Thursday, February 10

On Guard

Read Provebs 4

It was just a vent. A plastic vent at the new home’s foundation that was missing. An easy fix. One that the homeowner would get to. Certainly it needed attention. You don’t want anything moving in under the house. But other things needed attention too, so the vent-fix got postponed. The homeowner would think of it when he was in the back yard or on warm Saturdays, but there was always something more pressing. Still, the thought niggled at him. You don’t want anything moving in under there.

After a while, he noticed neighborhood cats in their yard. You really don’t want those in there! So one day, when he had a few minutes to spare, he propped a board against the opening, hoping to alleviate his concern without too much hassle. It worked too. He felt better knowing there was protection in place. Until he noticed a weird looking cat prowling the yard in the dusk. With a pointy nose, short legs and a long, creepy tail, it became obvious that the cat issue has escalated into an opossum problem.

The board propped against the opening in the foundation, had fallen down flat, leaving a wide open welcome for pesky rodents. With some hard work and a few trips to the hardware store, the homeowner wrangled the rodent and carted it off to the countryside. Then with the board nailed firmly in place, he thought the problem was solved.

But Mama Possum left behind thirteen baby problems. THIRTEEN!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

A foundation left untended is a dangerous thing indeed. You don’t want anything getting under there!

An un-guarded heart is open to invasion by most anything. The Bible is full of lists of sins that will invade and infest a person who leaves themselves unprotected. (See Proverbs 6:16-19, Mark 7:20-23 and Galatians 5:19-21 for a few examples).

It is easier to guard your heart from the beginning than to get nasty stuff out once it’s taken up residence.

Proverbs it pretty clear on the subject. We can work on cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit. We can practice being thankful. We can be intentional about the time we spend with our spouse and kids. But if we do all this without protecting ourselves, we are quite literally sitting ducks. Wide open foundations inviting in creepy crawlies out of neglect.

And once the creepy crawlies make their home in your cozy heart, inviting their friends and spawning more sin, it’s REALLY hard to get them out.

An interesting story festers into gossip.

An experiment leads to a debilitating habit.

An inappropriate thought blooms into an inappropriate action.

Anger turns a heart hard.

Insecurity morphs into depression.

Discontent walks away.

Above all else, guard your heart.

 We should not leave our hearts un-tended for another moment.

Therefore put on the full armor of God…with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

Notice that out of the six items listed, five of them are designed for protection. And one specifically covers the heart.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart.

By Andrea with content stolen (with permission) from Pastor Brad Ils at Turning Point Community Church. Listen to the full message here.

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