Forgiving those who’ve committed wrongs against you doesn’t necessarily guarantee and easier life. You may still have to deal with a difficult boss, wife, in-laws, or kids. You still have to deal with the every day stresses of life. There are pressures beyond your control that will wear you down if you aren’t careful to release them to God. So what can you do?
Our brother in Christ, the apostle Paul, gave us a strategy to help us deal with the troubles of daily life. He wrote: ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7).
This verse gives you the image of a guard patrolling your heart and mind. When the guard of prayer is in place it will keep out the pressing anxieties of life. If this guard isn’t in place, pain and worry will result.
What pressures are weighing on you? Are you talking to God about them or are you numbing yourself through things like video games, porn, alcohol, overeating, or overspending? