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Why You Must Guard Your Heart...

...and Protect Your Home
Psalm 119:9-16

How can we guard our minds? How can we guard the minds and hearts of our children? God has given them into our care, to nurture and raise for Him in the ways of God.

Yet not only adults but also our children are being destroyed by a problem so pervasive, yet seemingly so small, feeding on minds, destroying resistance, that they are in greater danger today than children in pioneer days, who were raised on the wild frontier.

It’s a danger lurking everywhere. Parents can set up certain parameters in their home to protect their children from a great deal of the corruption and decay so prevalent in our culture. But what about parents themselves—and every believer, of whatever age?

In our study this time, we’re closely examining the message “Guard Your Heart,” to be aired this month, a message that deals with how we as believers live in a way that honors Christ while surrounded by a culture of evil, wickedness, pornography, and depravity.

1. Turn in your Bible to Psalm 119. We’ll be studying verses 9 through 16.

Psalm 119 sets out seven specific things we can do to guard our hearts and minds and protect our homes and families against the tidal wave of a decaying society. As you read our passage, fill in some key words.

9 Wherewithal shall a young man _____________ his way? By taking ______ thereto according to Thy ________.
10 With my ________  ________ have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.
11 Thy ________ have I hid in mine _________, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art Thou, O Lord: __________ me Thy ______________.
13 With my _______ have I _________________ all the judgments of Thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Thy _________________, as much as in all riches.
15 I will _________________ in Thy precepts, and have ______________ unto Thy _______.
16 I will _____________ myself in Thy statutes: I will not _____________ Thy ____________.

2. The Bible has much to say about the mind. Sometimes it uses the term “heart” interchangeably with “mind.” Here are some verses where you’ll find that. They are probably familiar to you.

a. Proverbs 4:23 “Keep [guard] your ___________ with all diligence, for out of it are the __________ of ________.”

The heart is really “ground-zero” for us. It is the seat of our emotions.

 b. Proverbs 23:7 “As a man _________________ in his heart, so ____ he.”

 c. Romans 8:6 “To be carnally ______________ is ____________.”

 d. Colossians 1:21 “And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your ____________ by _______________  ___________, yet now hath He reconciled.”

 e. Proverbs 15:26 “The ___________________ of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord.”

Our thoughts, minds, hearts and actions are all intertwined. In one of Shakespeare’s plays, King Henry IV says to his son, “Thy wish is father, Harry, to that thought.” In other words, our opinions or beliefs are often influenced by our desires and hopes.

The thought, Shakespeare is saying, is born out of the wish you have. And our wishes originate in our hearts, which, as we’ve just said, is “the seat of our emotions.” A later version of this saying is one we’re all familiar with: “The thought is father of the deed.” King Solomon diagnosed the problem millennia ago when He observed, as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).  

3. Thoughts-emotions-mind-heart: they are all intertwined. Thus the Scripture says, “Guard your heart,” and…

a. Philippians 2:5 Let this __________ be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

b. 1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the ________ of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the ________ of Christ.

c. 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your _______, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:13, we’re told to get our minds ready for action, then Peter goes straight to emotions:

  • “be sober” that is, in spirit be steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert
  • “hope” have confidence in the outcome.  The mind prepares the heart with hope and confidence for action. Our minds and hearts will determine what we do. Thus it’s so important to guard them.  

It’s as important to guard our mind as it is to guard our treasure, our homes, and our physical bodies.

We wear protective gear in sports. We keep our valuables locked away in a bank or safety deposit box. Many have a security or alarm system guarding their homes.  But then we allow our minds to roam around freely—to watch whatever we desire, to go to movies we know contain salacious material, we play music with lyrics that grieve the heart of God, we laugh at grotesque TV sitcoms, we listen to gossip from a friend, we let our eyes rest too long on that magazine cover in the grocery aisle. Where our minds are concerned, some of us have no guard rail up at all.

We check the food safety rating of local restaurants, but then go dumpster–diving in our minds! And the enemy of our soul is having a field day. No wonder God cautions, “Guard your heart.” We must guard our minds so we can protect our homes and children.

God gives seven steps for a clean thought life in Psalm 119. If you put into practice what Psalm 119 is instructing us to do, by God’s grace you will guard your heart, control your thought life, and protect your home. If you don’t, no matter how good your intentions are, you’re going to fail.

