Guard Your Heart: October 23rd - 29th

This Week & Beyond...

Just a quick reminder about our upcoming kick-off on Sunday @ 5pm!!

If you haven't already confirmed you attendance to this fantastic event, please take a moment to do so!  It's gonna be a good time and I look forward to hanging out with y'all!!!

Please also remember to bring $10 for food and fun??

Blessings!!
Gregory J.

Devotional...

Guard Your Heart
by Tom Kraeuter, Hillsboro, Missouri

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

A friend of mine -- a really big guy who used to play football for the Air Force -- once accompanied me on a weekend ministry trip. At one point I jokingly introduced him as my bodyguard. Later, an older lady approached him and asked, "Are you really his bodyguard?" My friend just laughed. He assured her that he was just a friend along for the trip.

That's become a running joke between my friend and me, that he's my bodyguard. Actually, though, bodyguards are not generally a joking matter. I remember when President Ronald Reagan was shot. One of his Secret Service agents jumped in the way to protect the President. The guard was seriously wounded, but Reagan was shielded from further injury. Being a guard is no trivial matter.

Lots of places and people have guards. Banks. Celebrities. Military bases. High tech companies. Even some everyday businesses located in crime-ridden areas have guards.

People who know about such things have told me that some of the best guards are off-duty or former police officers because they have much of the necessary training. They know a bit about the criminal mindset, are generally in good physical shape, know something about self-defense and know how to use a firearm. As a guard, if they need to actually defend the person or institution from attack, they're prepared.

So, in the context of our verse for today, what does it mean to "guard your heart"?

Well, it seems to me that if we're truly going to guard our hearts, then we need to be vigilant about it, just like people who are guards for a living. We need to take our job seriously. Maybe some of the attributes of guards that I mentioned earlier would benefit us.

Know your enemy. Do you realize you have an enemy? Of course we generally are willing to acknowledge that we have an enemy, but often we don't actually live as though we do. "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He doesn't want to play with you; he wants to devour you. Be on your guard, aware of his tactics.

Be in good spiritual shape. Are you growing in your walk with the Lord. I don't mean just going to church on Sunday morning. When our children were very young, we had to feed them. They couldn't do it on their own. As they matured, however, they became able not only to feed themselves, but to find the food on their own. As Christians, it isn't just the pastor's job to feed us spiritual food. We have a responsibility to feed ourselves. We should be growing in God's Word, prayer and in our relationship with Him.

Know how to defend against attack. This is where our study -- not just occasional reading of a few verses -- of Scripture comes in. We need to be able to confidently wield the Sword of God's Word. When the enemy comes at us with his lies, we need to know the truth of what the Lord says. Are you learning and growing in order to be able to defend against attacks?

If you're involved in the worship ministry of your church, then part of what you do is to help point people toward God. If you're not guarding your heart in your own relationship with Him, you won't have much to offer on Sunday mornings.

You might respond, "But I'm just the bass player" or "I'm only a singer." It makes no difference. Guard your heart. It is the wellspring of life. 

GOING DEEPER:
1. Have you ever before compared an actual living/breathing guard to what you should do with your heart? So, what should that mean for you in practical terms?
2. If you think that your role is lesser  -- and therefore the guarding your heart idea not so important -- discuss that line of thinking in the context or Ephesians 4:25, "We are members of one another."