Through Christ I am now a new creation of God, and He, by the Holy Spirit, has a special place inside my soul. Like no other “god” could have done, He made my spirit alive so that now I am free from His condemnation and I am no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:6; John 8:34)
14 For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity]. – Hebrews 10: verse 14
Read more about “complete cancellation of the penalty of these things“: Hebrews 10:14-18
There truly is no other God, but merely counterfeit “gods”, idols and demons, set-up by Satan to lure folk away from the only true God, the mysterious Almighty triune three in one — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See: Matthew 28:19; Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7;
There is nothing automatic in my soul, however. My will always comes into play, multiple times every hour. I am no android, after all. Moment by moment I must choose righteousness. I have options (to sin; to not sin). My desire moves me. And my desire is Christ. I choose to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. My focus is: living for Him.
The world, the flesh, the Devil. The “ruler of this world”, Satan, has the world pretty much wrapped up and buzzing for his evil designs. That’s kind of easy to see whenever I see “real news or fake news”. Satan is having his time here on earth. Make no mistake about that.
1 Peter 5:8
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Add to that my flesh, my natural inclinations… and it’s easy to see that life here is not a simple walk through the park of Eden. Never has been since the apple of Eve, the Fall of man. I must guard my heart, I must guard my willfulness, I must guard against the sins that easily beset me, I must guard against the desire of my heart. I must guard my steps. I must be watchful over how I “do life” (Ephesians 4:17-32) or righteousness will be quite sporadic, a distant ideal, pie-in-the-sky by-and-by.
I want to be a more righteous man – now. (I refuse to wait until I get to Heaven.) So I guard my soul. I celebrate victories, and I settle failures quickly. (Well, I aim to anyway.)
Guarding My Soul. The following passage in Hebrews shows us what a well-guarded Christian life does regularly.
Let’s look at this, phrase-by-phrase. (Complete text is found at end of article).
What a well-guarded Christian life does regularly
Hebrews 10:19-22 “19 Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus, 20 by this new and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the veil [as in the Holy of Holies], that is, through His flesh, 21 and since we have a great and wonderful Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, 22 let us approach [God] “
“Approach God.” The setting for guarding my soul – is my truly amazing status before God Almighty. Because I have been made a true child of His (John 1:12; Romans 8:15) — I can approach Him! I have “[absolute] forgiveness and complete cancellation of the penalty” for sin (v18).
My “status” is stamped “forgiven”. My entrance into heaven is already granted. It is secure by the strength of our unchanging faithful God.
We who follow Him are secure in Him, forever forgiven, sealed as a guarantee by God the Holy Spirit. Since our salvation has given us “confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells]” (v19), and since Christ is “ a great and wonderful Priest (v21) [Who rules] over the house of God” — we can always, frequently, “approach God” (v22).
I “approach God” by faith, through grace, with confidence — through prayer. Through prayer I enter right into His gates “with thanksgiving”. I enter right into His courts “with praise”. I “give thanks to Him” and “bless His name.” I make it a point on Sundays and other times to “Come before Him with joyful singing” (Psalm 100:2).
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
This is what I do to guard my soul.
1. 22 “let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith,” (v22)
Just as I (we) gained salvation by coming to God “with a true and sincere heart” (v22), so I (we) pray, approaching God in confidence, consciously placing total faith in Him, expressing my doubts and casting them aside, nothing held back, no qualms – no reservations: unqualified. My faith in Him must be “in truth”, a “true heart”. And it must be “sincere”. No phony baloney. (See other passages with “sincere heart”: Biblegateway.com Quicksearch).
The Old Testament now serves us as a lesson book about God. It came to us directly from God through His prophets (“God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] “), full of lessons applicable to me today (“for training in righteousness“).
It’s sort of one of those idiot books: The Complete Idiot’s Guide To: How God Operates Nowadays. It’s like one of those Basics For Dummies books: Living For Jesus Basics for Dummies. All the Bible is apt for guiding me. Anyone is an idiot if he/she really really wants to NOT do something… and quick as a switch goes right ahead and does it anyway! “Oh wretched man that I am…” (Romans 7:24). Read Romans 7:14-25.”)
2 Timothy 3:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage];
An example of this is how God used Pharaoh – to show us today how He, in Heaven, can move powerfully on earth – for His own purposes.
