Lock It Down!

Title: “Lock It Down!”
Text:  Proverbs 4:23

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Some years ago, one of the great, gigantic Sequoias in Central California topped to the earth.  Several centuries old, it was unknown at first as to why this massive giant would randomly fall – there were no outward signs of damage or bad tree health; but after a Forest Reserve investigation, the verdict was given:

Foot traffic.

Apparently, over the many years of the trees existence, the multiplied foot traffic at the base of the tree began to damage the root system which caused irreparable damage to the tree and, thus, caused it ot fall.  So, the park service began placing fences – enclosures – around the base of the oldest and most historic trees in order to protect their root systems and to preserve their life.  One thing is clear: What is true of trees is also true of humans.  If giant, 250-foot trees that can live for several centuries need protection, how much more do I need to be intentional about protecting my “root system” – that part of me that is vital to my very life and growth? Solomon challenges me – and you – to guard my heart. “Guard” is a strong word… Solomon is saying, “Lock it down!”  And rightfully so, because the heart is an integral part of who we are and of who we are becoming.  The Bible teaches that our heart is the “command center” of our life… it’s the central part of us that dictates and determines everything we do.  It is not referring to the “physical” organ that we call our heart; but it is the very seat of our emotions, who we are at the core of our being.  This part of us must be protected at all costs, because “it determines everything we do!”  Jesus said that “out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).  So, above all else, I must “guard” – purposefully and passionately – my heart from the evil that would seek to enter in – things I watch on TV or see on the internet; sinful attitudes, principles, and lifestyles that the world passes on; temptation from the Evil One who would love for nothing better than to see my life and ministry derailed.  But there is a positive aspect of setting a guard, as well – and that is not only making sure that certain things don’t get in, but making sure that ONLY certain things DO get in.  And the things I want to allow access to my heart are those things that keep me growing and glorifying God – things like meditating on and studying God’s Word, and prayer.  Getting to know His heart is crucial; but that won’t happen unless I guard mine!

Father, You have spoken… wisdom comes from You.  Please give me the wisdom to wholly lean on You and to trust you, even as Icontinually learn to hear Your voice and run away from sin.  Make me a man who listens first and foremost to You… who is passionate and purposeful about guarding his heart.  In Jesus’ name… Amen.

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