My Huge Need
One really huge need I have always had—and never acknowledged—is protection from the negativity of planet earth and it’s people. I didn’t know how on earth to protect my heart. Or even that it was actually my job. There were many words about this in the Bible. One passage said be strong by putting on all this armor. Another said stand firm and watch out for attacks that may come so that you can resist them.
Both of these passages were talking about Satan and the spiritual struggle going down in my soul. Both were telling me that it was my work to prepare, keep watch and protect myself. Jesus would do all and plenty, but it would come to zip-o if I wasn’t working with Him. After all, it would be rather difficult for Jesus to protect me from enemies I opened up to and treated as friends.
My Friend’s Dream
I was sharing this with a friend of mine and he really connected the dots. I guess a few years back when he’d been struggling with stuff in his life and had been somewhat weakened and depressed he’d had a dream right along these lines. The dream began with him standing in a room watching a small child at play. As he stood there watching, he’d felt a presence come up behind him. Turning to look he saw an evil man eyeing the child. It shook him. He stepped in between the child and the man he recognized as a predator and began to cry out to Jesus for protection. As he prayed he suddenly recognized the child’s face. It was him!
The struggle carried on and on like any good dream until my friend woke up with his heart in his throat and sweat all over his bed. Then, after singing a few verses of Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is Our God to calm out his nervous system, my friend sought insight. He prayed and read. Prayed and read. And for all this there was just one clear message that came from it all: You are a child at heart, be wise and protect yourself.
Children At Heart
That made a lot of sense to me. Aren’t we all children at heart? Aren’t we all responsible for our own emotional and spiritual safety? Even if we figure it late in the game isn’t it ours to decide if someone is influencing us for good or ill, building us up or tearing us down, and protect who we are becoming in Jesus? Too many times I’ve had all windows open and garbage flying in. Too many times I’ve befriended someone who does a drain-o number on my spirit. And who is there to blame?
I believe now that no matter how dark or intense the air can get around me, if I guard my heart, I can come out unscathed. Not because it was peachy, but because I held onto those keys to the gate of myself and nothing was allowed in. Jesus has led me in this, pointed out my vulnerabilities and nudged me towards being careful for me. It’s simple sounding, to be sure, and yet crucial beyond what any one of us can imagine. As an old neighbor of mine used to say, ‘we have all been given a most valuable treasure… the only one we cannot replace… and it is ourselves.’
I say guard your heart with your life.
Clarissa Worley Sproul writes from the Pacific Northwest.
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