Guarding Your Heart from What Lies Beneath the Surface
Last week my husband and I went on a vacation to Myrtle Beach to celebrate his fifty-something birthday. My husband loves to fish, and this year was no different. Most days we would find ourselves sitting on the pier with bright sun and blue skies, listening to the sound of the ocean. The pier he fishes at is fairly popular because it goes so far out into the water. People come from all around to fish for blues, whiting and especially Spanish mackerel this time of year.
There are several sinks on the pier with running water. As each day went on, people began to use these sinks to clean their fish. When they did this, something interesting happened. As soon as the water was turned on and began to drain into the ocean, a group of sharks would rise to the surface looking for something to eat. At times I could look down and see four or five sharks circling and waiting for the next scraps from the cleaned fish to be tossed in for a free meal. You never saw the sharks until it was time to eat. The funny thing is, people would be swimming, surfing and playing in the water within 200 yards of the pier, oblivious to the fact there were sharks in the water. Sharks which could potentially attack them, but because they did not see them they thought they were safe.
It is the same way with each of us. What is swimming with you underneath the surface? Is it a little “white lie”, sinful thoughts, anger, pride, laziness? The enemy is so subtle. It is easy to become complacent and get lulled into feeling safe, especially when everyone is swimming in the same water. The devil will leave you alone until you are so deep under the surface with your sin to isolate you, so he can make a vicious attack.
Many times all you have to see is a fin to know the water is not safe and you need to get out of the water. For believers, the Holy Spirit can give great discernment when it comes to revealing who or what is safe and who or what you need to distance yourself from. Many times the Holy Spirit will raise red flags in our spirit prompting us to protect ourselves from a potential attack.
Our hearts are very vulnerable, and our most vital organ. I want to encourage you to read the whole chapter of Proverbs 4. It is a powerful message on how to guard our heart and what to guard it against, but more importantly why we need to guard our heart.
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
To repeat, we need to guard our heart because it determines the course of our life. If you didn’t think this was important before, I implore you to think again. Where we lead with our heart determines what our life will become if we are not wise in guarding our heart. When we are not careful, we can be easily eaten alive by our own sinful selfish motivation, or by others who have the ability to drag us beneath the surface. Even though we can’t always see evil, it doesn’t mean that evil doesn’t exist.
King Solomon shares potential problems, pitfalls, and obstacles each of us will face within our lifetime. His wisdom provides us with the knowledge of what to do to thwart the enemy which lives beneath the surface. The enemy loves to muddle the waters surrounding our heart to take our focus off God. Developing good judgement it is the wisest thing we can do!
We are rewarded when we live God’s way. God provides protection from things we can see and those we can’t. God desires more than a surface relationship. He desires a relationship with great depth. I bet we have all felt like we were being circled by sharks at least one time in our lives. I know I have. The enemy is a constant predator and personal spiritual growth is the way to guard yourself against the enemy’s attacks. If you find yourself surrounded and being circled by sharks, hang onto these words. They are your life preserver which will bring you back to safety.
My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”
10 My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.
12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.