Acts 20:31 “So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”
For 3 years Paul was on high alert, he never rested from doing all he could to protect the church. Last night I watched a documentary on television of a house being built just down the road from my office. The house was built on the side of a hill. The architect and the builders were not only thinking of its design and appearance. They factored in to their plans its protection from several possible dangers. In fact at the start of the project, several builders refused to build it because of the complications.
If you could describe your life as a house, how are you building it so that it will last?
You may be reading this and you may feel your best years of building are over. That may be true, but so long as you are here, you are still building your life or wasting it. So, are you thinking of how to protect what you have built?
A few days ago I saw on social media a brief clip of Joel Osteen’s sermon post hurricane in his church in Texas. In the clip he explained how in 2001 when the church bought the building it had a reputation for flooding so they installed a flood defence all around the building. Wise move.
It would seem Paul with the Ephesians is only stating a value in his life: ‘Guard what you have built’. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
So how do we protect our lives? Here are 6 things we definitely need to build with from the sayings of Paul.
1. Through prayer:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
2. With the help of the Holy Spirit:
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14
3. Desire the peace of God:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
4. Take responsibility for your life:
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 1 Timothy 6:20
5. Be careful who you associate with:
(Referring to a man called Alexander) … You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. 2 Timothy 4:15
6. The finishing line is Jesus:
So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
These are the kind of things Paul would be warning us in taking care of our lives.
The house on the ‘Grand Designs’ programme last night was appropriately named ‘Endeavour’!
Let your endeavour be to build a life that doesn’t collapse, that is not robbed of purpose by an enemy and whose structure is continually resting on God. Be on your guard.