Mar 10, 2014

Above all else....

Today's Reading: Matthew 17:14-27
Find the reading plan here.

We tend to guard many things in our lives. We guard things that mean something to us.

We guard our homes with security systems. We guard our cars from break-ins by locking them. We guard our skin from cancer by wearing sunscreen.

If something is important to us, we guard it.

God tells us something that we must guard above anything else in life....our hearts.

Our Memory Verse:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life"
Proverbs 4:23

As parents, we are diligent about guarding our children from harm. We take many precautions to keep them safe from predators and unforeseen dangers.

Sometimes, however, we forget to guard the one thing, above all else, that needs guarding....our hearts.

God has made this very personal in my life. Very personal.

"Guarding my heart", is not just a lovely proverb that sounds good. Guarding my heart has to be a way of life. 

When I don't guard my heart, I fall into sin. I fall into captivity. Even if just temporary, I fall.

Yes, I still belong to Christ, because I became His when I accepted Him as my Savior. However, when I don't heed His instructions, when I step out of His umbrella of protection over me, I fall. Big time.

He has given me specific instructions in areas that my heart has to be guarded. 

For example, I have to be very careful about what I read, what I watch on T.V, and even magazines that I flip through.

Sounds a little crazy, right?

Let me explain.

We have to be careful about certain things, because we can get easily tripped up. We can get drawn away from Christ, and right smack into the very things that held us captive. 

I can read a very well-meaning blog or a parenting magazine, and immediately feel self-condemnation. I will compare myself to those parents or people, and go right back to that place of insecurity.

It's not that there is anything wrong with reading these things...at all. It's because I  know my heart, and God knows my heart the most. He knows that certain things are triggers to my areas of past captivity of insecurity and fear.

Maybe your triggers are much different. Maybe they are lust, food, greed, jealousy, spending, sexual promiscuity, discontentment, depression, lying, stealing.......

Certain activities and even certain relationships can actually lure us right back to these places that we have been set free from.

We can get drawn to the edge of the pit of sin that held us in bondage, and step right back in, if we are not careful. If we are not guarding our hearts.

If our hearts are the wellspring of life, like the Proverb says, we have a lot at stake when we decide to take the guard off of our hearts. 

God, our Father, like any good parent, wants to protect us. He wants to keep us safe from falling back into the pit of past strongholds.

So, He sets boundaries for us. He not only sets the boundary lines for us in His Word, but in our own personal lives.

"Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you" Proverbs 2:11

We know how to access His Word, but how do we know specific areas that He wants us to abstain from for our own personal protection?

I think that can be easily answered when we look back over our past areas of temptations or strongholds.

We must always remember, that those things can and will still trip us up, if we don't guard our hearts from them. 

Sometimes, I think I have grown, and gotten past certain things that can make me fall, or bring me close to the edge of that pit. I tend to think that I can now handle those things. I am stronger, I am wiser.

This is a lie.

Those things are just as harmful now as they were then to my heart. Some things don't change. 

I urge you today, to ask the Lord very specific ways that you can guard that beautiful heart of yours. Not only that, but that He will give you the strength to walk in obedience and stay far away from paths that lead you to those old bondages. Those unsafe places that the Lord desires to protect us from.


padlocking this heart,

jill