I’ve talked about being a garden at length. This particular reality is what drives Song Lifestyle. The life on the inside is so precious, so extravagant. Our insides are bigger than our outsides. There are entire cities inside our bellies! There are angels and men wearing crowns who are throwing them at Jesus’ feet in there! There’s a whole lot of wild wild whack in there!
Song of Songs 4 is by far the most romantic chapter in the entire Bible. It’s my favorite chapter found anywhere in all of scripture. In chapter four the king is telling the Shulamite exactly what he thinks of her, and he’s laying it on thick!
“My darling bride, my private paradise, fastened to my heart. A secret spring are you that no one else can have–my bubbling fountain hidden from public view. What a perfect partner to me, now that I have you (Song of Songs 4:12 Passion Translation).”
And then later on in the same chapter, the King tells the Shulamite, “I have come to you, my darling bride, for you are my paradise garden!”
Our Hidden Place of Love
There is a garden on the inside that is such a special, secret place. It’s a place no one else on earth has access to. My wife doesn’t have access to this secret garden, and we share everything! Marriage is a mirror of our relationship with Jesus and still my wife cannot access the secret place, the garden within me. This is because it’s meant for me and the Lover….only. Our garden within is the place we get to go and enjoy Mr. Delightful. It’s a forest of delight–a wooded area of Heavenly Pleasures where I get to enjoy God in the most righteous levels of Christian hedonism imaginable. It’s the place where Jesus offers me His cup and tells me to drink and be satisfied. I am undone there and go on ecstatical adventures in Him. I enter into His heart and find myself on the inside of the inside–I’m in the secret place and have been swallowed up by the Lover and am inside Him. I’m hidden in Love. You have a secret place located on the inside of you too! The mystery of Heaven is that Christ died, removing the sin of the world, and made his home on the inside of you! We see this reality spread across the New Testament: Ephesians 3:17; Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7; Galatians 2:20, etc…
You are a private paradise, a garden locked up, a secret garden. It’s there that is only meant for you and Him!
Marriage as an Illustration
Paul, in Ephesians 5, gives an example of the mystery of marriage being an illustration of Christ and the Church.
Jesus is our heavenly husband. He’s the Bridegroom we find ourselves lovesick for. Just as a man and woman are in union with one another, we are in union with Christ. A man and a woman marry and consummate their love and life springs forth, so it is with our Christian marriage to Jesus. Jesus comes and lives on the inside and life grows and flourishes.
Just as you’d guard your marriage, not allowing another to come defile your marriage bed, so do you guard your vineyard or garden. The Shulamite tells us plainly that she didn’t guard her vineyard within (SoS 1:6).
Guard Your Vineyard
I want to offer some encouragement about sustaining this supernatural atmosphere. Don’t confuse the word sustain with the word work. It is necessary, however, to steward His presence, something I’ve learned from a book by Bill Johnson: Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda.
We must guard ourselves from letting anything or anyone into our vineyard that will erode the good work being done. Song of Songs has an excellent example. The Shulamite is feeling overwhelmed in SoS 1:6. The King has just told her how wonderful she is, but she’s looking at herself and at how dark she is and tries to explain. “My angry brothers quarreled with me and appointed me guardian of their ministry vineyards. Yet I’ve not guarded my vineyard within.”
We must not allow ministry work or anything else get in the way of our romance with the King of Kings. It is up to us to guard ourselves from those things that would take away our focus from Him. It’s time Christ Followers start learning how to say no sometimes. Doing the work of ministry is good, helping people is good, taking on responsibility at work is also good. However, if it’s something that’s going to take away your time with Him, it’s no longer good. You can’t be of service to anyone unless you’ve had time to get boozy with Jesus. You need to allow yourself time in the “house of wine” and time to be revived with His goblet of wine (SoS 2:4). Let yourself get completely and undoubtedly lovesick with Him (SoS2:4).
I hope you connect with God in a private and intimate place of rest and glory this week. Go to the secret place with God and enjoy one another in the bliss of salvation!