Monday, October 17, 2011

Guarding Our Hearts – Keeping the Devil Aloof

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to, "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." (NKJV)

I love the castle illustration that Charles Spurgeon used in his sermon, "As Thy Days, So Shall Thy Strength Be." At one point in the sermon he speaks of the crafty devil and how he knows the backdoor to a man’s heart. In pointing out how some say they are able to walk a pure life without sin, he clearly warns to be careful with that statement. He wrote: 

"'Satan is very crafty; he knows the ins and outs of manhood. There is many an old castle that has stood against every attack, but at last some traitor from within has gone without, and said "I know an old deserted passage, a subterranean back way, that has not been used for many a-day. In such and such a field you will see an opening; clear away a heap of stones there, and I will lead you down the passage: you will then come to an old door, of which I have the key and I can let you in; and so by a back way I can lead you into the very heart of the citadel, which you may then easily capture." It is so with Satan. Man knoweth not himself so well as Satan knows him. There are back ways and subterranean passages into man's heart which the devil doth well understand. and he who thinketh that he is safe, let him take heed lest he fall.'"

The Mysterious Handwriting of God!
The story reminded me of another passage of Scripture in which a King reigning over Babylon was about to be destroyed in a similar way. Daniel 5 records the story of the "Handwriting on the Wall." King Belshazzar had disdained and profaned the Lord God by using captured Jewish Temple Vessels as the cups for their drinking party to the false gods. The Handwriting simply predicted the end of Belshazzar’s kingdom. But Belshazzar was not worried; for the impregnable walls and nine gates to the city of Babylon had for decades been able to thwart any onslaught of the enemy creating a false sense of security for the King. Yet the night the mysterious handwriting appeared, while Belshazzar was celebrating a feast to the moon God "Sin,"** a chink was found in his armor. The Persian armies had encamped around the city having stationed soldiers on the north and south sides of the city. The river Euphrates, which ran through the center of the city, was then diverted toward a nearby lake allowing the waters of the river to recede low enough, for the soldiers to enter the city and take control. Just as the Handwriting stated, that very night He was killed and lost his kingdom, Dan 5:30, 31.

The story aptly illustrates our need to always wear the whole armor of God, Eph. 6:10-18.  Out of our hearts spring the issues of life. In this sense the word heart becomes synonymous with our thought and mind, the battlefield on which spiritual struggles take place. The enemy is keen, and so we must always be on guard. Christians who are concerned with having a close relationship with God will make sure that they live each day in an attitude of prayer--and that without ceasing--and a strong study of the Word of God. Both of these things are necessary to receive the strength and the empowerment of God through the Holy Spirit for ammunition on this field of battle. It only takes one slip for the enemy to enter and wreak havoc. Seasoned Christians know this all too well. Because of this we sound the warning.

Oh how the Lord desires this close fellowship with us all. If we realized in fullness the things that God has planned for each of us individually, then surely we would take the pains to more diligent in drawing closer to the Lord. Do not allow Satan a foothold, guard your heart diligently!

I Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

God Bless

Bro. Mike

**For more Information, see, P. A. Beaulieu, The Reign of Nabonidus King of Babylon 556-539 B.C. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1989), 219-232.