Guard Your Heart
Our new sermon series is called "Guardrails". If you think about it, guardrails have a specific purpose, to keep you away from dangerous places or things. We see guardrails all the time when we are driving, and some of us even put up guardrails in our lives for things we want to avoid. We will set rules for certain things, or maybe for our children. We need to be thinking of this in the context of God as well. By the end of this article we will talk about 3 guardrails you can put up in your life to make sure that you are working towards God's glory.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We see in the scripture above that anyone who is new in Christ is a new creation. Meaning when you get saved you are created new and have a fresh start! In the last sermon series we referred to this as being an infant in the Lord. You may also hear the term "born again". All of these phrases are common when talking about new believers. Take a look at the second part of that verse though. The old has passed away and the new has come. We get a fresh start! A new beginning!! How amazing is that?
Unfortunately, what tends to happen after this is that people fall back into their old patterns. They get saved and get excited about God, but soon enough, that excitement fades, and the devil slides in and takes control. It's kind of sad isn't it? The good news is that doesn't have to be the case. If you put up the proper guardrails in your life, it can be much easier to follow God's will for your life.
Think about some of the other guardrails you put up in your life? There are probably guardrails in your job, your family, your finances, etc. If there aren't, then there probably should be. Daniel shows us a great example of what setting those guardrails could look like.
Daniel 1:8 ESV
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore, he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
Daniel is in a situation where he is being told to go against what he knows is right. He is under a lot of pressure to discard the things he knows will glorify God, and participate in things that will go against God's will for his life. Daniel refuses anything that will not glorify God, he even refuses to eat the food that he is given. He has put up guardrails against things in his life. You might ask why we even need guardrails. As humans, we are sinful by nature. Satan is after our hearts and we are susceptible to fall prey to him instead of to God. We live in a world where demons attack us and sin comes into our hearts on a regular basis. Guardrails are an important protection barrier to keep us on the straight and narrow.
There are 3 key guardrails we can use to help us stay on the right path as we go through our lives. Lets talk about them.
I will follow God no matter what I must give up or refuse.
Nobody ever said that following God would be easy. It requires a lifestyle change that can be a daily battle of your faith and your flesh. Your flesh will fail you time and time again if you let it. Your faith in God however, can move you in ways you never thought possible. You need to go about your life with purpose. There are things in this world where it is obvious that it's not part of God's will. Other things, may not be so obvious. It's important to pray your way through your day. When you pray, you are speaking right to God Himself. Ask Him to lead you to follow Him throughout the day. Ask Him to give you discernment on what He wants for your life.
I will worship and follow God no matter how heated it gets.
Like you see in Daniel's story and in the verse below in 2 Timothy, the choice to follow Jesus can guarantee that will will face persecution. Nobody said that being a Christian would be easy. As a matter of fact, it is very difficult. It is a constant spiritual battle that can put you in situations you cant imagine and can force you to make difficult decisions. It's important to remember that the life we lead on this Earth is not the end goal. Our Earthly life is fleeting compared to the eternal life we have ahead of us with God.
2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
I will follow God even if I must give up some relationships.
The people in your life can either help or hurt you in your walk with the Lord. Having the right people around you can help you learn and grow in Christ, where the wrong people can cause you to sin. 1 Corinthians says it best. "Bad company ruins good morals." It doesn't matter how good of a person you are, constantly putting yourself around the wrong crowd, will slowly turn you into the people you are around.
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
These guardrails are good starting points for how we should live our lives for Jesus. Sure there are others, but be thinking about these as you go through your days. What choices do you make that fall in line with them? Better yet, what choices do you make that make you go tumbling right overt these guardrails?
I want to encourage you to take time to spend with God in prayer each day. Not just in the morning or in the evening, but throughout your day. There are forks in the road so many times in your day that you must be in constant prayer and be on constant alert for the things that Satan is trying to sway you towards that aren't a part of God's will for your life.
Daniel 6:10 NKJV
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Notice in the scripture above that Daniel took time out of his day to give thanks and pray to God. This should be a normal part of our every day lives. We should be thanking God for everything that happens to us. Remember that everything, the matter you are made of, the breath you breathe, the sun on you face, is all because God has a good and beautiful plan for your life. Thank Him for all of those amazing things he has done for you. Most of all, pray for him to lead your life in a direction that is going to glorify Him and help fulfill His purpose.