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”.

WHY GUARD YOUR HEART?

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.

HOW DO WE GUARD OUR HEARTS

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.

4 comments:

rongmusicman said...

Wow! You 'bout to preach girl!! Bring it.

Cindy said...

I love this! And I will be more intentional about guarding my heart!

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Steph, have you read John Eldredge's book, Waking the Dead? I just finished it and wow!! The entire last quarter of the book is about the heart and guarding the heart. It is definitely worth a read and goes right along with what you wrote here...which is awesome by the way.

Sheryl said...

You are helping me to move forward in guarding my heart...and my mind. Thanks for living an intentional life.

Sheryl