Garden of the Cross
After preparing yourself for this spiritual journey and transitioning from the world to God, your first visit is to the cross. Jesus, who knew no sin,
became sin for us so that we are no longer held hostage by self-centeredness, fear, unresolved grief, unhealthy desires, anger, insecurities, and false
motivations (2 Cor. 5:21). When you look at the cross, give your past sinful choices over to Him and allow Him to replace them with new hope.
Remember God’s words: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9
NIV). As you leave this garden, accept that He has already forgiven you.
Garden of Thanksgiving
A natural expression of thanksgiving and praise springs forth as we leave our burden of sin behind us (1 Chron. 16:34). Spend time rejoicing over
what God has done for you in the past, what He is currently doing, and what He will do in the future. God doesn’t need praise, although He is worthy
of it. It is we who need to praise God in order to accept the powerful reality that He is constantly here for us. It is our act of thanksgiving and worship
that builds up our strength for the spiritual challenges ahead. What do you experience gratitude for?
Garden of Identity
Worshipping and expressing thanksgiving for Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross leads us to consider a powerful paradigm shift: Do we define ourselves,
or does God? Jesus confronted our prideful tendencies when He said, “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last” (Matt.
20:16 NIRV). He challenged the normal pecking order and social status we humans view each other by. As you redefine yourself through Him, take in
the beauty of who God created you to be. Notice the amazing freedom in how He views you. Look at the words that God uses to define you. Which
ones encourage you to view yourself as He does?