"Guard your heart
above all else
for it determines the course of your life."
I opened my Bible this morning, and found this verse was my daily reading.
And then, it was in a book I read later. And in a quote on Pinterest I stumbled upon. And in a tweet by a friend. So mid-afternoon, I stopped and said - "Okay, Lord...I'm listening!" Actually, the topic of guarding my heart has been on my heart lately (redundant much?!) And I pulled out an old book which reminded,
"We must police our hearts with
And went on to tell a story that I'd like to share with you...
"An elderly, quiet forest dweller once lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps. Many years ago, the town council had hired this old gentleman as Keeper of the Spring to maintain the purity of the pools of water in the mountain crevices. The overflow from these pools ran down the mountainside and fed the lovely spring which flowed through the town. With faithful, silent regularity, the Keeper of the Spring patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches from the pools, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water.
By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal-clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants sparkled.
Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. One evening the town council met for its budget, one man's eye caught the salary paid the obscure Keeper of the Spring. 'Who is this old man?' he asked indignantly. 'Why do we keep paying him year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, this man does us no good. He isn't necessary any longer!' By a unanimous vote, the council dispensed with the old man's services.
For several weeks, nothing changed. But by early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon, someone noticed a slight yellow-ish brown tint in the spring. A few days later, the water had darkened even more. Within a week, a slimy film covered sections of the spring. The mill wheels moved slowly; some finally ground to a halt. Businesses located near the water closed. The swans migrated to fresher waters far away, and tourists no longer visited the town. Eventually, the clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.
The shortsighted town council enjoyed the beauty of the spring but underestimated the importance of guarding its source. We can make the same mistake in our lives. Like the Keeper of the Spring who maintained the purity of the water, you and I are the Keepers of Our Hearts. We need to consistently evaluate the little things that contaminate us. As God reveals our wrong attitudes, longings, and desires, we must remove them from our hearts."
-by Joshua Harris, book here.
This story is such a reminder for me. Guarding what comes into our eyes and ears can seem meaningless. "What's wrong with watching this one music video?" or flipping through channels and stopping on that one funny show - it won't hurt just one time, right? Logging onto this website or watching that movie? But I am finding that all the things we put into our heart and mind, one by one, truly do change and alter how we think, act, and what we believe.
Sometimes, I find myself getting "lax" in what I watch, listen to, read. Slowly but surely, the things we watch and listen to can undermine what we truly believe. They allow little whispers into our once-steady minds that say, "It's okay just this once..." and "Don't be over the top..." and instead of remembering truth and what God says in the Bible, we are influenced in our thinking by what the culture says - the lies of the Enemy that ultimately will kill, steal, and destroy what God wants for us - His best.
As hard as it can sometimes be, I want to be more faithful in guarding what comes into my heart and mind. Being careful about what I watch, listen to, look at, and read. Forgetting what other people say is "okay" to watch, "fine" to listen to...and listen to what the Lord lays on my heart - what He convicts me of.
"May the words of my mouth
and the meditations of my heart
be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord."
"God is greater than our hearts, and knows everything."
-1 John 3:20.
What a comfort to know, even when we fail and fall - He is greater and with mercy and grace, gives us the strength to guard our hearts and fill them with what pleases Him.
May this be our prayer:
"Teach my Your way, O Lord
and I will walk in Your truth.
Give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear Your name."
in everything you do...
mind your heart!
Linking up today with Captivated By The Beauty Of Grace
for What I Wednesday:
what i wore:
Jeans: Joe's Jacket: Express Scarf: Forever21
Earrings: Express Headband: homemade by moi! Top: thrifted
Stay strong, loves!