Friday, March 23, 2012

Stir up, Retain, and Guard. Part 3.

“Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”  2 Timothy 1:14
What is this treasure?
In the passage above, we are called to guard the treasure which has been entrusted to us.  What is this treasure?  Is it money?  Is it success?  Is it our life?  No, the great treasure given to us is the Gospel message itself!  Paul was very concerned with Timothy holding fast to the teachings he had learned, and guarding them against false teaching.  Why was this so important?  Paul had a sense, a vision of the Gospel as a treasure which was being passed from one generation to the next, and he knew the price of that message becoming watered down, or polluted by secular thought.  His instruction to Timothy therefore, was to guard it through the Holy Spirit! 
On your mark, get set…Guard!
How do we guard though?  In his letter to the Philippians, 4:13 Paul wrote: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Similarly, he wrote to Timothy to draw upon the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit in guarding his treasure!  We guard on multiple fronts:  We strive to discern what is sound Biblical teaching and learn from teachers who “rightly divide the word.”  We take stock of the varied influences that affect our daily walk…the books we read, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the places we go and the company we keep.  Earlier in Philippians chapter 4, verses 8-9, Paul offered the following counsel: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  This too is guarding the treasure entrusted to us.
Guarding against what cannot be seen
We are remiss if we do not keep in mind that we are to guard against the attack of the Adversary.  Satan.  How do we do this?  Very simply, we resist.  Apathy, confusion, dissention, and other deceptions…these are but a few of the weapons the devil may use to cause our guard of the treasure to be let down.  As you have likely already discerned, many of the duties in guarding are battles fought in the mind.  Our spiritual opponent knows that we are vulnerable there to his suggestions and planted frustrations.  But how vulnerable are we really?  The evil of the opponent is not strong, but it is persistent.  His power is only that of suggestion.  Temptation.  Offering alternative truths.  Sowing seeds of doubt.  Satan is not too great an opponent, but we are inclined to believe that he is greater than we can endure.  This, however, is not true.  As 1 John 4:4 reads: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Resistance is NOT futile.  In fact, James instructs us in James 4:7 to: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 
Full Time Guards wanted. Inquire within.
Finally, it’s important to mention that guarding is not a part-time job.  We are to be ever on the watch.  We are to take the preservation and communication of the Gospel message very seriously, and commit to it for life.  As a baton in the relay of faith, once it is in our hand, we are to carry it faithfully for all of our days, taking care not to surrender or drop it.  Paul tried to emphasize to Timothy the seriousness of the task of guarding the treasure.  He wanted Timothy to get it.  I think he wants me to get it too.
Scripture to Claim: “'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:11

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