Monday, August 12, 2013

A Guarded Heart

Roller coasters can be a lot of fun, especially for those who are a bit more adventurous and not having queasy stomachs. There are so many incredible coaster rides out there, and there are even people whose have a goal of riding all of the major ones. These coasters spin you around, raise you up high only to turn you over or throw you back down, stomachs in your throats, all the while having the clickity-clack of the track and the chain ever present in your ears and vibrating your body. These are truly times when the adrenalin flows for the riders. At the same time, there are others who strongly prefer to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, refusing to step on the loading platform.

Life can also be this way for many, seeming to have no control once you’ve stepped into it. As a result, there are some who go for the ride kicking and screaming (maybe even enjoying it for a while), and others still who seek to hide and escape. Whether the ride is of our own doing, the impact of others, or circumstance, life is challenging and stuff happens. And how we deal with those challenges is very important.

God tells us through His Word that there is so much more than just these two options. He offers both help and hope for the turmoil and strength for the journey. Our lives are not an out-of-control coaster ride, rather we have a God who frames up and limits everything. He knows our limitations and He gives us the strength to endure. He also knows our fears and He gives us the strength to face them.

In Proverbs 4:20-23 we read, “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

An unguarded heart is a volatile heart. It is subject to every wind or whim, and it can lead to a life that is more volatile than the greatest roller coaster ride on one extreme or becoming more distant than hiding in the darkest of closets on the other. The instruction to watch over it with all diligence is an important instruction, but there needs to be a framework to that watching, and that framework is found in having a relationship with the living God through salvation in His Son and being led by His Spirit firmly grounded in His Word.

In verses 25 and 26 of Proverbs 4 we go on to read, “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.” And in looking straight ahead, we  are told to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Resist the temptation to ride the roller coaster, unless it is at an amusement park. And don't retreat to the closet, unless it is to get quiet with God. Set your eyes on Jesus, hide His word in your heart, and trust Him to help you navigate through the difficult things in your life.

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