“Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” – Charles Spurgeon
In this life we will eventually find ourselves to be a victim of suffering, especially when the pain and heartache are beyond our control. People can be incredibly cruel, life can go inconceivably wrong, our bodies (and brains) don’t always work the way they were intended, and feelings of loss will eventually leave us gasping for air along the journey. In football it’s called being “blindsided”.
We protect our possessions, our families, and our lives with expensive insurance, safe neighborhoods, and financial stability. But what of our hearts? How is it that we have abandoned the core of who we are as human beings, all while covering ourselves with smiles and pretense in a great masquerade?
In our society we have adopted the belief that the material world is all that matters, but in the Scriptures we are given a different picture:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
Take note that it does not say to disregard the material world. Rather, it emphasizes the value and importance of the human heart, reminding us that our our lives and our impact on the material world are the resulting overflow of our hearts.
I’m an unashamed nerd and I love super hero films, especially the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Marvel movies. In fact, my Raphael POP! figurine stands proudly on my DVD shelf as we speak (to my wife’s chagrin). But imagine if Ironman’s arc reactor was removed…He would just be a millionaire weapons dealer in a clunky metal suit, devoid of super powers. And what of Hulk, Raphael, Wonder Woman, Gandalf, Superman, Spiderman, Harry Potter, Thor, Voldemort, Dobby, and the rest? Removing their core power would be their ultimate demise.
How odd that we neglect to care for our own core, the heart. As humanity bites and claws to get ahead in life, we often forget that we are spiritual beings with a void that only God can fill. We forget that our hearts matter and that we must fight for their protection. And if you think that sounds way too preachy, get honest with yourself for a moment: deep down you know this to be true, don’t you? You know there’s this gnawing, this craving that simply refuses be satiated by anything this world offers, despite the lies you tell yourself that say otherwise.
How blind we can be in our own folly, holding the knife in our own backs as we desperately search for the assassin.
As if running in a dream, I can’t escape myself. The pain of yesterday always finds its way to my door when I wake. The fear of tomorrow haunts me when I go to sleep. The person I long to be seems a million miles apart from who I am today.
What if, instead of trying to escape ourselves, we began running towards hope, towards truth, and towards God? What if we began to protect our hearts, reminding ourselves that we are loved because God says we are loved and that we have hope because we still have life in our veins? We have the fingerprints of God all over us, but instead we often choose to occupy our hearts with the fragments of our brokenness rather than the life Jesus invites us to experience.
I’ve been guilty of being my own worst enemy, attacking my heart with fear and deception, all while wearing a broken smile and parading in hollow pretense.
Don’t get me wrong: depression, anxiety, loss, abuse, and the like are not always choices we made for ourselves. But it’s what we do from here that counts. Will we fight for hope? Will we fight for life? Will we fight for truth over lies? Will we chase after God with reckless abandon, regardless of what everyone else thinks?
Isn’t it time to fight for what matters?
Set up the barricade and start fighting for your heart. We’re in the battle for our lives and God is on our side.