In Mark 7:21-22 Jesus warns us of what comes from the heart; things such as evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. You don’t have to work at these things; they come naturally to the human heart.
Take a child for instance; you don’t have to teach a child to be selfish, say no or throw a tantrum. You do not have to teach the child to hit, scream or get in a fight with another child. Rather, you find parents trying to teach their children how to be nice, caring, sharing and controlling their temper.
The reason for this natural bent toward the things Jesus mentioned in Mark 7:21-22 is because the human heart without God is evil and wicked. In Jeremiah 17:9-10 we are told, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct….” (NIV)
Although you may have long ago made the choice to give your heart to the Lord, or have done so in recent times, it remains your responsibility to guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” These words come from the richest, wisest man who ever lived.
Let me suggest some things you can do to guard your heart.
Let the Word of God dwell richly in your heart.
Only God through the power of His living Word can change our hearts. Therefore you must not neglect regularly spending time in God’s word, alone and with God’s people. There really is no easy and quick way around regularly taking time to be in God’s Word. You have to make this a priority in your life if you are going to guard your heart from its natural tendencies.
The psalmist says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-6).
Be careful of what you listen to, read and watch.
Many times we are not paying attention to how what we allow into our minds will impact our heart. Some of the music we listen to, the books we read, or the movies and television shows we watch make our heart vulnerable to its natural ways. If what you are taking into your mind is dishonoring to God, chances are it could be leaving your heart unguarded. I can hear the protests: “It is only a book or a movie. What’s the big deal?” The big deal is, why risk leaving your heart unguarded to return to its old ways? I think it will be best to play it safe, to not take the risk.
Keep your heart clean by clearing away the debris.
Clear away the things in your heart that are dishonoring to God; such as envy, malice, slander, anger, unforgiveness, etc. As you discover these things in your life ask God to help you get rid of them. Seek out the help of other believers to hold you accountable in ridding yourself of these things.
Paul admonishes us in Colossians 3:7 to rid ourselves of the ungodly things from our hearts. “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”
This clearing process will not be easy since some things have been with you all your life and the clearing out process will be very painful. But God will give you the grace, strength and support you need to rid you heart of the things that do not honor Him.
The heart in its natural state is evil and wicked. God in His grace has provided deliverance for us. As you journey in this life, it is imperative that you guard your heart each and every day of your life.
Are you intentionally guarding your heart or is your heart vulnerable to being deceived? Act now and protect your heart. What are some things you do to guard your heart?
GUARD YOUR HEART.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.