Keeper: Watching over the Gate to Our Hearts and Minds

Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series as Heather Cofer shares reflections on what Scripture means when it says that women are to be “keepers at home.” Missed the first? Read it here

We live in the heart of a small but growing town in northern Colorado. Neat and tidy neighborhoods fill the landscape, and several years ago, we were unexpectedly blessed with a lovely, red brick home tucked amongst tall trees, with a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains from our back porch. 

Our property lies next to a sprawling parcel of land, on which sits a beautiful English-style estate, barely visible from the road. Just yards from our home is a scattered assortment of faded orange outbuildings belonging to this estate, all of which look a little worse-for-wear. One structure is a small dwelling that was likely once a groundskeeper’s house. Today it sits vacant and weather worn. 

Our town is considered relatively safe, so this little guardhouse doesn’t seem necessary. However, it’s crossed my mind more than once that even with its “DO NOT ENTER” signage, any person who desired to cause harm could pass through the fence opening, cross the wide field, and approach the house without detection. 

I’ve also pondered many times how this imagery parallels the state of many women today. Even Christian women.

Too often we’ve abandoned our posts as gatekeepers of our own hearts and minds—not to mention that of our homes and those who dwell in it—allowing destructive ideologies, influences, and idols to sneak past our God-given defenses of truth, conscience, and discernment. They’ve brought in smooth-sounding words catering to our fleshly tendencies, full of sweet-tasting poison that numbs our senses to the danger that’s upon us. 

Before we know it, we’ve become vessels for these harmful ideas too. Rather than taking seriously God’s call to faithfully guard ourselves and those in our care from that which would seek to steal, kill, and destroy, we’ve laid out the welcome mat and opened the door wide instead . . . all in the name of love, tolerance, and an open mind. 

I say, no more, sisters! Not on our watch. 

Keepers Because He First Keeps Us

The Bible is full of calls for Christians to be keepers.

God’s people are to keep their souls (Deut. 4:9–10), to keep the commandments of the Lord (Deut. 26:17), to keep covenants made with God or others (Gen. 17:9), to keep our hearts (Prov. 4:23), to keep our tongues (Psalm 34:13), to keep the way in which we walk (Psalm 119:9), to keep wisdom (Prov. 3:21), to keep the instruction of our parents (Prov. 6:20), to keep ourselves pure (1 Tim. 5:22), to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21), to keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). In Titus 2:5 (KJV) women have the specific call to be keepers at home. 

Even though the verses above have varying contexts and applications as to the “why” and “how” of keeping, every variation of “keep” has a similar root meaning that includes words like guard, protect, attend carefully to, heed, watch. If we’re faithful to be “keepers” in these ways, God promises us something: blessing. And not only blessing for us, but also for our children (which is stated explicitly in many Old Testament passages). 

When we keep a careful watch over ourselves and the people and things we’ve been entrusted with, protection and spiritual flourishing results. However, spiritual devastation awaits us if we don’t. Why? Because we were designed to follow our all-wise, all-perfect Creator’s pattern for life, and turning from it takes us outside the bounds of truth into the twisted, harmful realm of lies.

The enemy of our souls would like nothing better than to have us believe that guardianship is outdated and oppressive. He wants to distract us and stir up discontentment in our hearts through curated social media feeds while we neglect what sits in front of us just beyond the phone screen. He lures us with appealing self-centric messages from wildly popular “power women” who have just enough truth mixed with their error to keep us from seeing that their views will slowly take us off the straight and narrow path that leads to life (Matt, 7:13–14). He wants us to buy into the quippy, ten-second “theology” videos that abound on the internet, causing us to question the soundness of Scripture. When we do, it leaves the gate wide open for him to come in and wreak havoc on us, our families, and anyone else we might have influence over. 

Although there is great blessing that comes with taking up this call to be keepers it’s anything but easy. It almost always means swimming upstream against the cultural current around us. We’ll often be viewed as legalistic, self-righteous, or even hateful because we’re not embracing the trendy ideologies, activities, or movements of the day. But as women who fear the Lord, we need not fear the opinions or actions of others against us. We do not live for the applause of this world, but for the glory of our Savior.

