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Guard your hearts
August 10, 2009
by Pastor Rick Messer, Howard Lake Christian Church

As we think about living the Christian life in the day-to-day routine, one characteristic seems to loom very large – diligence.

Diligence is an interesting word that isn’t used very often today, however, it is rich with meaning. One way to think of diligence is effort – effort in doing something with persistence and hard work. Still another description is carefulness – carefulness in the care and attention expected by the law in fulfilling the terms of a contract.

To live our spiritual life with diligence does require effort and carefulness. The wisest man in the world wrote in Proverbs (chapter 4:23 NIV) “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

I often talk to people who lament about their struggles in living for Christ in this post-modern world. I certainly can relate to them because no one is immune to the effects of this fallen world in which we live. Nevertheless, we must be diligent in guarding our hearts.

I recently read about the life of King Asa of Judah in 2 Chronicles 16:7-13, and I was reminded of just what can happen when do not remain diligent in our walk with Christ.There are three things we can learn from King Asa that will help us remain diligent in our faith.

1. Diligence relies on Godly wisdom and strength.

Without question, we are living in economic hard times right now. And this is why we, more than ever, need to remain diligent and continually seek God’s wisdom and council before turning to human wisdom and strength.

Asa relied on human strength, power and wisdom, and not God. He saw calamity, and acted before asking God what to do.

How many times have we done the same thing, to our regret? We have trouble at work, and instead of seeking God, we try to find solutions on our own. We have trouble with other people, and instead of seeking God’s council, we ask someone else what they think.

2. Diligence remembers the real source of our strength. Asa forgot the real source of his strength, God. How often have we made this same mistake? We have a hard time with this because, as a people, we often pride ourselves on being self-reliant.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We do need to give honor to whom honor is due. But the recognition should always begin and end with God, and not ourselves. Are you doing well at work? Give God the glory! Are you successful in academics? Give God the glory! Is your marriage awesome? Give God the glory!

3. Diligence follows God’s Word and instruction. We dare not forget that the Bible is a lamp unto our feet and light to our path, but we have to read it and follow it.

God tells us the right way to live, he shows us how to remain Godly. He teaches us how to be successful, both spiritually and financially. It’s all in the Bible. In it’s pages are the very words of life and hope.

Over the years I have found that His word will correct, rebuke, admonish, and train those who read it and follow it. We don’t always like the passages that say things like, “Love your enemy,” or “Bless those who curse you.” We want to hate in kind. We want to curse in kind. We want to be slothful and lazy and justify our actions for whatever reason, but there it is in black and white. We don’t work for our boss – we work for Jesus!

Whether you’re in sales, farming, digging ditches, selling insurance, even in ministry, you don’t work for people – you work for the King of Kings.

So, be sure to guard your heart – it is the wellspring of life – and do so with diligence.