Growing up I had a small group of friends that I did everything with. We spent many summer days playing softball, football, kickball, capture the flag, etc. One summer we tried to make our own little street hockey team. We had everything we needed but one thing stopped us: no one wanted to play goalie. It’s not exactly fun to have the ball hit at you over and over again. It’s the hardest position to play in any sport (in my opinion).
You don’t have to be a sports fan to have heard of the term “goalkeeper.” Many different sports have a goal keeper but no matter the sport his job is always the same. The goal keeper is in charge of preventing the opposing team from scoring. He must be watchful, paying attention. He must be practiced and skilled at this task. He has to be ready and strong enough to hit away the ball that is coming at him.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” What you let into your heart will come out of your life. Proverbs 4:23 tells me that it is my job to prevent the opposing team- the Devil- from scoring on me. Like the goal keeper in a hockey game (or soccer, lacrosse, field hockey…whatever your into) I need to be watchful, paying attention. I need to be practiced in defending my heart and ready and strong enough to hit away whatever the Devil throws at me.
So what are some ways I can keep my heart? What are some ways I can defend my heart from the Devil scoring on me?
- Music. “Oh be careful little ears what you hear…” I can say from personal experience that the minute your music standards start slipping your actions will follow. You may think that it’s okay from time to time to listen to music that doesn’t honor the Lord but you are wrong. Music affects the heart. Music influences the heart. Keep your heart by only allowing music that will affect you in a way that honors the Lord. Evaluate yourself- your music- right now. What message is your music sending to your heart? Defend it.
- Memorize Scripture. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Will memorizing Scripture be an insta-cure for sin? No. But if you are soft to the Holy Spirit’s convicting then when you are tempted to sin you will hear that still small voice repeating that Scripture that you memorized to your heart. “And be ye kind…” “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…” “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands…” I could go on. What areas do you struggle with the most? Find Scripture for them and memorize them.
- Television. I really like tv and I hope this doesn’t make it seem like I don’t. But we need to seriously reconsider what we think of as entertainment. It seems just about every show has cursing now and at least one gay couple. Fornication and adultery are commonplace. Husbands are portrayed as idiots and if a woman isn’t working outside the home she is unsuccessful. We are becoming numb to things that we know are wrong. And these things that once made us angry are now creeping their way into our hearts. I believe that the television is one of the biggest ways the enemy is scoring on us. We need to keep our hearts and be careful what is coming out of the tv and into our homes and hearts.
- Friendships. Although I am pretty shy I believe I can make friends pretty easily. I get along with most people. I believe that the Lord wants us to be out among people just like He was. But that does not mean that I should be making close friendships with ungodly people. Whether you agree or not the truth is that our friends will influence our decisions. If our close friends are not godly influences we are not defending the goal properly. The Devil will score on you.
- Thoughts. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 KJV) If your thoughts do not match up to these standards then you are letting down your guard and giving the Devil an opportunity to take a shot on you. Like a soccer ball headed to the goal these thoughts need to be knocked down before they enter the net. What happens when the ball hits the back of the net? The opposing team has scored. The point goes up on the board. It doesn’t matter how fast you get it out of there, they have already scored. Hit down the thought before the Devil can score. Do not allow yourself to think of things that are not along God’s standards. I guarantee you- the longer you think of something the more likely you are to do it. Stop thinking about it.
A goalie doesn’t go into a game without protection and neither should we. Keep your heart. Use these things to protect yourself from the blows Satan has coming for you. He is watching and the second you put down your guard- look away- He will try to score on you. Be ready. Keep your hear with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life!