My wife and I were in the kitchen working on dinner a little after six in the evening yesterday, when there was a knock at the front door. We have a double pane glass storm door in front of the metal door, so I normally keep the regular door open in order for the daylight to flood in through the storm door. At that time of day I supposed that it must have been one of our neighbors coming by to chat with us. Well… Fiver’s response to the individual at the door made it very apparent that it wasn’t someone that he was familiar with!
Our pooch normally has a deep resounding bark, but yesterday it was even deeper, very loud and very purposeful… When I came out of the kitchen the hair on the back of his neck was standing up straight and it was easy to see that he was definitely in protection mode! As I approached the door I had to hold back a laugh as there was a tall young man with a very startled look on his face literally backing down our front steps. Once I got near the dog and put my hand on his back he immediately calmed down. It turns out that the man at the door was selling roof repairs and wanted to do a free inspection after the hail storm we had last week.
I didn’t accept the offer, but took his card and got him to smile and relax as I told him that Fiver would have probably licked him to death. It was interesting though, that in the year that we have had him, I had never seen that side of him. It was kind of comforting to see what a good watchdog he is!
That incident reminded me of another side of Piper that I had never seen that occurred during the second year of our marriage. At that time we were managing the apartment buildings that we lived in and were responsible for collecting rent, building repairs, upkeep of the grounds, and the pool service. On this particular weekend I was adjusting the chemical balance of the pool when one of the tenants who lived right across from the pool entrance gate stepped out to chat with me… in her bikini! This gal was a few years older than me (I was 24 at the time) and was sort of a free-spirited, I guess you could say back in the mid-seventies in our liberal county in northern California, kind of a “hippie!”
I must admit that I was not attracted to her and was a bit uncomfortable standing alone with her in that skimpy outfit near the pool. Throughout the conversation I kept trying to get back to what I was doing, but she sought to pursue the encounter. Finally, from behind me a hand quietly, but very noticeably, slipped under my right arm… and my spunky little wife suddenly appeared at my side! I was NEVER so thankful to see my bundle of joy. Now, Piper was her normally charming self but she made it perfectly clear through her actions that I was HER property! The gal quickly ended our conversation and returned into her apartment. Piper helped me to finish my work and then walked with me back to our apartment. Once in the privacy of our home she let me know that she was just protecting our marriage and what the Lord had joined together. She was and has always been one to not allow anyone (or anything) to come between us. And that was the end of the conversation and we never spoke about it again. Although it has been the source of a good laugh on occasion through the many years since then!
I just began a new Bible Study on the book of 1st Corinthians and was reading some of the key verses about the book from chapter two verses 6-8 this morning. These scriptures talk about the wisdom of God that Paul was sharing with the church in order to assist them with the secular type difficulties that they were experiencing at the time. Paul declared that he was using “wisdom to speak to those who are mature. It is a wisdom that doesn't belong to this world or to the rulers of this world who are in power today and gone tomorrow.” Then he went further to say: “We speak about the mystery of God's wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. Not one of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of glory.”
My immediate thought when I read these verses was that Piper has always demonstrated an awareness and sensitivity to that “hidden wisdom.” More so in fact, than just about anyone else that I know. Then, for some reason, I had the revelation that she and I have always seemed to have had a more literal understanding of the scriptures than the rest of our families. From the early days of our marriage we simply took the Word for what it said. If God said that He would meet our needs, (Philippians 4:13) then we had no reason to ever doubt that He meant exactly what he said. And when the Word says “by whose stripes you were healed” (I Peter 2:24 MKJV) then we have and continue to believe that healing is His will for his children.
But we have also learned throughout our life experiences with the Word that we have to actively protect the blessings and promises that He gives us through His Word. Sort of like Fiver protecting us yesterday from a possible threat at our front door, or Piper protecting the covenant of marriage that we have between us. I guess you could say that this is the same thing that I have been doing with our stand of faith for Piper’s healing. I learned early on, that in her weakened condition, I as her husband, had the responsibility of protecting her from forces that were potentially harmful to her as well as to her faith. Hummm… I guess in some respects I am paying her back for the ways she watched over me for all those years!
So what am I saying? Well, if you are standing in faith for any promise of God’s as written in His Word… like for healing or finances, for example… then you have to diligently work to protect that stand of faith by continually building yourself up in the Word that talks about those particular promises or blessings, avoid or spend minimal time with people, places or things that may water down or even attempt to steal what you are believing for, and keep a very personal and open line of worship, praise and prayer with our heavenly Father.
Simple right? Well, the actions themselves aren’t that hard to do, but it is the continuance of those actions that will get put to the test over and over again! One of my favorite sayings over the last few years has been something that our Pastor continually declares saying: “I will not be defeated and I will not quit!”
So yea… It takes some commitment, it takes a lot of effort and you’ll most likely face some persecution over your stand of faith… but in the long run… pushing through and beyond all those potential negatives will ALWAYS prove to be well worth the effort! (Take a look at 2 Corinthians 2:14 for an instant pick-me-up!)
Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to protect the things I am standing in faith for today… and tomorrow… and the day after that?”