“Hear this, O house of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel
And who come from the seed of Judah,
You who swear [allegiance] by the name of the Lord
And invoke the God of Israel,
But not in truth (sincerity)
nor in righteousness [with moral and spiritual integrity].
This is our [reason for] proud confidence: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world [in general], and especially toward you, with pure motives and godly sincerity, not in human wisdom, but in the grace of God [that is, His gracious lovingkindness that leads people to Christ and spiritual maturity].
2. “having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (v22)
This is where prayer should start: with confession of sin. Get rid of a damning conscience by confession.
I don’t just “sweep it under the rug” and go on as if I never was guilty of that. I regularly acknowledge to God my specific sins.
I express that I am unable to live His perfect life in my own strength, and I ask that He fill me with His Spirit and His power. Even in the midst of my failure, my sin, He knows my thoughts and intents, and sincere anguish over my failure. And He forgives me of my sin and restores my soul. This restores broken relationship.
Sins Unconfessed Break-off Relationship. I have been forgiven forever. All my sins, past, present, future — were forgiven in the moment I accepted Him as Savior and Lord. But “un-dealt-with” sins breakdown our relationship with God. So confession then restores relationship.
I confess my sins as He brings them to my mind, as I am convicted of wrong. I confess and He makes my “conscience” clean. I am washed anew by his “pure water” – by confessing sin to Him. I often pray:
Oh my God Jesus, I was wrong to do this (…). I acknowledge that I am so totally unable to live Your perfect life, without Your strength. I need you.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.
Fill me anew with your Holy Spirit – so that I can walk with confidence and with love for others.
You answered me;
And You made me bold
with [renewed] strength in my life.
3. 23 “Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering,“
Reading in the Bible, I understand my faith better. I can then stand strong more easily “without wavering”. An unread Bible shows an uneasy faith.
“Don’t be a wimp.” Instead, “seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering.” Know your faith well — so you know what to grab onto tightly when the bad times roll in with crashing, crushing storm waves.
4. “for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word];“
Living the Good Life. I periodically encourage myself with Ephesians 2:10. I build myself up, and acknowledge anew with God, thanking Him that – He chose me to follow Him for His purposes. I can totally rely on Him to complete in me what His word promises. I thank God that I am not in this by myself:
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
5. 24 “and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds,“
Have you ever put a lot of thought into this: How can I encourage [so-and-so] to love others more, and to actually “do good deeds” for others?
Make it an “I can do this” project. Determine for yourself that YOU will be encouraging to those around you throughout the day. Pick-out [so-and-so] and think carefully: Why is he so discouraged all the time? What can I say, specifically, that will be an encouragement?
6. 25 “not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some,“
Is anyone affected negatively by you NOT going to church? We each have gifts to act on — for the good of other believers or those who as yet have not decided to follow Jesus. Replacing church time with “something else…” is so easy to do, and soon comes to be a habit.
7. “but encouraging one another;“
The implication here is that participating in church life, for worship and instruction, is an integral part of being an encouragement to others. Going to church is not just for yourself!
8. “and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.“
Scriptures warn us of the imminent return of Christ. Time will be no more — once He returns, at least for us who are taken up to Heaven. This imminence should motivate us to reschedule our other pursuits to any day other than when we do church — so that we can encourage others in the faith.
So that is what a well-guarded Christian life does regularly. I want the graph of my spiritual life to always be angling upward. So I am paying attention to what I’m seeing in my life — and listening for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit to move it that way.
That’s why I listen to Christian radio a lot. Some folk like listening to audio tapes, or put a bug in their ear to listen to inspiring Christian music. Some folk come back again and again to peruse Christian content — like what omgJesus provides 🙂
Like picking out the best apples in the grocery store pile, we do not choose what’s rotten and evil to be in our life – on purpose. But it happens. Bad things happen to us all. And sometimes our old nature slips us a slippery slope, and we slip-up. We fail. Every so often, or more, depending on our maturing spiritual life at the time… we find our choice was rotten to the core. But we need to recover and get on with living for the Lord in righteousness, in truth and sincerity. And choose aright. This is the Christian life of victory in Christ.
Romans 7: 21-25
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Colossians 1:9-12 Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things],
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts];
11 [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.
Hebrews 10:22-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; 24 and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.
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