Since becoming a father last year, I have learned a great deal about what it means to share. I often tell people there are three BIG things I learned when I became a dad: I was/am a very selfish person; I miss my wife; and I had no idea the extent of God’s love for us as our perfect Heavenly Father. There have also been several smaller lessons learned. For example, it seems that my daughter has inherited my selfishness! While she is very loving and enjoys giving things to people, especially her shoes and socks, she very quickly learned the concept of “MINE!” Teaching her to share was easy at first, but with each passing day, it is taking her longer and longer to give something to someone else. For adults, this is also the case. We are selfish with our love, forgiveness, money, patience, time, and just about anything else we want to keep. Through His Word, God encourages us to “keep” seven things.
First, we are to keep pure. 1 Timothy 5:22 tells us to “not share in the sins of others.” In order to stay pure, we must avoid sin. This means not being dragged into the sin of others. God has established his standard of purity and it can be found in the moral code in the Bible.
Second, we are to keep ourselves unpolluted by the world. James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” There are things in this world that will pollute our life, we must keep away from them. These are things that the world may find to be okay. There are the big items such as adultery and pornography, but also the little things like gossip, worry, and unrepentance. The world may be able to look the other way (or condone them), but God cannot. Christians are called to live a life of purity and remain unpolluted.
Third, we must keep the commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). Jesus has given His followers clear commands of what kind of behavior is acceptable and what kind is not. This is why it is so important to read and understand the Bible, all of it, to know what commands Christ is talking about.
Fourth, we are to keep the Word. This is similar to the third encouragement. John 14:23-24 says “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Fifth, we are to keep the faith. At the end of his life, Paul looked back and said this, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul stayed true to what he believed about Christ, even though he faced trial after trial. Christian, we will be tested in this life, will you keep the faith?
Sixth, we are to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This means we have a biblical, Christ-centered worldview. Everything we think, say, do, or feel is filtered through God’s Word. The Bible, not culture, not man, not even your pastor, is the standard for right living and right belief.
Finally, we are to keep unity in the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:3 says “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
The Bible also instructs us to keep away from two things: idols (1 John 5:21) and evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3). This will be a topic in the future.
Much like I am trying to teach my daughter how to share, I also need to be teaching her there are things that are acceptable to keep. The things we are instructed by Scripture to keep are of eternal value.
This is adapted from my ministerial reflection that was first published in The Chappell Register on July 23, 2015. This blog also contains material from Motivating with Scripture by John Regier. Used with permission.