Guard Your Heart Like An Athlete Guarding A Football

I don’t play sports at all and I know nothing about football. Yet, I have seen a football in the hands of an athlete, held tightly like it was a gold nugget, and being carried through the hustle and bustle of other players serving as obstacles aiming for a chance to steal the ball and thwart the player’s chance to make it safely to the opponent’s end zone. And so I think about what if the player, who is carrying the football, fumbles and drops it. He must carry the ball and protect it with his force, focus and perseverance.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

How much so must we guard our hearts, not our physical hearts (which need taking care of too) but the part of our being that carries our souls. Our hearts are more valuable than a football. Our hearts are the breeding grounds for thoughts and seeds to be planted, and prayerfully the right seeds. They are the epicenters of our emotions, wills, desires, intellects, goals and dreams, etc.

Now, I am no expert on the body, soul and spirit either but I do know we are a three part being (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We possess all three: a spirit, body, and soul. All three must be tended to with care in order to function in this earth realm and live a quality life. And moreso to fulfill our God-given destinies.

So back to our hearts. Just like our bodies, our hearts are so vital to our existence here on earth. Our hearts exude our perspectives on things and direct our actions. It is crucial that our hearts our cared for and guarded because they are just as precious, valuable, and imperative to who we are and how we impact the world around us. So, let us protect and care for our hearts. And remember every part of our being matters to God, our bodies, souls and spirits.

Our thoughts, our self-esteem, our goals. Everything concerning our hearts concerns God.

So, why must we guard our hearts. Well, first we must remember that if we have to guard something, it is because it is valuable. We guard our hearts because our hearts are:

1. Valuable

2. Necessary for survival

3. Will impact others in some kind of way.

Our hearts and we in totality are valuable to God and to each other. Moreover, relationships are imperative for our survival, relationship with God and relationship with others. We were all created with purpose, talents and gifts that are to be operated in good stewardship, wisdom, and according to God’s will to help and bless others. We are valuable and we are here to make an impact in the lives of others. And we as the Body of Christ especially should be impacting others through the wisdom and love of God.

Now lets look at the second reason we must guard our hearts. We must guard our hearts because we have an enemy.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

1. We have an enemy, the devil, to protect our hearts against.

2. The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy.

3. The mind is often our biggest battlefield.

Anxiety, depression, and suicide is on the rise. The minds and attention of our youth are gravely under attack. Parenting is difficult more than ever. Marriages are crumbling. Perversion, lovers of self, and haughtiness are growing rapidly. Destinies and dreams are also going to the graves. And a person with a wrong perspective, unguarded heart, and one wrong decision can derail his/her future. Some of us are courting secret sins and shame, and I am talking about those of us in the Body of Christ. Some of us are in despair and straddling the fence with God, losing hope and zeal for God. Let us guard our hearts. Let us repent and draw close to God.

So, let’s look at that again:

We must guard our hearts because they are valuable epicenters that house our thoughts, emotions, intellects, wills, etc. that not only affect us but others. And we have an enemy that sees this and wants to distort our epicenters, derail our destinies, steal how we see ourselves and others, kill our hopes and dreams, and destroy the very things (like relationship) that God created us to use to impact the world around us.

Guarding our hearts mean to protect and care for them. Plain and simple. And now we know from who and why we must guard our hearts. So now how?

Guard your heart by protecting its gates (eye gates, ear gates, etc.):

1. What are you watching?
2. What are you listening to?
3. What are you saying to yourself or others?
4. What are you meditating on?

Guard your heart by taking every thought captive.

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT

Catch them thoughts and check them?
Is this a thought lined up with the beliefs of God? Is this a thought from God or the enemy? What are you rooting your belief system in: witchcraft, conspiracy theories, what they say, or God? We cannot serve two masters. Are you feeding your spirit with the Word of God? It is so easy to just let your thoughts slide. But we have to have discipline over what we allow in our heads and what we allow to dominate our thoughts. People who are anxious tend to worry about the future. They tend to overthink and worry and struggle with a spirit of fear. People who tend to struggle with lust need to address when they tend to lust and what does the lust feed on. Pray that God destroy every proud obstacle that keeps us from knowing Him and that He captures our rebellious thoughts and teaches us to obey Him.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

Guard your heart by reading the Word of God and meditating on it.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

His Word cannot return to Him void. Get His perspective, His views, His thoughts and His wisdom on the matter, about you and the world that surround you.

Guard your heart by developing discipline and obeying God’s word.

It is not enough to just hear and read God’s word but we must obey God. Trust His intentions and purpose for us are good. Do not harden our hearts when we hear God’s voice. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Seek God for help. Rely on His grace for it is sufficient. His strength, power and Word enables us to develop the mindset and discipline we need to live pleasing before God. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NLT

Read these relative chapters also.

Ephesians 5

1 Timothy 4

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:22‭-‬24 NLT

Now mentioning seeing yourself, guard your heart by seeing yourself the way He does.

It is so imperative to see yourself the way God does. If we are unable to see ourselves the way He does then I wonder if we are truly able to live, act and respond from the most authentic place. Can we really dwell richly in God’s love, that is unconditional and pure? Can we wholly communicate and impact from the Creator who created us with such a zeal and impact that is necessary? If we are unable to see ourselves the way God does, are we leaving cracks in the epicenter that let the enemy slip in?

