I got an F in Proverbs 4:23 and then came Christmas.
Sitting here, reading a book on how important it is to guard my heart. The definitions of guard expand from being a guardship with one command: "do not allow any enemy ships even close to the home port"; to being a watchman who never sleeps.
Now I sit here still fighting the voices that scream, "you failed!" "You let the enemy in!"
I thought, for sure, after coming before God, confessing, repenting, clinging to the His Word and promises, that the guilt and shame of my not guarding my heart would just vanish; but now I'm learning that this, in itself, is a battle. I am given yet another opportunity to guard my heart from the enemy who will try his best to keep me in guilt and condemnation, to keep me stuck in shame and the tornado that whispers "you knew better, how could you."
I share this to reach out to others who are stuck in your past sins and mistakes. This is exactly why God sent His Son. This is the ultimate Christmas message. Jesus was born, not to just be a cute little baby and theme of a Christmas play. He came because we don't know how to guard our hearts. He came because we are weak and can't save ourselves. It doesn't matter if you were born in a devoted Christian family or you just met Jesus 5 minutes ago, we are all failures, we all get F's because of our weaknesses.
Yes, I knew better and yes I let the enemy in and he brought hurt and shame; however, in Jesus' mercy and grace, the enemy has to flee. Jesus died for me because He knew I would fail. I thought I was strong, a legend in my own mind, but Jesus in His unconditional love waits because He knew I would sink in my sinful reality and reaches out to pull me up before I drown, just as He did for Peter and just as He does for you.
My F is erased by the blood of Jesus, but memories and emotions are strong, so now I am given the opportunity to guard my heart and mind against that dark cloud of shame.
Pitfalls: My first mistake "thinking I was strong" A strength based on my works and the words of affirmation from others, my first mistake. Second, self-pity, I became the victim, i don't deserve this". Third, allowing the enemy into my pity-party, whispers of "no one understands you". All mistakes. Now I know. Praise the Lord for yet another chance that I don't deserve!
You have that same opprtunity. I write this for those who are stuck in guilt, shame, and sin. Cry out to Jesus! He will reach out to you and save you. That's the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came to earth to save us from ourselves.
Before He left, He promised us the Holy Spirit who will give us power in our weakness. We need the Holy Spirit, to be strong enough to guard our hearts.
I am so thankful for the new beginnings that come with Christmas and the New year, and thankful beyond understanding for Jesus.
"Above all else, guard your heart; for everything you do flows
from it." Proverbs 4:23