WE do the trusting, and the Lord does the keeping. We hold Him, because He holds us. We cannot trust without Him, and yet, if we do not trust, it is our, not His fault. Ralph Erskine sweetly says on this point-
“Mine arms embrace my God, yet I
Had never arms to reach so high;
His alone me holds, yet lo!
I hold, and will not let Him go.
“I do according to His call;
And yet not I, but He does all:
But though He works to will and do,
I without force work freely too.
“I take hold of His cov’nant free;
But find it must take hold of me.
I’m bound to keep it, yet ’tis bail
And bound to keep me without fail.”
Purity and Preservation. “Keep thy tongue from evil” (Psalm 34:13). “Keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). “All God’s commands are God’s enablings,” and in the first Scripture we have a command in reference to the tongue; it is a little member, but it may do a great deal of mischief. It is the little foxes that spoil the vine. It is a little leaven, that leavens the whole lump. It is the little back-bitings and evil speakings that do harm to our own souls as well as to others. Let us by a definite act surrender our tongue to the Lord that He may keep the door of our lips, thus our speech will always be with grace.
Patient and Possessed. “Keep thy heart with all diligence” (Prov. 4:23). “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Keep the heart patiently stayed upon the Lord, and He will keep in perfect rest, for perfect trust in the perfect keeping power of Christ brings perfect peace.
Prayer and Provision. “O keep my soul” (Psalm 25:20). “He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:11). We receive not because we ask not, and very often we ask and receive not, because we ask amiss; some known sin indulged in or unbelief will keep back the answer. There is provision for all our need in Christ. The soul has two hands, the empty hand of prayer, and the receiving hand of faith.
Practice and Promise. “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10). Christ has given us His word to keep, and we are to keep it at all costs; to keep it, and to be kept by it; to live it, and live by it; to preach it by life and lips; not to compromise or yield one iota. What God wants of us is faithfulness, even as a lady writing in the fly-leaf of a Bible given to an evangelist, said, “Do well, suffer for it, take it patiently, till you hear the Master’s well done.”
Power and Power. “Keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). “Kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5). The first is the power of a separate walk. “What is self-surrender?” asked a young lady recently. “It is the surrender of self,” was the reply, and it is only those who have surrendered themselves to Christ who know anything of His keeping, subduing, and sanctifying power.
Protected and Protection. “Keep My words” (John 14:23). “Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep,” &c. (Phil. 4:7). Obedience is the source of constant joy, implicit trust is the source of constant peace. If we would be protected from the wiles of the devil, and overcome him, we must keep the words of Christ, for Satan cannot stand before the charge, “It is written.” And if we would have our hearts and minds guarded as with a military guard, and thus have thorough protection, we must be careful for nothing, prayerful about everything, and thankful for anything, then the peace of God shall garrison and keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Privilege and Perseverance. “Able to keep” (2 Tim. 1:12). “That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost” (2 Tim. 1:14). “Keep yourself in the love of God” (Jude 21). God’s love has been perfected in our unworthiness, and His strength is perfected in our weakness. If we would know the power of God, we must trust Him; if we would know the guidance and power of the Spirit’s presence, we must recognise Him; if we would realize the warmth of God’s love, we must abide in Him.
Let us ever recognise the two sides of truth, for it is only as we keep ourselves in the power of God that we know His power to keep.