And best of all, we take up our call as keepers in light of the fact that God is our Keeper. One of the most poignant passages illustrating this is Psalm 121. 

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
   From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD,
   who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
   he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
   the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 
The sun shall not strike you by day,
   nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
   he will keep your life. 
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
   from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV)

Isn’t that beautiful? Our keeping is enabled and protected by His perfect keeping. He commissions us to be faithful guardians because He has provided the grace to do it. As we consider the bleak landscape of deception and the havoc wreaked by sin and the devil all around us, it’s easy to grow discouraged—we can’t possibly fulfill this calling in our own strength. But “if God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31). This should fill us with hope.

3 Questions to Evaluate Our Keeping

As we consider whether we’re being faithful keepers of what God has entrusted us with, here are three questions we can ask ourselves. 

1. Am I faithfully keeping my mind and heart with God’s Word?

Psalm 119:9 says,

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping your word.

Another translation says, “By guarding it according to your word.” First and foremost, we must understand that God’s Word protects our minds and hearts from deception. In Ephesians it’s called the “sword of the Spirit”—part of our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:17). Perhaps that’s why one of the enemy’s core tactics in leading us astray is to try to attempt to undermine the authority of the Bible. If we’re filling our minds and hearts with Scripture, it will be much easier for us to spot when God’s Word is being twisted to say something it doesn’t actually mean. 

A wonderful way to stay in the Word is by using a Bible reading plan (maybe with a friend for accountability). Or consider reading the Epistles using a study Bible, and commit some passages to memory. As you read, prayerfully ask the Lord to implant His truth deeply into you and shape the way you think (Rom. 12:2).

2. Am I faithfully keeping my mind and heart by obeying God?

Scripture is also clear that obedience to God’s commands is key in protecting ourselves from deception. Knowing Scripture is the foundation, and doing it demonstrates that we really do trust that His way is best. Psalm 119:29–30 says,

Keep me from the way of deceit 
and graciously give me your instruction. 
I have chosen the way of truth; 
I have set your ordinances before me. 

Within the context of following God’s ways, Proverbs 3:25–26 says, 

Don’t fear sudden danger 
or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, 
for the LORD will be your confidence 
and will keep your foot from a snare.

We can start by simply asking ourselves: am I obeying God’s Word? In what ways do I need to grow in my obedience? Then we can ask the Lord to help us live in obedience with the help of His Spirit. 

3. Am I watchful over the content I’m consuming? 

In our social media age it’s easy to mindlessly consume content without putting much thought into what we’re allowing to shape our thinking. Also, anyone can put out content, posing as an authority on a given subject without being vetted or proven faithful to Scripture—not only in their words but also in their lives. This makes for the perfect scenario for unsound doctrine to sneak into our thinking mixed in with a lot of good stuff. 

We can’t afford to sit back and consume without the filter of God’s Word being applied to the content we’re taking in. This doesn’t mean we become critical and hyper-skeptical about every little thing. But it does mean we are like the Bereans, who “received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 

We can have a joyful and eager disposition as we check what we’re reading or listening to against God’s Word. And the more we grow in our maturity and understanding of Scripture, the more we’ll be able to discern what is actually very dangerous and what things believers can disagree on while remaining under the banner of faithfulness to truth. 

When we’re unsure about something or someone, it’s wise to seek the counsel of godly people around us. Isolation is the perfect breeding ground for deception because it keeps us from being challenged and sharpened in the ways we need it. All of us have blind spots, and it’s humbling to have them revealed. But it’s also necessary for our spiritual thriving and brings us joy in the long run. 

May we be faithful in this call as keepers, guarding ourselves and all He has entrusted to us. God—the ever-faithful Keeper—will enable us to do so by His Spirit and through His Word.

When you understand God’s compassion toward you, you’ll begin to move toward Him and others with confidence in His love. With your gift of any amount this month, we want to bless you with a copy of the booklet Uncommon Compassion: Revealing the Heart of God by Erin Davis. Within its pages you’ll trace the compassion of Jesus through the Bible and see that the Lord is indeed compassionate and His mercies toward you are tender. 

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