The Canadian national anthem repeats the phrase “we stand on guard for thee“. I hope it suggests the willingness of every Canadian citizen who sings it – and not just the willingness of those who officially watch over our peace and safety – to think and act in ways that value and protect this great land.
As well, I believe it must be the motto/promise/slogan of all Christians who will stand their ground in faithfulness to their Lord and his kingdom. Preparedness and diligence are not only marks of a good Canadian citizen, but also describe the mindset of the devoted disciple living under the rule and authority of Jesus.
Standing Guard in the Bible:
Luke 12:1 when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying:”Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Jesus lived in a time when teachers contested for loyal followers. An audience would choose sides (and change sides) based on persuasive logic, eloquent presentation and emotional promises and/or warnings. The “yeast”, the insidious influence of the Pharisees, resulted in HYPOCRISY. On the other hand, integrity, perhaps the polar opposite of hypocrisy, reveals itself not in title or speech, but in the testimony of actions. The Pharisees (as a general principle) were excellent in establishing and enforcing rules and regulations. They were not so good at watching their own motives or promoting Godly behaviour. The Greek concept of hypocrite comes from the image of putting on a mask in a stage production and becoming a different character. It is a lie. The outward appearance bears no resemblance to what is going on inside, underneath the mask. Jesus calls his disciples to be on guard, alert, discerning the dangers of the teaching and example of the Pharisees. The religious elite may sometimes be quite persuasive, but guard against embracing that which will lead hearts astray. Spiritual leaders should be drawing hearts closer to the heart of God. Hypocrisy is a bad witness. It also creates a stressful tension of in-congruence that has the potential to paralyze the soul and promote a self-disgust that can lead to a sad and messy demise. Therefore, STAND GUARD! Always be ready to safeguard yourself against any drift towards the dangers of hypocrisy. Jesus had strong words on the subject. IT’S NOT EASY THOUGH. Discipline, fellowship, repentance, and ongoing trust will help. May God’s Holy Spirit keep us true to our “high calling in Christ Jesus”.