“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
“Backed yourself into a corner, didn’t you?” My five-year-old daughter loves Uno and loves to taunt me when I play a letter card requiring another card, a card I need to find from the ‘draw’ pile.
Although I don’t argue with her about ‘backing myself into a corner,’ I do often argue with myself and with God when I do other dumb things. I look for justification. The many reasons why the fault lies elsewhere.
Sometimes, like the prodigal son, (Luke 15:17-19) I rehearse how to apologize. I rationalize why I should be extended some grace, why I should be forgiven.
The prodigal son appeared truly repentant in verses 17-19; at least for where his actions had carried him. He was poor, friendless, hungry. He realized he didn’t arrive where he wanted to be.
How often do we regret choices we have made only when faced with the negative consequences?
However, the action is not where the derailment began. What happened in his heart, what attitude set up shop in his mind, to set the course for his actions?
He seemed to think that he needed more, he deserved more than what life was offering him. He wanted to go out into the world, sow his wild oats, and just see for himself what the world had to offer him. And he had a plan to get his heart’s desire: get his inheritance, NOW. He had it coming to him, why wait? Why can’t he have it now?
I wonder if he ever evaluated the before of his actions, if he ever apologized for the hardening of his heart or the negativity of his thoughts which eventually led to his self-centered actions.
Monday: How do I react when I ‘back myself into a corner?’ Do I look for others to carry the blame?
Tuesday: Do I ever evaluate how I got there, aside from my actions, truly scrutinizing my thoughts and attitudes?
Wednesday: How do I see the pattern for sin? Where do I define the beginning?
Thursday: When I realize my mistakes, do I surrender my actions, my attitudes, and my heart to the Lord?
Friday Prayer: Lord, Thank you so very much for openly offering Your forgiveness, Your grace, and Your mercy to cover my mistakes. Mistakes of actions, mistakes of thoughts, mistakes of attitude. Please work in my heart to align my attitude with that which glorifies You. Please take my self-centeredness from me and truly turn my heart toward You. Thank you for Your limitless grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you for reading! Please return by Monday, August 26, for the next post.