Copyright Joe Dallas Used by Permission
“You who are kept by the power of God — “ I Peter 1:5
I was baptized 40 years ago this month, then served God fervently for 7 years, spent the next 6 backslidden, then came home to my Father’s house in 1984 where I’ve happily resided since. 40 years, 34 of them lived in consistency.
That’s not what I call impressive, especially by normal standards. But for me, even 2 years of going in the same direction is miraculous. Consistency’s not my style. “Great Start; Poor Finish” would go nicely on my tombstone, as countless books, diets and projects that were started then discarded can attest to. I mean well, if that counts for anything, but it doesn’t, so never mind. The point is, if I have been consistent in anything, much less something as critical as living a life separated to God, that’s one of the Red Sea parting, manna falling, sun standing still-type miracles. And those are God’s department.
So said Peter. “Kept by the power of God”, he notes, describing us. And he chose an interesting word for kept – phroureo, which references, according to Strong’s concordance:
“To protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight.”
You gotta love that. You and I are kept two ways – hostile invaders are kept out and, if our own rebellion makes it necessary, we are kept in.
My military guard keeps watch for countless invaders trying to trip me up. Wanna tempt me, discourage me, attack me? Talk to the guards; you have to go through them first. I’m kept.
They can get pretty aggressive with me as well. Wanna run, Joe? Escape your responsibilities? Step outside the prescribed boundaries? Sorry Sir, we have orders. Stubborn, those boys. They’ll keep me whether I’m screaming for help, or kicking and screaming. Either way, I’m kept.
I won’t wade into the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate here, since it’s an issue I haven’t fully settled myself. I do know that I have free will, and much of my life is determined by how I use it. But if free will alone determined whether or not I’d serve God, faithfully and with longevity, then I also know hands down that my stats would look awfully different than they do today. So while I’m not sure whether you’re in or out of God’s grace apart from any choice of your own, I do know this: You’re foreknown (Romans 8:29) you’re chosen (John 15:16) you’re tenaciously held by Christ (John 10:28) and you’re kept. That much we can all joyfully agree on.
I don’t get it, but I’ll revel in it, and I know I’m not reveling alone. Have a great day. Nice being kept with you. Say hi to the guards for me.