So there you have it! It is not easy to guard something right? We have to have sharp focus. We have to persevere through countless obstacles and not give up. We have to be vigilant in watching and praying. We have to discipline our thoughts and that alone takes work and surrender to God. We have to not naively guard our hearts because we have a constant enemy. We have to remember the value of that which we are protecting. And we have to guard our hearts as we allow God to prune us and develop us in the fear of the Lord and wisdom of God as well as help us to bear fruit and subsequently more fruit, showing ourselves to be disciples of Jesus. Listen. Moreover, every human should not be guarding their hearts to restrict love, but guarding their hearts so that they can truly love. But to guard our hearts we need Jesus and His grace to be able to do so. We need God’s wisdom and Helper to direct us and heal us to guard our hearts and to also be able to walk in His love and receive His love. That is the last reason why we should guard our hearts. To walk in God’s love and receive it. Let us break it down further; we should guard our hearts:

1. to not be hindered in receiving the love God has for us and

2. to be able to love others as we love ourselves, and lastly but not least

3. …”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Start today in guarding your heart by asking God for wisdom and grace to do so. Gather some scriptures to post on your wall or mirror and meditate upon them daily. Set a plan in place to guard your heart and seek to draw closer to God who loves you with an unfailing love.

2020

I wrote this poem a couple or few months ago but made a few edits recently. This year has been said to be a horrible year, and we are just five months and six days down. This year started off rough for me and has continued on to be a challenge. In fact these past four years or so have been challenging (I use the word challenging because they were still blessings and I have learned so much). However, I remember when this year had just started a lot of people exclaimed that this would be the year of 2020 vision, clarity, the best year, and so forth. One thing for sure it has definitely been a year of clarity. It is like the curtain is being pushed back. But for me personally, this is another year of learning to trust God, another year of healing, and a year where God is drawing me closer to reprioritize and organize so that He can be first and everything else can fall in its right place. And this is the year for me to understand how to overcome and overcome those things that were draining me as well as distracting me, trying to keep me out of my destiny, and from healing and growing. So, this year is an uncomfortable one for me, and I bet it is uncomfortable for many others but this discomfort is needed. Let God open up our eyes and let God sit us down to have those personal and generational talks with each of us. Be willing and lean on Him for grace to receive His truth and His heart.


2020

I see you trying to be still

Trying to keep joy in the midst of chaos and sinking hill

This world is sick

And all signs point to last days

Some of us are so numb that with every new event we are unfazed

The spirit of deception is

Filling the airwaves and skies

Increasing also corruption and lies

People are dying and life ain’t the same

Coronavirus is spreading and taking lives

And it doesn’t care about your money, fame, or name

The foundation of our land

Is crumbling fast

From the seeds sown today as well as the past

Division and Racism

Pride and ego

Corroding the core of our foundation

Nation against nation

Money and fame are our gods

Fear and emotional disarray

Increasing every day

Everybody wants their own way

Envy and lust for power

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy

he shows up to work every day ready to devour

The fatherless and the widow, not to mention those whose hope is shrinking

And everyone in between

Authenticity of Identity and Empathy has left the scene

Some of our love for others and ourselves are sour

And some of us trying to find our voice and not cower

There is little respect and more destruction of the Black flower

Fighting to survive every hour

Police corruption and racial bias

My skin is a threat

No empathy or sympathy for me

They would say I deserved my death

Senseless violence

And pent up pain in our hearts

Many of our youth are lost

We must save our children

And receive the abundant life

But some of us are afraid to take up our cross and count the cost

Dreams and destinies fill the grave

Anxiety and depression are soaring

We have a lot of Elijahs hiding in the cave

Fear of persecution

Fear of being alone

We are living in times where wrong is right and right is wrong

We are drowning in despair

Reaching for someone to stop and truly care

We are starving for integrity,

Humility, and real love

And needing answers that only God can supply from above

By Tannika Moore

Annoyed To Godly Action

Ever had a time when you were so frustrated by your circumstances? (Raises my hand!!!) Trouble and their makers seemed to follow you everywhere you went. Every turn you made, they were right there to annoy you, derail you, and distract you.

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. Acts 16:16‭-‬33 NIV

Anxiety, trials and tribulations as well as trouble makers may arise and follow you throughout life. They may make you feel so alone, hopeless, and even tired and annoyed. However, after reading these scriptures for the second time, I realized, thanks to the Holy Spirit, three things you can practice to lead your annoyance towards godly action. One, as a believer of Christ Jesus, I am in covenant with Him and therefore, I have authority over every demonic force (Luke 10:19, Luke 9:1). He (the Holy Spirit) that is in me is greater than he (the devil) that is in the world. Two, troubling circumstances are also opportunities to put my trust in God and keep my focus on God. Let me fix my eyes on Jesus for He is the author and finisher of my faith. Three, these are also opportunities to pull out two of my weapons (prayer and praise). Besides meditating on the Word of God, prayer and praise are other weapons to aid me in my battles. Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God instead of latching on to their despair.

Victory will come along.

Just keep on.

Keep praying,

And stay focused on Him too.

Keep praising God,

For He will see you through.

What has you in despair or frustrated? What things have you learned to healthily cope? What godly actions do you take to combat against your trials and tribulations? Why is it not a good thing to just avoid issues and circumstances? How does God want us to face them?