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Protecting Your heart

Let all bitches unite is what came out of the second born’s mouth as her innocent heart, read the t-shirt of the ladies in the Target parking lot.

Our kids are were homeschooled. Living that sheltered life is pretty common for homeschoolers. Wade and I do our best to introduce them to the music and movies of our childhood. The Goonies and Sandlot have done their job to share the occasional curse word. What about the occasional sh** that comes with the stumping of your toe or the loud sneeze? (It’s a natural sound when you sneeze right?!?). But yet these words seem to slip right over their heads without much thought and rarely any discussion. Their innocence overcoming the ways of the world.

My oldest once asked, “Mom, will you tell me all of the cuss words so that I will know not to say them?” I decided that telling her a list of cuss words was the worst idea I could ever do. Although my heart wants to be the first to tell her the perversion of the world so that I can combat it with the Truth, I realized at this moment that filling her mind with inappropriate words would only fuel the temptation that the enemy loves to tease us with. Especially when it comes to the minds of our children.

After some giggles sitting in the Target parking lot, Wade and I looked back and realized our second-born had no idea what she had just blurted out. With blanks stares wondering what in the world had just happened, we knew it was time to respond.

Our discussion wasn’t about the list of cuss words or dos and don’ts on things we should and shouldn’t say. Rather it was about the Heart.

Your Heart.

The words, the slang, the way we speak will always take new forms when culture shifts and new generations come along and decide a new word in the Urban Dictionary is in order. However, it’s the heart behind the words that often depict their meaning.

I taught a Bible Study at our local group a few months back about Nehemiah. Nehemiah saw a need among his people and decided to leave the comforts of his position in order to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall of the city. The city had previously been in ruins and the people were in captivity due to years of disobedience. Nehemiah prayed and then he acted.

What can we learn about the wall Nehemiah built and the heart we must protect?

God used Nehemiah’s position to grant him everything he needed to get the job done. The materials, the finances and even the labor thru the releasing of Israel, so that together, the wall could be rebuilt. The wall was constructed in sections based on where each family was located and the gates were the last to be completed. There was 10 “openings” total and all were to have gates, therefore limiting access to the city during certain parts of the day. Because a wall is a fortitude of protection and without closed gates, the enemy would have access to the people when they least expected.

Only ONE gate remained open at all times. This was the Sheep Gate. This gate was a clear opening for the sheep and the shepherd to roam in and out freely to and from the city. This gate allowed all sacrifices to enter the city unhindered, therefore it was referred to as “Sanctified.”

How are we protecting our hearts?

When dealing with our hearts, we must learn where our “gates” are located. You know, those areas that need to be strengthened and sometimes denied access. Maybe it’s comparison. Once you allow that social media feed into your life, your weakness of comparison wears you down and leaves you feeling doubtful about your own dreams, your own successes, and your own decisions. It’s time to shut that gate. Maybe it’s greed or envy and it’s time to shut that gate with adding more generosity in your life and reminding yourself it’s better to give than to receive. Maybe it’s a toxic relationship or friendship. You have given them too much access to your heart and it’s time to shut that gate.

There is ONE gate that should always remain open.

This is the place in our heart that allows full access to Our Great Shepherd to lead and connect with us in an intimate manner. This open place in our heart can leave us feeling vulnerable, but the availability it gives to Our Father to come and go and speak to us is truly life-giving.

Jesus warns us in Matthew that out of the overflow of our heart, the mouth speaks. Even referring to them as a brood of vipers (an evil creature). I don’t want to be known as someone with a loose tongue, much less an evil creature. Honestly, I don’t think anyone (who is a Jesus believer) wants to be known for such. However, the reality is, whatever is in your heart, will eventually come out of your mouth.

Sometimes as Christians we can place ourselves in the self-righteous category. If we don’t drink, if we aren’t gay, if we are faithful to our spouse, if we give to the poor, we can assume we have this Christian life down pat. We can coast through life avoiding the bigger sins, forgetting that one of the vilest weapons could be found in our tongue.

You have the power of life and death in your tongue.

Ever been Christian Cussed? I have. It’s time spent with someone who is a believer but yet belittles you with Righteous self-talk. They use Bible verses in order to shame you and advice that is controlling and manipulative. Christian Cussing can hurt worse than worldly cussing and leave you wondering what you did wrong in the eyes of our Father. Christian Cussing can leave you full of shame over your past. It can cause you to question what Jesus says and push you further away from the One who longs for your whole heart.

We must protect our hearts.

How do we do that?

  1. Keep ONE gate open at all times. Jesus is the only One who should have full access to your heart at all times. Because He is a gentleman, this access should come in the form of an invitation. Sit with Him and invite Him into all parts of your life.
  2. Monitor your intake. Write down your struggles. Get over yourself and do a true evaluation of where you need to improve. If you can’t find a weak area, then that’s a weak area. Identify the “gates” that you need to shut, open and/ or repair in your heart. And then monitor what is coming into your heart. Keep your intake more about God and less about the world.
  3. Find accountability. Nehemiah did not take on this task of rebuilding the wall alone. He found families and workers alongside the wall that were near and close to the task that needed to be complete. If you are struggling with comparison, find someone in your life that has overcome this and ask for help. If you are struggling in your marriage, find a strong marriage and ask them for prayer.
  4. Use your words to speak Life. As you sow seeds of life to others, you will also reap words of Life. But remember, flattery isn’t real so if you’re only saying it for a response, then your only reward may be, making yourself feel good. Speak Life to others because He is Life and Life more abundantly. Smile. Buy someone’s lunch. Pray for someone out loud. Send a card.

As John Crist says… check your heart.

Wade and Tiffany Nagy

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