~ Grace Gift ~
Knowing the mind of Christ.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23-26 instructs believers to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” When Solomon refers to guarding the heart, he really means the inner core of a person, the thoughts, feelings, desires, will, and choices that make that person who he/she is. The Bible tells us that our thoughts often dictate who we become (Proverbs 23:7, 27:19). The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not simply his actions or words. That is why God examines the heart of a man, not simply his outward appearance and what he appears to be (1 Samuel 16:7).
Heart murmurs are abnormal flow patterns due to faulty heart valves. Heart valves act as doors to prevent backward flow of blood into the heart. Spiritual heart murmurs occur when believers engage in complaining, gossip, disputes, and contention. Believers are instructed many times to avoid grumbling, murmuring, and complaining (Exodus 16:3; John 6:43; Philippians 2:14). By engaging in these activities, believers shift their focus away from the plans, purposes, and past blessings of God to the things of the world. God sees this as a lack of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Instead, Christians are instructed to strive for contentment in all things, trusting in God to provide what is needed in His good time (Hebrews 13:5). Guarding against a complaining spirit and cultivating a spirit of gratitude and trust is the second step toward guarding the heart.
Congestive heart failure is an inability of the heart to successfully pump blood through the body due to weaknesses within its walls. Congestive heart failure can result from hypertension (high blood pressure), myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), and abnormal enlargement of the heart. The spiritual equivalents are anger, giving in to temptation, and pride. Of all of the deadly sins, anger can be the hardest one to avoid. Anger acts like a poison on the body, both physically and spiritually, and makes a believer more vulnerable to the temptation to hurt others with our actions and words. Ephesians 4:31-32 instructs, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Avoiding anger, pride and temptation are also critical elements of guarding the heart. The Apostle Paul instructs us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”(Philippians 4:8). Dwelling on these things will help to build a guard fence around our hearts.
Make the decision today to go on a fast from negative, self-defeating thoughts. Cleanse your mind from what is harmful and fill yourself with thoughts of faith and victory. As you do, those good thoughts will strengthen and empower you to live the good life He has planned for you!