June 7, 2016
How’s Your Heart, Part 2
Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).
Friend to Friend
I was physically exhausted and had let my guard down. The minute I let my guard down, the enemy moved in with a vengeance. My unguarded heart was in trouble, wounded by the words of someone I love.
I knew what I needed to do – deal with the hurt, forgive the one who had hurt me, and let go of the pain. I just didn’t want to do it. And God calls that sin.
If you did not read yesterday’s devotion about my husband’s defibrillator, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do that now.
As surely as that beeping defibrillator grabbed Dan’s attention, the Holy Spirit grabbed mine. I examined my life for ways to guard my heart against the inevitable attacks of the enemy.
We need to be alert. “Alert” literally means “to stay on guard” or “to keep watch.” Our Father wants us to stay alert and always be on guard. Persecution because of our faith is coming. In the meantime, the enemy is trying to take us down every single day. Make no mistake. His goal is to destroy you and your family, and he will pull no punches. More times than not he is subtle and will try to distract us from God’s highest calling through temptation. We need to be alert to the obvious attacks as well as the subtle ones.
Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. And every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up you'd better be running." It doesn’t matter how long we have known God, we must get up each day, prepared to guard against sin, knowing we will face temptation.
We need to get in the Word, and we need to get the Word in us. Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV).
The best way to stay alert and the greatest deterrent to sin is the Bible. It is important to remember that God’s truth came before Satan’s lies. When God’s truth comes first in our lives, we will be able to recognize the lies of Satan, and temptation will be easier to withstand.
But when we get away from God’s Word, we become an easy target for temptation and sin. We need to read and memorize Scripture as a powerful tool for spiritual warfare. Sin either will keep us from God’s Word, or God’s Word will keep us from sin.
We need to pray continually ... about everything. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “never stop praying,” but how many times do we pray as a last resort?
I read about a kindergarten class that went to the fire station for a tour. The fireman was explaining what to do in case of a fire. “First go to the door and feel the door to see if it’s hot. If it is hot, fall to your knees. Does anyone know why you should fall to your knees?” A little voice spoke up, “Yeah, to start praying and asking God to get us out of this mess!” How true! The power to withstand temptation comes from a praying heart. The devil will do anything to keep us from praying. He laughs at our religious activities and mocks our human wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.
The cardiologist stepped into my sanctuary and smiled. “Dan’s surgery was a success. This new battery should last for several years, but if you hear that beeping sound again, you know what to do.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our hearts “beeped” a warning when we are in spiritual danger, on the verge of making a wrong decision, speaking the wrong words, or taking the wrong step?
Or maybe it should beep when our “battery” is running low and we need to take the time to rest.
God has a warning signal that is loud and strong. We just need to listen.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).
How’s your heart?
Father God, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel like I am drowning in my circumstances. My heart is filled with fear and confusion. I need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Which one of the following three steps do you need to take in order to guard your heart?
____ Always be alert.
____ Get in the Word, and get the Word in you.
____ Pray continually … about everything.
Make a plan for taking action on that step, knowing God will strengthen you and empower your choice to obey Him.
More from the Girlfriends
More from the Girlfriends
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Originally published Tuesday, 07 June 2016.