2010-05-05 / Religion

‘Keep Your Powder Dry!’


(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

“Trust God, but keep your powder dry!” That quote is said to be an old motto of soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. They well understood first and foremost the necessity of trusting God, but also their personal responsibility of doing their part in battle preparedness. They knew that no matter how much they trusted God, if they allowed the black powder used in their muskets to get wet, they would be in serious trouble during any engagement with the enemy.

I believe that same concept still applies to us today. Even though we do not rely on gunpowder in our daily activities, as followers of Christ we daily face spiritual battles launched at us by Satan, so it is essential that we trust God and stay prepared to face and overcome the many temptations that he plants along the paths of our lives.

Included among those who knew what it was to successfully face the hard battles of life is the apostle Paul. As we follow his life and writings in the Bible, we find him standing firm in his faith as he lived a victorious Christian life. It is evident that he knew both how to trust God and how to keep his powder dry!

As Paul neared the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy about spiritual strength. He said, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 2:1, NIV). To be strong physically requires making some choices and taking some steps that are not always comfortable at the moment, but ultimately they will yield the satisfaction of a strong and healthy body. Likewise, for us to grow spiritually strong, it is necessary for us to make some hard choices; we must choose to spend our time and devotion on the things that please God. As with the physical, these choices might not always be convenient, but if we will follow God’s directions for our lives, we can rest assured that He will always transform us into the person He wants us to become, so we can achieve what He desires for us to.

Paul also told Timothy to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Timothy 2:22). He could not “keep his powder dry” if he failed to do these things. That is, if he gave in to ungodly sensual desires, he could not be prepared to face the spiritual battles that lay ahead. And neither can we.

Paul trusted God and kept his powder dry, and he instructed Timothy to do the same. As a result, he was able to write in the closing season of his life here on earth words that will be true of each of us if we will follow his pattern of faith, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (II Timothy 4:8).

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