Mar 20, 2013

Guard your heart



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Proverbs 4:23-27 says  
Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. 
 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

This passage came before me this afternoon as I was seeking God and His wisdom.  

 "Above all else, GUARD YOUR HEART, for EVERYTHING you do flows from it. 

In ministry there are battles that are fought that seem silent and invisible, but the war cries from the angels fighting them are not silent in the Heavenly realms.   I'm talking spiritual battles here, and one that I thought had long ago been fought and won.   

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

And yet the battle rages on around me. 

The part of me that is most tender, most vulnerable, most exposed in my day-to-day life is my heart.  In my rush to get it all done, I left it unguarded.   I haven't done that for years... and now as I am healing from years of shame and self-loathing, my heart was freed from the confines of the cage I had placed it in, and I discovered that it needs to stay tucked away and guarded.

Why?  Why should we keep our hearts guarded?  Because EVERYTHING we do flows from it.  Our families, our ministries, our relationship with God, everything.  What are we guarding it from?

Deception. 

Jeremiah 17:9 says 
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  What can understand it?"  

"What does that even mean?!  AJ, when you said deception I thought you meant something ELSE deceiving our hearts... but our hearts are DECEITFUL!?" 

So I began to contemplate how our hearts might deceive us, and this is what I realized...

ready?

in. so. many. different. ways.

  • My heart tends to connect first with MY understanding - not God's.  Despite my love for Him, I can be stubborn.
  • My heart communicates my GUT reaction {Mark 7:21-23 - ...from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality...}; My gut reaction is based on my body's lusts (hunger, material possessions, sex, etc.) and on my pride (I deserve this).
  • I think I know my motives, when I really don't.  My mind says one thing, when my heart is doing something completely different.
  • My heart deceives me - out of my heart comes my "blind spots".
  • My heart is sinful, proud and can be double-"minded"
  • My natural condition has me protecting myself - that protection sometimes creates deceit or defensiveness, which builds up walls.
  • My heart can be easily distracted.
  • My heart can be divided; it can be given away, taken back and put in someone else's care.
  • Out of my heart comes a wellspring of emotions, and emotions are liars.  They tell us how we feel, but not necessarily what is true.
 Friends, may these words be a reminder to you.  Guard your heartNot because someone is going to steal it away, but because it is the source of everything good in you.

Protect it like it's a treasure, because that is what it is.

Three ways to guard your heart:
1. Who are you spending your time with?  Those in your "inner circle" have the most influence over that heart of yours. Be sure to spend time with worthwhile friends.
2. What are you looking at?  Between television, magazines and movies, there are so many messages that the world is sending us.  Pay attention to those messages, and protect your heart from them.
3. What are your expectations?  Did you grow up reading romance novels?  They are fun to read and could be "harmless", but they create unrealistic expectations when it come love and marriage... they are like pornography for the romantic's heart.  Take some time to confront the unrealistic expectations you may be holding on to.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deut. 11:18      

What about you?  Have you ever been concerned by the state of your heart? What did you do? How do YOU guard your heart? 
 

2 comments:

  1. I pray every day "Create in me a pure heart Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." Please come link up your awesome post with me at www.nanahood.com Would love to get to know you! Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome scripture! Stopping by from the #ThumpingThursdays #BlogHop! http://queenofsavings.com

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