Protect Your Core

This entry is part two of Beliefs Are Powerful

Because a heart is such fertile soil Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard it!

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

This spring I had several opportunities to consider this life principle while out running. Spring in Gunnison is windy. Though the skies may be blue and the sun shining down, the icy cold wind coming off the mountains is chilly!

One day I headed out for a run believing that it was warmer outside than it was. Spring in Gunnison brings temperatures soaring into the high 30’s and low 40’s, which we ‘Gunnison-ites’ tend to mistake as a heat wave! So, without gloves, hat or jacket I headed out with the wind at my back thinking, “Hmmm… it’s a little chilly, Oh Well!” When it was time to turn around I was still “chilly,” and a little sweaty, not a good sign. Turning to head home, the cold, icy blast of spring wind took my breath away. I was now very cold, and 20-minutes from home. Bummer.

Wind found every possible entry through my clothes to get its icy fingers deep into my core. I started thinking about Jesus telling his disciples what would begin to happen as the end of this age drew to an end:

10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)

That phrase, the love of most will grow cold, has been resonating in me. Not some, not a couple, but the love of MOST will grow cold because of the increase of wickedness. How could this happen? How could so many hearts become iced over, uncaring, unloving?

When we lay aside our times of intimacy with Christ our hearts get cold and we draw back into ourselves and stop serving.

Physically, when our body gets cold, blood is diverted to our core in an attempt to keep our temperature up. Our heart is here, at the ‘core’ of our bodies, and must be kept warm. The result is cold hands and feet as the warm blood is kept close to our heart.

God told us to serve each other, that the one who serves the most is the greatest leader of all. He told us to “go” and that the feet bringing the good news of the gospel are beautiful. The first outward sign of a heart growing cold is spiritually cold “hands” and “feet.” We begin pulling back from serving others, we stop going where or doing what God has called us to do. As a jacket can protect us from the wind outside, time of intimacy with God can protect us from offense, strife, fear or discontentment that is bombarding our heart.

When we forget to guard our heart, allowing it to get cold, we stop serving and we stop going as Jesus told us to do. I see quite frequently people saying they “just need a break” to work on their relationship with God. In fact, I am certain that I have done this many times myself. Yet, I have found it only an excuse to not deal with a difficult relationship or problem in our own hearts. God never asks us to do something that he is not willing to do, or something that is outside of His nature. To stop serving is to pull away from a part of His heart and His best for us.

There are habits that we can build into our lives that are like the jacket that protects us from getting too cold when the temperatures outside drop. We can build these habits into our lives to act as protective layers for our hearts from the cold winds of this life.

It is important to build intimacy with Christ into our lives. God desires our constant communion, and when we are in every moment consumed with thoughts of Him, we begin to see life, situations and people the way he does. We will desire what he desires and do what he does. Our perspective will change. When people are thoughtless, hateful or hurtful we will be able to see a greater perspective and it will “roll right off our back” instead of being an icy blast to our heart that makes us want to stick our hands in our pockets.

My hands, feet and ears tend to be cold during the winter no matter how many layers I pile on. That got me thinking about the purpose of a hat and gloves. Most of the body’s heat is lost through the head. I find it a fascinating spiritual correlation that most of the battles we fight are won or lost in our heads through thoughts. Here’s how it works: A thought of faith or of doubt enters our mind. We think about it. We ask someone else about it. We ponder it some more. We gather life experience to see how it measures up to this new thought. We form a conclusion, a belief sets root in our heart.

If we are wise, we have learned to think about what we think about. We must learn to guard our minds and allow God’s word to be the basis for all of our thoughts. Thoughts that do not line up with his truth need to be promptly disposed of. The habit to form is simply spending time reading your Bible. God’s word transforms our mind and thoughts. God’s word is a standard by which all other thoughts should be measured. If you are not familiar with what it says, if you have left your “hat” at home on a particularly cold day, you will be susceptible to losing much “heat” to the worlds ways of thinking, losing faith in the things that God has promised, because the thoughts bombarding you have nothing to stop them.

Remember – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life! Protect your core – your heart, through intimacy with Christ. With our eyes fixed on Him we will love what He loves and continue serving those around us. Keep your thoughts in line with His Word – think about your thoughts because they will become life-shaping beliefs.