I'll Be Your Keeper for Life as Your Guardian!


Several months ago, I heard this chorus from a song and it became the germinating seed for what follows…

I’ll be your keeper for life as your guardian

I’ll be your warrior of care, your first warden

I’ll be your angel on call, I’ll be on demand

The greatest honor of all, as your guardian

These thoughts below are a vision of who I want to be for Jesus (and in Him and through Him) and for you all. And even though the truths here are not YET (but WILL be) fully formed in me, they are not theoretical either. They were born from having SEEN them in action by the loving saints around me. I have often been on the receiving end and so have had a front row seat in witnessing the dynamic and cost of this otherworldly trait and choice called love. Let’s all go There because as our Master said…

“Everyone will know BY THIS that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” John 13:35


God is love.

Volumes could be written about what that means and what defines the kind of love that defines Him.

But keeping definitions simple, John, the disciple of love, uses the phrase “this is love” three times:

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

“This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 6

Using John’s first definition, the love that God is (the core quality that defines Him) has at least these two qualities:

1) It acts for the benefit of the loved without ANY returned love.

2) It is costly, sometimes extravagantly so, to the giver.

In other words, He is utterly otherish. (Consider “otherish” as an antonym for “selfish”).

If you have said, “I will follow Jesus,” then THAT is what you’ve signed up for. “As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”

You haven’t signed up for a religion that asks you to do more good and less bad and, in return, you get to go to heaven. That defines many world religions but that isn’t what Jesus spilled His Blood for.

If you want to be His follower and to walk in His steps, then you are on this planet, not to save your own skin, but to lose it for Him and for others.

Do not get confused. Losing your life for others is NOT “the right thing” you must do to be saved or the missing link to finally experience joy and peace. GET OVER IT. Stop trying to do “the right thing” for your own sake.

If you are Born Anew by the water and the Spirit, then that same Love that defines God now springs eternal in you.

And Jesus did NOT live to be saved. He lived to save… to deliver… to redeem… to woo others to His Father… to love…

And that love is sacrificially otherish.

There is a phrase in pop culture… “Looking out for number one.” It means, of course, looking out for yourself. That disposition is built into our human DNA. Self seeking. Self protection. That is the way of nature. Dogs live that way.

But when Jesus, quoting from the Torah, says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He essentially was (and IS) saying, “Every day of your life until now, you have looked out for number one—yourself… your safety, your satisfaction, your comfort, your needs, your wants. But from here forward, look out for your neighbor. Your neighbor IS NOW your new number one. What is best for him, for her? Do that. Let THAT be your MO (MO is short for Modus Operandi and is defined as a particular way or method of doing something that is characteristic, well-established). My command is that you WALK in the same kind of sacrificially otherish love I had and have for you.”

So if you no longer look out for yourself but instead look out for specific others, then WHAT are you?

A watchman, a guardian, a shepherd, a father, and your brother’s keeper.

Ponder those phrases and what they look like lived out. Those “pictures” help me have vision for who I am supposed to be… not feeding some sort of ambition to be a “leader”—though leaders express these qualities in consistent, mature and gifted ways—but simply painting a portrait for me, aiding my transformation into Christ’s Likeness, for His purposes and joy. (For the record, ambition and love are polar opposites… one opposes and negates the other).

Aren’t these things what Jesus does for you, for us? From the beginning, He has worked to make a way for you… to seek what is best for YOU.

He forgives you

He encourages you

He gives you rest and re-creation when you need it and a kick in the pants when you’re slow to take up the work

He exhorts you, teaches you

He is silent at times, causing you to seek Him to find out why

He’s looking out for you… for what might trip you up and already waiting to catch you if you fall

He gives you unexpected gifts at unexpected times

He prays for you (He really does, not because He’s trying to be “spiritual” or “close to God” but because He loves you)

He nourishes you (earthly and heavenly)

He rebukes and chastens

He gives of Himself to buy you back saying, “What grace has been given to me, let it pass to you.”

and the list goes on…

“This is love…” All of these very practical, real life things, we can and must DO for each other… we can and must BE to each other, IF we are to be His incarnation in the world today. Let these be the DOMINATING thoughts of your short existence on this planet. With the same desire that you WOULD HAVE wanted these things for yourself, instead find ways to do them for those around you.

Do not say to yourself… “What can I do tonight that will be bring me happiness and satisfaction, comfort and relaxation?”

But rather say, “Father, what creative way can I be my brother’s keeper, my sister’s keeper? Who are the specific people that I am truly praying for and laying my life down for? I MUST take responsibility for the lives around me. I want to see THEM be expanded into the character and love of the Anointed One. I don’t want to behave in a policing way or attention-drawing way. Instead, I want to stand in the gap, nurture and Sensitively Intervene, choosing to believe and to act on the truth that nothing on the planet is more important to me than seeing others grow and flourish in Christ.”

THAT is a guardian. And when you see your responsibility as a guardian clearly, sin can easily be defined as ANYTHING that you allow to distract or anesthetize you from your “care-full” duties. Taking your eyes off of those in your care, even for a moment of self-centered indulgence, puts them at risk. THAT is the essence of sin because the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit would NEVER act that way. They are ALWAYS outward, giving, caring.

Some sins are packaged as vices (greed, lust, gluttony, malice, ambition, etc.) or idols (sports, hobbies, jobs, relationships, travel, gadgets, etc.), while other sins come in the form of despair or fear or shame. But what makes them all sin is that they are YOU-centered and have, at their root, a “taking” characteristic. Satan is satisfied with ANYTHING that hamstrings you from being a lover and a giver and a guardian of others. Jesus, on the other hand, empowers us to follow His command. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12,13

Again (and this is SO crucial), be a lover of specific others, not so that you can be “right” and “spiritual”—for love has NO self-centered agenda—but simply as an offering to the One who offered His life for you.

That HE might have the reward of His suffering… that we might be His EQUAL Yoke.

He doesn’t ask you to live “sacrificially otherish” in order to make your life hard.

He simply knows that as you live out His Love and SHARE in the fellowship of His suffering (and this kind of real love DOES suffer), you become infused with His Life and the Two become ONE Spirit.

To be His Equal Yoke, you must love as He loves. Please know and believe that this is what His Spirit inside you wants to EXPRESS THROUGH YOU.

A watchman, a guardian, a shepherd, a father, and your brother’s keeper.

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 6

In simple summary: be utterly otherish… sensitive, aware, watchful, caring, intervening, giving… and above all, praying, praying, praying… knowing that Father loves more and can do more for those you choose to love than you can ever ask or imagine! And be willing to be the vessel He uses to answer your own prayer. ;)

Our pledge to each other: “I’ll be your keeper for life as your guardian!”


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