Jill Jarrell Newsome
Guard Your Heart
When my daughter, Sarah, was eleven, I took her on her first mission trip to Antigua. My husband, Mike, was home with my younger daughter, Ivey who was eight. This was the first time our family would be split up by that many miles. Ivey knew I was going to be a long ways away and told me she would miss me at night, the most. I took her outside that night and told her to look up at the big moon. I told her to do that every night and I would too and we would be under the same moon. It made us feel closer.
I think about this pandemic and how it seems to be "wearing on" everyone. I feel the need to be an encourager but you cannot encourage others if you do not guard your own heart. It seems there are days that I am having to pick myself up more. The truth is I cannot pick myself up. Only God can pick me up. Not even a pandemic can separate us from God.
In the book of Romans, Paul goes from the reality of sin, to the need for salvation through Jesus, to being a child of God. Then Paul draws a conclusion. We understand that God wants us, that He has died to save us, He gives us His Spirit so that He is always with us, we are His children. If we believe this, then "if God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8: 31, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?"
In the throes of adversity, it is easy to feel alone or abandoned. Romans 8: 38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." When we believe this, we trust God. We quit trying to lean on our own understanding. Proverbs 3: 5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Let's remember that He is our Rock! Psalm 94: 22, "But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge."
There is no place we can go and nothing that we can do that can separate us from God’s love. We did not and could not earn it. It is simply a gift from Him. It wasn’t our own efforts that earned it or level of perfection that impressed God to begin with. He simply gave it as a gift and promises to never take it back. He is perfect and loving Father who loves us simply because we are His. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Hebrews 13: 5, "...never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Guard your heart. Proverbs 4: 23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Everything which means all of our thoughts, our words, our choices. If our heart is full of God's love then good things will flow from it. We need to guard our hearts against fear, isolation, bitterness, impatience, greed, envy and anger. These fears can overtake our hearts if we do not guard it. Do you need to guard your heart? Try meditating on Romans 8: 38-39.
We are not alone. God is right here with us!