Going verse by verse, the first step is

I. PURIFICATION

4.  “…9 Wherewithal shall a young man __________ his ______?…” (v. 9)

The first step is to start out being cleansed. Think of the Lord Jesus Christ coming into your mind and doing spring house cleaning, purging everything that’s not what it ought to be. He promises to do that.

5. Turn to 1 John 1:9

 “If we ____________ our sins, He is _____________ and just to _____________ us our sins and to ______________ us from all unrighteousness.”

Aren’t you glad He is faithful!

A CLOSER LOOK AT “CONFESS”

When you “confess,” it means you are ready to agree with God about your sin. It’s not merely saying “I’ve done such and such,” but “I agree with You, God. What You’re saying about my sin, I’m willing to say too.” When you make that confession, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse you, no matter what has been in your mind or what kind of rut is there. In the Word of God you’ll find this cleansing. Jesus said, “You are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).

No matter what your thought life has been, no matter how vile or obscene, you can be as clean and pure as the driven snow. The Lord Jesus Christ will make you perfectly, completely clean.

6. Turn to John 2:24-25. Jesus Christ already knows what is in your heart.

24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He __________ all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was ____ man.

Since the Lord Jesus Christ already knows exactly what’s in your mind and heart, there’s no use continuing to try to avoid this cleansing. And why would you want to?
Step One is that we must cleanse our way.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE WORD “WAY”

The word “way” in this verse is the same word used for carving a groove or a rut into a road. It commonly happens when something has been driven over that spot of ground repeatedly.

Satan is busily about cutting a groove, a track, in many people’s minds. All he really has to do is lay out the bait—the temptation—and people willingly carve the “way” themselves. Have you ever been around people that no matter what you say, they’re going to make something suggestive out of it.  This “way” or groove is like a secret addiction.

6. Turn to Jeremiah 11:8.

Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear. They walked every one in the ____________________ of their evil _____________.

a. Look at the earlier verses in this chapter. What has made the Lord angry with His people (see v. 3-4)?

Everyone was following in the thought processes of hearts that were overtaken by evil! God knows our hearts, and He doesn’t need a lie detector or a written confession to know what’s true about us.

b. Turn to Matthew 5:28. This is part of what famous sermon?

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his ___________.”

Mental adultery.

If you’re going to guard your heart, the first step is cleansing—purification—and confession. By the way, this applies not just to the sin of wrong thinking, but any unconfessed, unrepented-of sin.

II. DETERMINATION

7. Back to our passage in Psalm 119.
With my _________  __________ have I sought Thee…” (v. 10)

Some will never have victory because they’re half-hearted rather than whole-hearted. No one has ever won a moral victory half-heartedly. God wants us to serve Him with a whole heart. He mentions it many times: 

a. Turn to Deuteronomy 4:29

But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord Thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with ________ Thy ____________ and with_____ Thy soul.”

b. Jeremiah 29:11 is a popular verse (“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord your God….”), often quoted today. But just two verses later, God adds:

“13 And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with ______ your heart.

And James adds,

 “A ____________-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” James 1:8.

To be double-minded is to be half-hearted.

If you don’t say, “Oh God, with all my heart I determine to be pure” and mean it, in today’s society, you are going to fall. Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). Have you purposed in your heart? God does business with those who mean business.

After you have confessed and asked to be cleansed, it doesn’t mean the battle is over and you can lean back and take a nap. You must remain watchful. Remember, “…Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end.” (1 Peter 1:13)
But the battle will never be enjoined until you commit with all your heart. After you get clean, determine in your heart by God’s grace say, to say, “I will stay clean.” In college I kept a motto on my desk which read, “He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slippery places.”      

One of Satan’s tools destroying people’s hearts and minds, if not their eternal soul, is pornography. Would you be shocked to learn that the use of pornography is almost as prevalent among believers as unbelievers? It is a deadly poison, a predator that will grab and imprison you. And today pornography isn’t something you have to pick up in a back alley; it’s gone mainstream.

III. FORTIFICATION.

8. “Thy Word have I hid ___ mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” (v. 11)

You can be determined, but you need the Word of God fortifying you on the inside.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Once you’ve cleaned out space in your heart, fill it with the Word of God. But the Word has to be in your heart, not on a book stand.

