourselves and others by grasping for the blessings through avarice and envy. The premature fruits weâ€™ve partaken have rotted in our nationâ€™s belly. If we would but have the Holy Spirit restrain us, we would find that the blessings weâ€™ve hunted tirelessly for and only tasted in their unripe & bitter form, are placed in our hands ripe and whole. Instead of heeding our sinful desires, we must submit all our desires to the Word, and so receive true happiness, pleasure, joy, and delight from God’s hand.
Sin robs all the earthly joys of their pleasure. The only thing an unrestrained man, dead in his sins, can get is the bland husk of misery. Christ, however, calls you to come to Him, be washed in Him, and taste in Him the source of all the Joy.