"Above all else, guard your heart; for everything else flows from it."I do a double take when I read that verse. The phrase above all else captures my attention every time. I began to think on it years ago and searched for other places in scripture where that phrase appears. More to come on that later...
For now, it is enough to remind me that the condition and the contents of our hearts are of singular importance. If we store up resentments there, or rehearse old wounds and nurse grudges, our hearts become filled with festering, toxic by-products of these actions, choking out the fruits of the Spirit that could grow in abundance in our heartspace.
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. Faithfulness. Self control. These need space to grow as we mature in the faith.....'fresh air to breathe' in our hearts.....and will expand exponentially in each of our lives if given the chance.
Thanks be to God, we have that chance. By God's grace we have the option to live above the fray....to experience love and forgiveness far beyond our ability to extend it....and to return kindness and gentleness for catty words or hurtful actions. And the rest of the chance is a choice - our choice. We choose to guard our hearts, standing as a sentinel and refusing to allow a foothold to those things which 'appeal to our lowest forms of entertainment', as a young mom said last week.
Lord, Help me learn how to filter anything that would seek to take up residence in my heart that is not pleasing to you. Teach me to take responsibility for what I need to do, and purify my heart in ways that I am unable to do on my own by the power of your Spirit.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
"Purple Dancer" by Rhymes Stabler