Protecting Your Heart and Mind

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Last year I built a bird feeder that’s squirrel proof and it turned out great. It’s like a wildlife show every day. There is a variety of 30 plus birds that are eating from it. They scatter seed everywhere so the ducks, squirrels and rabbits also show up to eat all that the birds have scattered on the ground. About every two weeks, I refill the two feeders on the pole from a bucket of birdseed that I store in the garage. 

One day I opened the bucket to get some seed. It has a secure lid on it but I must not have had it snapped on all the way. Amazingly, when I opened it, there was a dead mouse lying on it’s back looking up at me. I would assume he over-ate to his death. (He looked pudgy in his gut and it almost seemed as though he was smiling!) How he got in there was close to an impossible feat. The lid opening was almost non-existent and the bucket is tall. I don’t how this mouse could have scaled it, but he  found some way to get in and it had to be through the tiniest crack.

This mouse reminded me of a critical spiritual truth to be aware of! What is that truth? To be aware of the negative thoughts and bad worldly input that can undermine our faith. They seem to find their way into our mind and heart through even the smallest crack we leave open. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 NLT says you need to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” When I think of this, I imagine soldiers at their post watching for enemies day and night.

One morning a while back I woke up with an old worldly song on my mind—one that I consider having negative words and attitudes. I know I haven’t thought of this song for over 20 years and I am almost positive that I have not heard it in at least that long. I avoid secular music for this very reason. So where did it come from? How did this song get in my head and on my mind? I don’t know. Possibly through a dream or just an old memory that was triggered by something? That’s what I call a small crack. I chased this song out of my mind replacing it with a song worshiping the Lord.

Our brain stores up and remembers incomprehensible amounts of information. It shouldn’t surprise us when somewhere down the line and not always when you expect it, some of the unwanted information, images, and thoughts rise to the surface of your memory.

I recently talked with a man who was struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts. He hated it and only wanted his thoughts and mind to be pure. He said he struggled with his mind drifting to past sexual thoughts and memories that were a part of his life prior to making Jesus His Savior. He knew that Jesus had forgiven him and washed his past sins away, but hated when these kinds of thoughts seemed to randomly surface at the most awkward times, and he was feeling condemned because of it.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) instructs us what to do with thoughts that are inappropriate and contrary to God’s Word.  It says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If you would take the time to read through this chapter,  you’d see that God has given us power to rule our thought-life and keep it pure. It’s not instant and permanent but more like building muscle memory and mental strength. Over time you get stronger at it and in time you have control of your thought-life. When I learned this truth and began to exercise this in my life, it was as if for the first time, my mind became mine to rule and use for God’s glory. I would no longer allow it to be ruled by random and unwanted thoughts producing embarrassment and condemnation.

What we allow to pass through the gates of our mind and heart that is not good, will come back to haunt us. We have to exercise casting down inappropriate thoughts in the authority of Jesus name, and refocus on godly things. It takes effort, but in time we have fewer and fewer flashbacks and instead develop the “sound mind” mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

God isn’t condemning us as we work through this. He is the one helping us renew our minds to His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that told us, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Proverbs 4:3 says, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” What you hear and see can and will affect the choices that you make good or bad. This is why we need to be on guard as to what we let through our sense gates. Hurtful information and images, like the mouse I mentioned earlier, can find and slip through the slightest crack if we aren’t on guard.

Praise God today and do what the Apostle Paul taught us to do to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do…What will be the result? The issues of life will be conducted with clear and godly thinking and choices and, as the Apostle Paul goes on to say, “the God of peace will be with you.” 

Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” 

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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