If God knows everything, and He does, then why does He test me? I know He does. So it must be that He wants to show ME what is in me – since He already knows. He wants ME to know how to handle situations – that’s how I see myself growing. And when things in me come out, I’m free! You see, when I hide stuff inside me – living in darkness and living in deception – I have no way to be free.
Now more than ever I have found that Satan is the master of darkness. And in my own life I have experienced that anything he can keep hidden in my life – he can maintain control over. Wow! Did you hear what I just said? When that sin comes out in the light, and it’s exposed, if I am willing to deal with it and let God deal with it properly, I get to a new level of freedom and a new level of power.
Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
When I read that verse I felt comfort. But then I thought, wait a minute… this verse doesn’t say “God” will guard my heart. It doesn’t say my “family” will guard my heart. It doesn’t say my “church” will guard my heart. Yikes! It says for ME to guard my heart!
It’s a responsibility each one of us MUST take!
And guess what I’ve found through my new walk? It’s pretty much a full-time job!
I found that I had no clue what would come up tomorrow. I was in the midst of dealing with separation and one day I felt great and the next day I felt total pain. You don’t know what anyone out there is going to do – so that’s why the writer of this proverb said to guard your heart all the time and above anything else.
I found in my case that I had to be constantly working with the Holy Ghost to keep my heart right. For me, I came to realize that was nothing more important than my inner man.
There have been a handful of things that have been life-changing in my walk with God. Obviously when I was born again; when I was filled with His Spirit; when I learned how important it was (and this happened in the last few months) to seek God’s face, and not His hand (it’s God’s presence in my life that is of value – not just what He can do for me.)
But I supposed one of the biggest things was learning that my inner life, the part that is in me, my heart, was my real life. I used to think that life was all the circumstances happening around me (marriage, home, bank account…) And when I turned my heart totally to God, it amazed me how happy I could be in the middle of the lousiest circumstances, and how peaceful I could be with all the crap that was happening around me simply by keeping my heart in the right condition.
Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see (know the presence of) God.” So I thought – wow – if I want to hear from God… guess what? I have to keep my heart pure!
I Peter 3:3-4 shows how important my inner person is to God. It says, “Let not yours be the merely external adorning with elaborate interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart (inner man or person), with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is not anxious or wrought up, but is very precious in the sight of God.
On a business trip to Houston a few years ago, I stayed with a dear friend of mine who grew up with me in the Amazon jungle as missionary kids. And in their home they had a housekeeper. She noticed that I had a bunch of skin care products and granted, I did take a bit to get my skin in good shape to brave the world – checking wrinkles, hair, beard, eyebrows. I never forget her saying I had more stuff than most women. That stuck with me and when I read this verse in Peter, I thought about it – was I spending the same amount of time each day guarding my heart? No.
God could care little about how I am groomed each day, but I’ve found out that He does care (and so does Satan!!) about how I am dressed in the Spirit!
I always believed that the spiritual realm is just as real as the natural realm. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. For me, I had to start paying close attention to my inner life – my thoughts and my attitudes. Why was I doing what I was doing and was it pure and pleasing to God?
I hope this helps you today in your walk with God. Spend time to guard your heart by checking your motives and what you are thinking. Seek God’s face and listen for His will in your life – then obey. This is how you guard your heart.