“For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55:12-13)If your life were a garden, what would it look like? Would it resemble a well-watered garden full of beautiful flowers and ripe produce, or would it be overgrown with weeds that choke out all other plants? Is your garden full of thorns and nettles; plants that are not only worthless to the farmer but are also capable of hurting those who draw near? Apart from Christ, we are nigh unto hopelessness to produce any useful fruit of our own, but Jesus wants to change all that. Jesus wants to transform our lives so that, instead of weeds, our lives will produce a garden full of the fruit of the Spirit. Such a transformation is not usually instantaneous, but rather is the result of a life spent in fellowship with the Father. While it may take some time, if we are faithful to keep pulling weeds, planting good seed, and watering the seed then, in time, our lives will yield a harvest. “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows -- how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.” (Mark 4:26-28).
This transformation of our lives is not solely for our own benefit, but it is also to be unto God as a memorial and a sign. It is God’s intention that our changes lives testify to the world of God and His unlimited power. God wants our lives to be a memorial of Him. The term for “memorial” can also be translated as “a name”. It speaks of an identifying mark, a mark of individuality. God wants to show the world that He is not just another god, or one of many gods, but that He is the God. He is the God of gods, King of Kings, creator of heaven and earth, and ruler over all He has made. When God does in our lives what no one else can do, then He demonstrates that He alone is God. God’s work in our lives is also for a sign to the world. The term for “sign” could also be translated as “flag”. God’s work in our lives is as a flag or banner over us by which other may come to understand the nature of God. “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4) By observing God’s goodness towards us, the world will come to know that God is a god of Love.
While there are aspects of our walk with God that are very private, there are other aspects that are meant to be seen by those around us. God does not intend that we should live our lives in secret or hidden in a corner somewhere. He wants us to shine before men, to live our lives “out loud,” that all may see and all may know. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)