TO BE “FORTIFIED,” MEMORIZE THE WORD OF GOD

One of the greatest weapons against pornography is hiding God’s word in your heart. Scripture is the Word of God, the mind of God. When you have Scripture in your heart and mind, you’re thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Casual reading of the Bible is like a bee flitting over the surface of a flower. Memorization is like the bee going down into the heart of the flower, gathering the nectar, taking it back to the hive, and making honey out of it.

Memorizing Scripture helps you remember what you ought to remember and forget what you ought to forget. If you want to teach your children to live victoriously, teach them to memorize Scripture and reward them for memorizing it.

9. Turn to Philippians 4:8-9. Once the Word of God is down in your heart through memorization, it will give you things to think upon.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are _______, whatsoever things are ____________, whatsoever things are _______, whatsoever things are _______, whatsoever things are ___________, whatsoever things are of ________ report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, ___________ on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, ___: and the God of peace shall be with you.
You can choose your thoughts like you choose your friends. Like a metal detector at an airport, set a guard over your mind. Certain things you just don’t let through. Screen them with these tests:

  • the reliance test. “Whatsoever things are true.” Can you rely on it? Is it true?
  • the respect test.Whatsoever things are honest.” (in Greek, honorable) Don’t let anything dishonorable into your mind.
  • the rightness test. Whatsoever things are just.” The word “just” here means that which is straight. Don’t let any crooked, warped thinking into your mind.
  • the reverence test. “Whatsoever things are pure,” free from contamination.
  • the relationship test. “Whatsoever things are lovely.” That doesn’t mean beautiful to look at but is a combination of two Greek words and means moving towards love. If it causes you to love, if it moves you to love, then you think about it.
  • The refinement test. “Whatsoever things are of good report.” Whatever you allow in your life, sift it through this sieve: “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

God made you where you can’t think two thoughts at one time. If you’re thinking what is right, you cannot be thinking what is wrong. And the way not to think what is wrong is to think what is right.

That’s the reason the Bible gives us a list of things to think about, found in the Word of God. Fortify yourself with the Word of God. When you have the Word of God in you, you’re thinking God’s thoughts. The thought is dress rehearsal for the deed.

Jesus said, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This well-known verse must have been the basis for the saying,

“Sow a thought, reap a deed.
Sow a deed, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

It all begins with in your thought life. James Allen said, “Good thoughts bear good fruit. Bad thoughts bear bad fruit. And man is his own gardener.”

PORNOGRAPHY IS THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE

One of the worst things about pornography is that it is the opposite of love. Love wants to give. Lust wants to get. Pornography looks upon people as objects, things to be used, rather than persons to be truly loved. So ask yourself, is this causing me to have an attitude of love toward somebody else? Or is it causing me to look at someone made in the image of God in a way that’s less than loving?

Here’s what won’t work: Don’t try not to think impure thoughts, because while you’re trying not to think impure thoughts, you’re thinking about the impure thoughts you’re trying not to think about! It’s a Catch-22, a vicious trap.

When you are suddenly confronted with something—say you’re walking through the mall and you’re confronted with a salacious image—think about it in the light of God’s word. It’s not only a matter of what you think about, but how you think about these things. The Christian mind and the non-Christian mind may think about the same things, but they don’t think about the same things the same way. Process it through what you know in the Word of God.

If your child is with you, make it a teaching moment. Say, “Sweetheart, what does God’s Word say about that? How do we see that?” Never willingly bring your mind to anything like that, but when you have to face something like, face it through the lens of God’s Word.

IV. VITALIZATION

10. Ask God to bring it to life within you!

Blessed art Thou, O LORD: __________  ____ Thy statutes.”(v. 12)

Facts and memory alone aren’t enough—even Bible facts. Ask God to teach you.

Turn fortification into prayer:
Now, O God, teach me. Vitalize it. Make it real to make. I just don’t want to be rattling off memory verses. O God, make it real in my heart.”
Ask God to put His hand upon you. Don’t think for a moment you can do it by yourself. The Holy Spirit in you will take the Word of God, which is living and alive, and will vitalize it to you.

