Remember Steve Irwin? The Crocodile Hunter? He lived life on the edge. And his shows were exciting to watch. Do you recall how he died?
Many people thought a crocodile would finally take his life, or at least claim a limb. Irwin survived many dangers. Countless snake bites. Being chased up a tree by a deadly Komodo dragon. Spat on by a red spitting cobra. And being pulled into the water by a massive crocodile. But none of those claimed his life.
On Sept, 4, 2006, while taking a break from filming a documentary on “The Ocean’s Deadliest,” Irwin came across a 5 ft wide stingray and began to follow it.
Stingrays are called the “pussycats of the sea” because of their docile nature. However, Irwin got too close and the Stingray’s poisonous barbed tail went into Irwin’s chest and pierced his heart. He was only the 17th person in the world known to have been killed by a stingray.
Just like an attack on our physical heart can take our life, so it is with our spiritual heart. In Proverbs 4:23, we are admonished “Guard your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
The Bible uses the word “heart” to refer to the whole being. Your mind. Your emotions. Your conscience. And your will. The devil will attack your most vulnerable area. He may try to confuse your thinking, arouse illicit feelings, salve your conscience or weaken your will.
So the wise man warns us to guard the heart. Guard means to watch. To keep. To preserve. To protect it from dangers. And what are some dangers that we need to guard against?
(1) Ignorance. The Devil would like blind our hearts and keep us ignorant of God’s Word (Eph. 4:18). He would occupy our time with personal pleasure so there is no time for Bible study. He would lead us to believe that Bible study is too difficult. Besides, what difference does it make, as long as we’re honest and sincere?
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). A knowledge of truth will free us from the bondage of sin and the danger of spiritual ignorance.
It’s possible to be destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Guard your heart!
(2) Immorality. Jesus said that moral issues are problems of the heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt 15:19).
The reason there is so much immorality today is because of spiritual heart problems. We are attacked by television shows, movies and images on the internet that appeal to the lusts of the eyes and the flesh. Lurid literature that arouse lewd feelings assault the heart.
The temptation to be immoral is ever-present. Guard your heart!
(3) Improper attitudes. While we may be successful in guarding the heart against lusts, too many allow attitudinal problems to assail the heart. Pride, partiality, prejudice are problems of the heart that can spiritually harm us.
The Bible warns, But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (Jas 3:14-16).
Wrong attitudes manifest themselves in wrong actions. Guard your heart!
The issues of life, good and bad, originate in the heart. Diligently guard your heart. And honestly ask, “Is my heart right with God?”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman