Guard Your Heart
Proverbs 4:23: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
How do we protect our spiritual heart? Here are a few ideas.
Our physical hearts are subject to disease. Some disease happens simply because of aging. But there are some things we can do to keep our physical hearts healthy. Exercise strengthens our hearts because our hearts are a muscle. Eating foods that rebuild muscles (protein) helps keep our hearts strong. Our hearts need nourishment. Eating foods that don*t clog up our arteries and availing ourselves of the helpful treatments espoused by the medical community are helpful in seeing to it that our hearts receive everything they need to stay healthy.
Our bodies are a gift from God and we ought to take the best care of them that we possibly can. Likewise, our spiritual hearts are a gift from God and it is even more important that we take care of them.
Just as there are people with physical heart disease there are Christians with spiritual heart disease. Just as advanced heart disease can kill our bodies advanced spiritual heart disease can kill us. Any besetting sin or sin that we won*t let go of can cause us to be spiritually sick, stunt our growth or even die. One specific sin discussed in the Bible is partaking unworthily of the Lord*s supper.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord*s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
1 John 5:16-17: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
We don*t know what sin is a sin unto death. And we don*t know which sins will not kill us. There is a sin not unto death. The sin unto death may be different for every person. An interesting thing to me is that even as we go downhill physically, we can and should be going uphill spiritually.
2 Corinthians 4:16: For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
When we don*t pray and serve God (exercise) our spiritual hearts get flabby.
When we don*t read the Bible, our heart doesn*t get the spiritual nourishment it needs.
1 Peter 2:2: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
When we dabble in sin, when we read and listen to the garbage the world tries to feed us, we clog up our spiritual arteries. We wouldn*t go to the city dump for lunch and we ought not ingest spiritual garbage. We are like computers: garbage in -- garbage out.
What kind of activities do you engage in? Are they wholesome or questionable? Who do you admire? Who do you try to emulate? What do you spend your money on? What do you watch on TV? What kind of music do you listen to? What kind of language do you use?
Psalm 101:3: I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
Romans 1:32: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do.
Do we enjoy watching things or reading about things we would never dream of doing ourselves?
James 3:10: Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Psalm 141:3: Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
We can guard our heart by being careful who we associate with. We need to be careful who has an influence on our hearts and lives.
I Corinthians 15:33: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Proverbs 13:20: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs 28:7: Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
The people we associate with can have a very negative or positive impact on us.
J. Vernon McGee:
My old companions fare you well.
We go to great lengths to protect our bodies from harm and death caused by external sources. There are things that God provides that will protect us spiritually.
Ephesians 6:13-17: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Notice only one of those is an offensive weapon.
Jude 20-21: But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
The spiritual battle we are involved in is immeasurably more important than the physical.
Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
This is part of what Paul prayed for the Ephesians.
Ephesians 3:16: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;