V. VERBALIZATION

11. “With my lips have I _______________ all the judgments of Thy mouth.” (v. 13)

Keep the Word of God on your lips. When you memorize it, begin to verbalize it. Begin to speak it in your conversation with others. Or just speak it out loud to God and to your own spirit. You may sing it. Singing Scripture songs is one of the best things you can do to have the Word of God on your lips. When you begin to give the Word of God away, the Word sticks to you. It’s a reflector. You cannot study, prepare, think, pray, and proclaim it without it saturating you. I find myself sometimes repeating passages of Scripture that I never even intended to memorize because I’ve been reading, studying, and preaching it.

Learn to speak the Word of God. Share the Word of God. Sing the Word of God.
Just the very speaking of God’s Word gives will strengthen you.

12. Turn to Revelation 12:11. Look at the power of speaking the Word:

And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and the ________  of their _______________. And they loved not their lives unto the death.”

  • Speak your testimony to others of what God has done and is doing in your life.
  • But also speak it to yourself. Say, “I belong to You, Lord Jesus, you’re mine.”

Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

  • Give your testimony to the devil. Yes, the devil. The next time Satan gets on your trail with some fault, something foul, some temptation, you can say to him:

“Devil, I want to tell you something. Your back was broken at Calvary. You are defeated. You have no right in my life. You have no authority in my life. I belong to Jesus Christ. My body, heart, soul, mind are His. You’re trespassing on my Father’s property. And in the name of Jesus, be gone!”  

Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.

Resist the devil. He will flee from you. Learn to verbalize the Word of God.

VI. EVALUATION

13.       “I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, ___  ______  ___ in all   
             riches.” (v.14)

Consider the reality of your life and begin to add things up.

Think about Moses, for example.
a. Turn to Hebrews 11:24-27. In the book of Hebrews, Moses is in the “Faith Hall of Fame” (chapter 11). Although he was living as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter in Pharaoh’s palace, he made an evaluation. He had an inner struggle about it, but he added things up:

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, ______________ to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 _______________ rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 __________________ the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he ____________Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.

Moses saw the pleasures of sin, but he also saw the riches of Christ. He made an evaluation. Then he made a choice. He refused to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the children of God. Why? Because he esteemed the riches of Christ great than all the treasure of Egypt.

You must make an evaluation and teach your children to make an evaluation. Evaluate what you are gaining in Christ versus what of the world’s offerings you’re giving up. Who would exchange diamonds for dirt? Who would go dumpster-diving when they can feed instead on manna and nectar from the King’s table?

Teach your children to choose true riches. You don’t have to be hungry. You can feed on Jesus. I don’t have to be out in a back alley eating tin cans with the devil’s billy goats if I see what I have in the Lord Jesus Christ and been feasting with Him.

VII. MEDITATION

14.      I will meditate in Thy _______________, and have respect unto Thy ________.
          I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy Word.” (v. 15)

Maintain constant communion with the Lord. Meditation means time, quietness and concentration. If you will spend time concentrating on the Word of God and thinking about it, it will be a powerful force to keep your mind pure.

Chew on it over and over and over again. Get the Word of God in your mind so you meditate on it day after day.

SUMMATION:

Let’s close with what Psalm 119 has to say further about meditating on the word of God:  
15: “I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.” 

23: “Princes also did sit and speak against me, but Thy servant did meditate in
 Thy statutes.”

48: “My hands also will I lift up unto Thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in Thy statutes.”

97: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Take these 7 principles.
Follow them.
Memorize them.
Put them into practice.
Get your heart right and clean.
Guard your heart so you can protect your home.

Practice them in your own life before you attempt to teach them to your children. Then you can walk your children through this culture, protecting them and guarding them, as well as yourself, assuring them, “You can be clean. You don’t have to let the devil carve a groove in your mind. You can keep your way cleansed.”

If you’ve been having difficulty in these matters, tell God you’re having a battle, but you’ve determined with your whole heart to have victory. Tell Him no matter what the price, you’re going to stay pure.

If you don’t make that kind of decision you’ll give way under the pressure of our day. And even if you make that kind of decision, if you don’t use God’s method, you’re still not going to have victory.

Would you pray what the Psalmist prayed:

“Dear God, teach me Your statutes.” Lord, help me to know these things. Help me to take what we have studied today out of Your word and apply it to my heart.”

 

Posted by dave hare at 8:08 AM

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