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Archive for November, 2017

Guard Your Heart

guardyourheart

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14 NIV).

Everyone has regrets. Paul is writing to young Timothy, warning him that the good deposit that was entrusted to him could be taken away. When we are young, we tend to make mistakes as we try to find our way around in this world. We have learned expensive lessons simply because we made wrong choices.

Paul could certainly identify with making choices that he regretted later. Some of those choices included the hunting down and killing of Christians. Whether we make these wrong choices out of ignorance or rebellion, we still suffer the consequences of sin. Paul did amazing things when he finally converted. I often wonder how much more he would have done if he had turned around sooner.

One event Paul never forgot was when he stood and watched Stephen die. Paul held the coats of the men stoning Stephen and cheered with the rest of the crowd. He saw Stephen pray while men stoned him, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And then Stephen fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this he fell asleep (died). And Saul [Paul] was there, giving approval to his death (Acts 7:60).

Our lives are important to God, but sometimes we don’t make choices that enhance our lives. Rather than study, we play. Instead of applying ourselves, we fritter the days away. We knowingly take bad advice. We watch television programs that do not glorify God or the way He would have us live. We sometimes treat ourselves as though we are worthless. It’s as though our decisions as to how we might serve our Mighty God succumb to earthly do-nothingness and the opportunity is lost for the day or, sadly, for all time. God has a plan for us. He has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him because we are valuable to Him.

In this verse Paul tells Timothy to guard his heart. In other words, be on the lookout for what may damage him spiritually, and avoid it. I’m sure that goes for the physical, too. Protect what God has given you; it is a gift that no one can duplicate.

You may be asking yourself what guarding your heart means. We are surrounded by negative influences over which we have little control. I’m speaking of media and other sources of advertising. They seek to destroy your contentment and often your purity. We need to guard our hearts from the people we associate with. We must have an attitude of awareness. Be sure that non-believing friends are not influencing you. If you have friends that you know aren’t good for you, perhaps you should move on. If you find yourself in uncomfortable places, leave. Then avoid those places. Guard your heart.

Any deposit that God has given you is valuable. Sadly, many Christians take His generous gifts for granted and fail to protect them. You are valuable and your relationships are valuable. There are always thieves who want to steal anything valuable. Therefore, we need an attitude of awareness that any gift bestowed by God makes it valuable. We need an attitude of alertness, too. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). So be as alert as you would be if a lion was loose and looking for you. Peter continues with advice to resist the devil. James promises “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)

My husband offers this practical advice that he learned early in his Christian walk. The devil is tricky. In our sexually permissive society, the devil can easily put men in a provocative situation where for some reason they cannot flee. God always provides a way of escape. Recognize the devil’s involvement. Repeat over and over to yourself, “Greater is He [Jesus] that is in me than he [the devil] that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). As your thoughts turn to Jesus and you keep repeating the verse the devil will flee. He hates the name of Jesus. The devil will return and try again. However, the more faithfully you do this, the longer he will wait between attempts.
So let your attitude be one of awareness and always be ready to escape.

Lord Jesus, keep me from the attacks of the evil one. Keep me in Your will and hold me close as I pray and ask for protection and wisdom. Remind me that this body and the Holy Spirit is Your precious gift to me. Help me guard my heart. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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