Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Proverbs 4:23

Everything we do; our actions, our words, our attitudes towards others all flow out of our heart. This month I’ve been going through b-movie tropes to help teach life lessons that I have learned from God’s word. Today I want to continue but with no direct example, because there is a trap that we all fall into and it is a serious one. In movies we see people make dumb choices, they go into the graveyard/basement/abandoned circus and get themselves into big trouble. In movies we yell at the screen and laugh as a poorly acted character gets into the trap that we all saw coming. The truth is, we are often that character. We walk into obvious traps and lies from our enemy, and it costs us a great deal. Maybe you went into a relationship that everyone said was a bad idea, or maybe those friends you have that don’t really change the way you act (riiiight), or maybe it was the under-the-table dealings in your job that no one would find out about. We walk right into these traps, and they stare us right in the face. We can easily blame God for not warning us, but the real issue is us. When we don’t have our hearts set on what really matters, we will fall into the traps of the enemy.

We need to guard our hearts. Something that we can so easily make compromises on is what we let into our hearts. We live in a world that is sinful, meaning that we have become independent from the God who made us for relationship. We make compromises with what we watch, who we spend time with, and what we let into our thoughts. I think compromise will kill us. We have been made in the image of God, yet we choose to walk away with him to simply have independence from his will. We want the things in this world that will make us happy, but we forget that it will all pass away. Seems pretty morbid, but nothing lasts forever (except Twinkies, those bad boys will probably never decay). Why do we choose independence for simple pleasures? We are afraid of putting complete trust in our savior, we are afraid of giving up control; but this is the best decision we can ever make. You are a child of God. You have been made in his image. You are beautiful. You are Awesome. You are so worth loving. This is the reason why we need to trust, to live dependently on our savior, and guard our hearts against the things of this world which will only decay.

Feed your soul.

This is the beginning of guarding your heart. It’s the basis, the foundation to build your life. This is the daily walk with Christ. We need to take time out of our busy lives and give God priority. I get it, life gets really wild. We have school, work, kids, and relationships that we want to take care of; but the truth is, all of these will fail if we don’t feed our spirit. This looks different for each of us. For me, it’s creating space in my day to pray and read the word. My time with God doesn’t have to be some extravagant display, it simply happens when I am in his presence giving him my attention. I like to journal my thoughts and prayers, I listen to leadership podcasts, and I worship God through reading and worshipping him through music. For you this could look like a very different picture. Maybe your best time praying is in the car, maybe you spend a chunk of time in the morning devoted to Jesus and coffee, or maybe you are your spouse spend the evening praying together and worshipping. There is not set path to feed your soul, we just simply have to find what works. Because when you don’t feed your soul, you starve your spirit.

Shield your eyes.

“Shield your eyes, Marion!” This is a great quote from one of my favorite scenes in cinema. Indiana Jones and Marion are tied to a poll as Nazi soldiers open the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana yells this to Marion and we see the soldiers melt away because they did not shield their eyes. We do this, we willingly turn our eyes to things that we should turn from. For guys, we look a bit too long at that woman who walks past us, we watch that Victoria’s Secret commercial, and we make jokes that degrade the value of women. What are we doing? We should honor the people around us, we need to guard our eyes. For women, maybe that book series isn’t the best idea to dive into, maybe the fact that that buff guy isn’t wearing a shirt means that we shouldn’t stare a bit too long, and maybe you should pride yourself on being a daughter of the king instead of a body for others to leer at. We all mess up, that’s a result of the world we live in, but we need to make a change. We need to remember that we are sons and daughters of a King, we have the highest value. Our eyes can change how we think, and when we start to think differently, our hearts become corrupted. We should shield our eyes, treat others with love and know that they are worth loving because they have been made by a king.

Find a guide.

Every story has a hero who finds a guide. This guide walks them through their journey and gives them confidence to go on. Luke had Yoda, Katniss had Haymitch, and Daniel had Mr. Miyagi. These are heroes that we like to relate to, because they all found themselves in the midst of a battle, and they knew they had to take a stand. We are in a battle over our souls, and we need a guide to get us through it. A guide is someone who has gone before us and knows the traps that the enemy likes to set for us. Guides help us navigate through life, and they train us to make wise decisions by speaking life over us. Find a guide, someone you trust your life with. Be vulnerable with them, because in our vulnerability we have freedom. We are in a spiritual battle over our souls. We’re warriors, we all need sensei’s.

smith-sons

You have been created by a savior that made you in his image. All the beautiful and awe-inspiring things we see in his world were made by the same creator that made you. We have a choice to make. We can live independent from our creator, or we can choose to live dependently on him. We need to guard our hearts. We live in a world that is trying to pull us away from what is true, and the truth is that we have been made in the image of God. Such a powerful revelation comes when we step into this fact, we can live into the mighty will he has placed on our lives once we trust him completely. We all have pasts, ones filled with mistakes and regret, but we don’t have to let that hold us back. In Christ we have been forgiven, set free and made new. Trust me when I say that I’m not perfect; I’ve made mistakes, allowed my eyes to look at things of this world much more than I wish I had, I’ve hurt people close to me, and I’ve tried to live independent from God. Yet with all of that, he still welcomes me home, he sets me free. Now it is my duty to guard my heart by feeding my soul, shielding my eyes, and finding a guide to help me through my walk. You are a child of God. You have been made in his image. You are beautiful. You are Awesome. You are so worth loving. No matter your past, step into the freedom of your future.

You have been made in his image, so guard your heart.

-Joshua Thomas

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