We all do it. Putting up walls around our heart to protect us from more pain. More hurt.
And we think we’re doing it to be safe.
Only the walls that we put up sometimes become our prison.
What we think we’ve done to protect ourselves has, in reality, caused us to hide behind the wall, curled up in a ball and waiting, while we fret and worry and fear the worst.
“Guarding your heart” is a biblical principle, but if we don’t gain the right perspective on what that means, we very likely will end up with a not-so-normal heartbeat that is controlled by our emotions or feelings. While it is not normal to isolate ourselves from the world out of fear or trepidation, the emotions that we feel are normal. Grief, pain, sorrow, rejection, fear and anxiety can creep in behind that wall of isolation and take us captive.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Proverbs 4:23
So how do we do it? How do we guard our heart when our very life depends on it? What is the remedy when these emotions don’t just stop by for a visit–but barge in and take over our heart? Our mind? Is there an anecdote to the fear or worry or grief that threatens to consume us?
Ephesians 6 tells us:
“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. ” (vs. 12-13)
Remember, the enemy we fight is not one to be fought alone. God is the creator of our emotions, and though Satan would love to use them against us, this battle that rages within us has a victor! His name is Jesus. Master, Savior, Redeemer, Friend. He is the one who conquered evil. He is the one that opens the door to the spiritual realm and invites us to follow Him into battle.
“This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (v. 13)
Taking up armor is hard work. Preparedness. Commitment. Stamina.
There are other verses that talk about idleness and the dangers of lethargy–but let’s focus on the process of being ready to “stand guard”:
“Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.” (vs. 14-17)
- TRUTH — Your belt. It holds you together when your world is falling apart. “Standing on the Promises” means that we focus on what we know to be true from God’s Word, even when we don’t understand why, or the when the world tells us something different. (“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9)
- RIGHTEOUSNESS — Some translations read, “breastplate of righteousness”. The idea is for that armor to protect you when Satan throws his fiery darts at you. This one is key to guarding your heart. You can know God’s word, and even be religious, but it is your faith in HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS that gives you the boldness to stand against the devil. (“God presented Him (Jesus) to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:26)
- READINESS — Preparedness. Having your sandals on, ready to go at any moment. Very often it is when we let our guard down and get lazy in our relationship to God that satan steps in and tries to take advantage. I can neglect to clean my house and while it might not do me physical harm, failing to clean my spiritual house can prove detrimental to my spiritual, emotional and even physical health. (If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,”we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:6-9)
- FAITH — While this may seem an obvious accessory for battle, the shield of faith is more than that–it’s an absolute necessity. Why do you think the emotion of fear can creep in so easily and consume us? Because when we lay down the shield that protects us, we allow fear to move in. In grief, the shield of faith will surround us and protect us from being consumed by it. Worry retreats when faith takes over. Do you want victory over your emotions? Quit allowing your feelings to dictate your actions. Walk in faith, believing God truly is in control. This doesn’t mean you won’t have emotions–it means you won’t let emotions have you. (This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5)
- SALVATION — The battle begins and ends in your mind. When I choose to remember what Jesus did for me on the cross I recognize that the victory has already been won. No circumstance in this life can change the fact that He saved me. He loved me so much that He died for me. For you. If He loves us that much, can we not trust him with whatever life throws at us? That helmet of salvation protects our brains from getting out of focus when life gets tough. Our thoughts and our actions and feelings come into alignment when we keep our focus on what really matters. (“For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Romans 5:7-8)
- GOD’S WORD — Our sword. Our weapon in this spiritual battle. Our words mean nothing. His Words mean everything. Yes we have the Holy Spirit, and He will correct us and guide us, but knowing and applying God’s word is our fiercest weapon. (“..since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
I know it isn’t easy. This battle is bigger than us. God-given emotions are a natural part of this life but this gift of emotions was never intended to control us. God wants to fill our hearts and our minds with His truth, but He places the responsibility on us to absorb the truth.
Can you just see how this armor that he talks about is for our good? For our protection? What piece of the armor are you missing?
It all starts with FAITH. If you want to know what that looks like go to the link here>>>>>> FAITH