John Eldredge’s monthly newsletter in February contained some great commentary about guarding your heart. This has been our focus at ManSchool over the past few weeks. Read these and see if they help you…
“One of the spirits of our age is a spirit of surrender. You see it in the world as “a soft acceptance of all things.” For the Christian it brings a kind of weariness of heart that causes us to drop our guard. Prayer seems like a hassle; going to small group (ManSchool at 6am!) seems irritating; holding onto the truth seems unnecessary. It is, in fact, a spirit of Defeat, and its subtle approach is to get folks to surrender. Bit by bit, month by month, it wears away at our spiritual strength, the strength of our hearts. That is why we need to be strengthened.”
So here are some ideas that will help strengthen your heart…
- Turn down the noise. We are bombarded every day – commercials in taxis, at gas pumps, in elevators, on our computers, our phones. Wherever you can, turn down the noise in your life. Use your drive time for quiet, for something that enriches you.
- Turn off the news. Really – I mean it. The news is a product sold every day; evil sells. “Three children were told today they are loved” doesn’t make headlines; “Three children found dead” does. The evil one uses the news to celebrate darkness. Turn it off.
- Forgive. Bitterness and resentment eat away at the heart like cancer. It is time to let it go.
- Name your fears. Turn them over to Christ. Fear is also a cancer usually felt as worry. Name it. Lay it at the feet of Jesus. Every day if you have to.
- Play worship music. In the background of your home, your car. For one thing, the demons hate it and don’t like to be around it. But more so, it enriches your spirit, mind and heart.
- Stay with one truth at a time. Distraction doesn’t nourish. Pick one truth God brings you and spend a week with it before you rush on to the next thing. Marinate.
- Sabbath. I don’t mean an hour at church and then grocery shopping, paying bills and homework. I mean, where is the rest in your life? Weekly, what do you do for Sabbath?
- One night a week. Most of you are running hard; the pace of life is in itself an assault. Give one night a week to quiet, to God, to joy, to whatever strengthens your heart. It won’t be TV; television does not strengthen the heart.
- Recover what once brought you joy. What was it? Running? Playing an instrument? Reading? Taking walks? Go take it back; joy strengthens the heart.
- Distance your self from draining people. I don’t mean stop loving; I mean set some boundaries for heaven’s sake. This may be hard but the relief is worth it.
- Beauty. You need beauty in your life – nature, music, visual beauty. It is life.
- Pray Ephesians 3:14-19. For yourself, often. This is God’s will for you – that you be strengthened by his power deep within. My goodness – ask for it!!
- Tell Jesus you love him. Several times a day. As we make a practice of loving Jesus, it strengthens our hearts because this above all else is what your heart is made for.
Please understand we live in soul-draining times. The enemy very much wants to break the power of God’s people. And remember – an affair doesn’t happen in a day, nor does an addiction, or a suicide. All the woes of the human heart happen over time, subtly at first, as we yield to surrender, to the spirit of Defeat.
You do not want to surrender your heart, not in these times, not when you need every bit of strength you can possibly find. Strengthen your heart. Seek those things out that Jesus is using to strengthen your heart.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.