PROMISES OF GOD - DO WE UNDERSTAND?
The Scriptures are full of promises concerning the guarding or keeping power of God.
All those who follow Jesus know the preciousness of the truth as conveyed in the following verses: "Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, "I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him." "The Lord is faithful who shall establish you and guard you from the evil one." And "he that keepeth thee will not slumber, behold he that keepeth Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."
There was a time in the life of each of us when these verses meant nothing to us. We were blind to the deceitfulness of sin and self. We were oblivious to the tremendous spiritual forces that are arrayed to destroy the souls of men. Now, however, being the children of God through faith in Christ, we begin to realize that we have enemies in both the seen and the unseen world, and that many weapons have been formed against us!
POWER OF GOD IS NO MERE PIOUS PHRASE!
Just as a man seeing the wretchedness and guilt of his own heart appreciates and appropriates the deliverance of the Cross, so also the one who has been assailed with temptation or accusations begins to realize that the keeping power of God is no mere "pious" phrase but a deep and daily necessity.
Especially is this true of those who have chosen to be overcomers in their every day life. In Rev. 12, where we have the account of the sun-clad woman, we read that she "was with child, and she crieth out. Travailing in birth and in pain to be delivered.
And there was seen another sign in heaven, and behold, a great red dragon, the devil)...and the dragon standeth before the woman that is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered, he may devour her child. And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron..." We are told who this man-child is, (Rev. 12:26) He that overcometh...will I give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.
The overcomers shall reign with Christ. By these Scriptures we understand how the devil is seeking to devour those who are standing on Calvary's ground of victory. How do We overcome the evil one? By faith in the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony! Kept by the power of God through faith!
FORGIVENESS IS THE BEGINNING OF OUR CONFIDENCE!
When we consider the power of our Lord to keep us, we mean something more than being kept faithful to the teaching of the Christian faith or in the profession of some past experience of grace. The keeping faithfulness of God means something more than being kept in an experience of daily confession and forgiveness. The precious gift of forgiveness is the very beginning of our confidence, the groundwork of grace.
THE KEEPING POWER OF GOD
This keeping power of God includes more than being kept from outbreaks of temper, pride, anger, criticism, impurity, gossip or any other ungodly sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ can keep us from all of these and much more. "God is able to guard us from stumbling and to set us before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy." Jude 24
He is able to keep us inwardly as well as outwardly. In Phil.4:6-7 the Apostle Paul declares that those who commit the in selves to Christ will have God's peace as the guard of their minds and of the deepest recesses of their hearts. Out of the heart of man are the very issues of life. How wonderful to know that God can and will guard and control the hearts of His believing children.
ISRAEL'S DEFEAT AND THE LESSON
In this connection we can profit by the story of Israel's defeat at Ai (Josh. 7). God had promised Israel victory and protection in all their battles. He had promised to garrison Israel with His own presence. After the victory over Jericho, Israel met an unexpected defeat at Ai.
Joshua was disturbed and bewildered. Had God forgotten to be gracious? Joshua and the children of Israel soon discovered the reason for their defeat. Sin had entered into the camp through Achan who had coveted and taken some articles from Jericho that were under the curse of God. The garrison of God's favors temporarily left Israel.
The lesson is plain. God will not guard the mind and heart of one who has an "Achan" within. Any unconfessed thoughts of pride, impurity, anxiety or criticism within may hinder God from guarding with His peace. The garrison with which God protects our hearts is to keep out sin and not to keep it in.
GOD LOVES TO KEEP AND PROTECT A PURE HEART
We are responsible through the grace of Christ to think on those things that are clean and right and to the glory of God. A pure heart is the heart that God loves to keep and protect, but if there is an "Achan" within, all our prayers for peace and comfort will never come to fruition until we, like Israel of old, condemn and put away the cause of our trouble.
Too often among Christians anxiety and criticism are the "Achans" that disturb and hinder the garrison of God's peace. Oswald Chambers commenting on the verse "Judge not lest ye be judged" says." If criticism becomes a habit it will destroy the moral energy of the life and paralyze spiritual force." The same might be said of anxiety. Praise God, there is deliverance from both if we will drag these "Achans" out in the open and call them sin and believe they are cleansed away in the blood of Jesus!
THE KEEPING POWER OF GOD IS FOR THE WHOLE MAN
The keeping power of God is for the whole man. The Bible declares that "He will give you stability and protection against all that is evil. "(Phillips trans. II Thess. 3:3) He has made provision to keep not a part of our personality but the whole of it. He will guard the energy and the vision of our spirits, the harmony in our souls, and the health of our bodies.
Paul says as much in I Thess. 5:22-24. "Abstain from every form of evil and the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserve entirely without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it." This gives great assurance as we serve, follow, and praise our Lord and Savior.
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