My child, give Me your heart and let your eyes observe My ways. (Proverbs 23:26 NRSV)
Historically, Christianity has always been threatened. This came home to me while I traveled this summer.
I watched as a pastor rose to the pulpit to address Black Lives Matter only to find every member of color not returning the next Sunday.
I comforted a grandmother uninvited to her grandson’s birthday party because she refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
All around me I found good Christians filled with fear, anxiety, and self-righteousness.
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I’ve seen in the last fifty years numerous threats against Christianity from a cultural perspective: the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, the breakdown of the family in the 1980s, the post-modernism of the 1990s, and the 2000s there was the new atheism.
We might be quick to blame social media, Biblical illiteracy, and even complacency, and we would be right. The pastor’s half-hour sermon does little to combat Facebook prophets and YouTube’s false teachers.
Rarely does the “average” Christian seek counsel in Sacred Scripture. Where are the men and women of the Word?
This threat is different. It isn’t cultural or social, it is personal. The enemy of our soul isn’t setting up a big battle on the front lines, no he’s fighting in quick skirmishes behind the lines.
He’s cutting off our supplies and burying our resources.
What the heart is to the body, so the spiritual heart is to the soul. The enemy wants nothing more than to make us so unhealthy that we limp along in our faith. We could easily address the threat and assume there’s nothing we can do.
But the solution begins with us. We need to learn how to keep our hearts.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 NRSV)
A kept heart is in right standing with God! Let us learn how to keep our hearts guarded and well-trained.
The guarded heart is completely yielded to the Lord. Real “heart work” begins when we seriously take time behind closed doors in the Secret Place. The “Gatekeeper” of your soul is willing and able to protect you.
Our inner convictions and values shape who we are and what we do. We are meant to delight in God, grow in Christ, serve the church, and bless the world with the Good News.
The guarded heart listens closely to the Lord in daily fellowship. The good news of the Gospel is written not only in our hearts but in our life as well.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
We must make sure our hearts are well trained.
Without training from Scripture, we lie to ourselves and imagine nothing is wrong. So, we need the Lord to examine us, so our hearts become well trained. When the heart hurts the soul hurts and the enemy claps in glee.
We learn the truth and how to recognize false teaching by training our hearts in Sacred Scripture. There is no better way to learn who God is, His ways, and how to walk in His will. Every time we engage in Scripture, we experience the Author.
As serious followers of Christ, we need to know the Lord intimately. Satan carefully watches us to accuse, confuse, and turn our hearts toward anything but God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and trains, corrects, and inspires us in Holy Scripture.
As we reflect, meditate, and keep our hearts safe then we will distinguish between right and wrong – between truth and lies. A kept heart is guarded, trained, and examined by the Lord.
Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Guard Your Hearts
Our hearts need to be kept safe. Our wisdom is incomplete, our understanding inadequate and our knowledge shallow with the heartfelt relationship with Christ.
Unseen by human eyes, the Almighty God watches over us – watches over us with love. The Lord is here. He’s as close as the breath you breathe and as near as the beating of your heart. God’s hand of protection is tangible and real.
A well-kept heart is always safe and welcome in the presence of God.
- When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with Father God?
- Do you trust Him with all your heart?
- Have you relinquished all you right to self?
- How well-kept is your heart?
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for protecting my heart from the enemy’s attack. You accept me just the way I am, and I yield my mind, my heart, and my soul to your faithful protection.
Thank you for seeing my where I am weak and making me strong. Thank you for your tender hand leading me in Your Sacred Word. I need you in every area of my life. I know the threat is real but I’m trusting You wholeheartedly to keep me safe.
Open the eyes of my heart to know You and know You intimately. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Christine Malkemes is a teaching pastor, writer, and blogger. Her passion is spiritual maturity and learning the deeper things of God. You can find her at Words Whispered.