Heart Guard

I am so blessed, I get to go to work today! Sierra thought as she jumped from bed minutes before the alarm sounded.

Humming happily, she buzzed through her workout and breezed into the shower. Smiling as she shampooed, she thought of how she might create today.

Her first commissioned work was foremost on her mind.  She needed to do her ultimate best to boost her work, promote the studio, and hopefully someday earn a comfortable living.

How blessed am I to use my gifts, my passion, to glorify God. Stepping out onto the fluffy, white towel, she suddenly stopped; realizing something which halted her heart.

All week I’ve been thinking of and planning for work each morning, breaking my routine of focusing my thoughts on the Lord. I’m so anxious to use the gifts He gave me, to see what I might accomplish in a career, and so excited to finally see the end product; I’m more focused on what I might create than the Creator who gave me the gift.

Sierra slowly toweled off, her heart deeply troubled. “Lord I didn’t mean for my love of my art to overtake my love for You.”

Proverbs 4:23 quickly came to mind, “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Her heart had hung all week on her artwork, her masterpiece-in-the-making. It was filling her final thoughts as she drifted off to sleep and consuming her conscience as she awoke each day. It was forever on her mind, always the top priority.

Not today, she thought, shaking her head. She turned on the Christian radio station, streams of Scripture flowing through the lyrics, soothing her longing soul.

After completing her grooming, she carried her Bible to the breakfast table, vowing to start her day with Jesus. She began a conversation that she would revisit throughout the day.

Can you relate to Sierra? I know I have. I can get so excited about an assignment, especially when ministry related, sometimes I forget the true purpose in pointing life toward God.

In the work He gives us, He wants us serving Him, loving Him. What a blessing to enjoy the assignment! But we need to be on guard that the assignment we get to do does not overtake the position of the One who assigned it to us.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember our hearts are to be first and foremost overflowing for God, not for our God-given assignments.

 

The Prodigal’s Problem Thought

“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.

Reflections:

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.