August 31, 2018
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Hipster. Antique. Vibrant. Faded.
Not the latest style or a band name. Those are photo filters in one of my apps. And I rarely post a picture without one.
Editing shadows, softening blemishes or unsightly details has become the new "reality" in an Instagram- and Facebook-riddled culture. I don’t particularly enjoy showing my flaws to the world. Who does?! No real harm, right?
With something as trivial as social media, sure. But I wonder if the edits to appear "picture-perfect" might be causing me to miss the bigger picture.
It’s not easy to admit, but it's nonetheless true: I usually put better filters on my selfies than I do on my heart.
Fixing the not-so-lovely details is easy to do with an app, but it's a little harder in this broken world. Deep down, I know I should be more focused on what I’m taking in - who I’m becoming. When I quiet the noise of social media and get alone with the Lord, I'm reminded that my heart, not my appearance or what I project to the world, is what matters most. Sometimes my actions just don't line up with my intentions though. Have you been there, too?
The wise author of Proverbs understood the importance of guarding the heart - the soul - the most precious part of who God created us to be. He reveals such a powerful truth when he implores, “Above all else, guard your heart ..." (Proverbs 4:23a).
The eternal piece of us ... what Christ came to redeem and inhabit.
Why? Because “everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23b).
Actions. Thoughts. Feelings. Emotions. Passions. Drive. Hopes.
Every. Single. Little. Thing.
In biblical wisdom, the heart is viewed as the core of human existence - the center of our spirituality and true essence of who we are. The heart is also compared to a well from which all we think, feel and do flows. This makes it abundantly clear: What we allow into our hearts matters. A lot.
If we aren't careful to guard what goes into that sacred space, we're in danger of being polluted by muck that has the potential to steer our hearts away from the very One who fashioned us. All that is true, honest, lovely, pure, holy, godly: Those are the things we should allow to shape the most intimate part of our being. Everything else should be edited, cropped or filtered out.
But how do we safeguard our hearts? Philippians 4:6-7 gives us three powerful tools in the Apostle Paul's instructions: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (ESV).
Prayer, supplication (requests) and thanksgiving is the 1-2-3 punch God has given us to effectively protect our hearts. When we talk to God, wisdom for decisions is available in abundance. By letting prayer, petitions and thanksgiving lead, our hearts are then rooted in a place of peace, safety and connection with Truth.
Filters for selfies may be just fine. But what we need to focus on is who and what we allow into our hearts.
Each of us was created to be captivated by God alone. The portrait of a heart and life being developed through the lens of God's Truth is one that reveals what this world desperately needs to see. And guess what?
No (selfie) filter required.
Dear God, I admit I sometimes care more about what I project to the world than about what goes into my heart. My heart was made for You. Forgive me for opening it to things or people You don’t want in my life. I ask You to give me wisdom about how to protect this beautiful heart You’ve entrusted me with while revealing Your great love to all I meet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 7:1, "Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what areas of your life do you need to put up protective filters or safeguards for your heart? Write them down, and commit to praying this daily for the next week:
May my life be the pages upon which He writes His symphony, my soul the canvas upon which He paints His Masterpiece. May each moment and every breath reveal His defining mark - that I am His, and He is mine, and that He has my heart.
© 2018 by Jenny Wheeler. All rights reserved.