Monday, January 16, 2012

Holy Living - Guarding Your Heart

On this journey to holy living, the very first thing God has impressed on me is that I must guard my heart. Proverbs 4:23 says:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Above ALL else. Pretty strong words aren’t they?

Guarding our hearts has to become more than a nice Susie Sunday School phrase.
Guarding our hearts must become a way of life. As one of my daughters like to put it, let’s talk about the “why” before we talk about the “how”.


Our heart. The place where choices are made. It is the unseen holding area of our emotions. It is our core being or the center of our spiritual man.

Contrary to popular belief, following your heart is absolutely the worst thing you can do. Why? Jeremiah tells us that The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. (Jeremiah 17:9) Look at how the Message words the same verse along with verse 10.

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things .I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

God tells us way back in Genesis 21 that “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (vs.21b)

We are born with a sick, deceitful, wicked heart. A heart of stone. A heart, that when untouched by the holy hand of God, WILL bring harm. A heart that will hurt, disappointment and will guide us in a way that is opposite of the way God has purposed for us. BUT…look what God offers us in Ezekiel 36:26

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

That is our God. Once He has replaced that old dark and deceitful heart, it is our job to guard the new one.

Luke 6:45b tells us that out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Quite frankly, what is IN that thing is going to come OUT. Look at the first part of verse 45:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil.

Friend, we may fake it for a while. We may memorize some scripture. We may sit in Sunday School, go to Worship and even attend small group Bible study…but at some point

What is IN will come OUT.

Why do we guard our hearts? As a Christian we guard our hearts because…..

First God tells us to. His word is truth and when He says guard something it’s not for His health, it’s for ours!

Second. God has detailed, thought out plans for each of our lives. He has specific fruit that we are to produce! (Check out Luke 6:43-45 and then go read John 15) I speak from personal experience when I say this: A divided, wicked, unguarded heart cannot fully accomplish what God has planned. Ask me about the year 2005 and I will share with you what happens when you serve with a divided heart.


The first thing that comes to mind is what I call the P4-8 verse. Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The longer I am intentional about holy living the more this verse enters my mind. I find that as I scan the radio, I hear “Is this song praiseworthy? Is it true?” OR, as I’m flipping through the DVR to see what is recorded, “Is that story line honorable? Is it lovely to me?” AND yes, in conversation…”Is this conversation pure and truthful? Is it building up or tearing down. Are your words bringing me glory?”

P4-8 has become the measuring stick. It is the power tool for me!

Holy living starts with guarding our hearts. Not guarding FROM something…but guarding FOR something.

We are guarding so that we are READY and properly positioned to be used for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Guarding Our Heart is simply:

Protecting the place where choices are made.

Being intentional about what we allow to influence the unseen holding area of our emotion and the core being or the center of our spiritual man.

Guarding our hearts, I dare say is imperative to holy living.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holy Living

Last fall, I knew that God was calling me to REALLY enter into Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

That passage was and is to become more than lip service, it is to become my way of life. I honestly thought my word for 2012 would be “whatever”. But it isn’t.

My word for 2012 is: Purpose.

As 2011 came to a close and I finished reading through the Bible, each day the word purpose or plans seemed to pop up in the passages I was reading. The last verse I memorized for 2011 was the very familiar Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that HE who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God seemed to be weaving a theme together.

Here is just a sample of the verses that God placed in front of me the last few weeks of 2011.

Isaiah 46:10b My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose.

Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Job 42:2 (Job speaking) I know that you can do all things, and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.


For so long I have felt my purpose has been to be the best wife, mom, pianist, teacher….that I can be.

Wrong. I was created with one purpose.

My purpose is to glorify God. Your purpose is to glorify God.

As He began to place PURPOSE on my heart, He was also placing scripture about holiness in front of me. Remember Philippians 4:8? That was just the start.
I continue to hear “Guard your heart, be careful what you expose your mind to. Ask yourself if this (book, show, song…) is a ‘whatever’?”

Guard your heart. Purpose. Two “themes” that I knew God would somehow weave together. And He is. Which is the reason for this focus on holy living.

2 Timothy 2: 20-26 has become my chunk of scripture for this focus on holy living. I am sharing verses 20-22 here from the NIV because that is the translation that God used to connect my two themes for the year.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 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

My purpose is to glorify God. I can’t do that if I am an unclean vessel. Look at how The Message states verses 20-21:

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.

Holy living is making a conscience effort to not just read God’s word, but to apply it. TO LIVE IT. Why?

It’s simple. God has plans for me, for you. We have PURPOSE.

SPECIAL PURPOSES. He says nothing can thwart or hinder those plans from happening. He WILL accomplish them. This life, MY life is not about me at all. It’s about bringing glory to my Savior. THAT is purpose.

I believe He has special purposes planned for us each day. Holy Living is as 2 Timothy 2:21 says (from The Message) being the kind of container God can use

A container that is focused on whatever is:
True Honorable Just Pure Lovely
Commendable Praiseworthy Excellent

This week, I'm asking God show me what changes need to be made in my life. They may be small things and they may be big! What He asks me to step away from maybe okay for judgement! :) I'm approaching the week with anticipation, expecting Him to move in my life. I pray that you will join us!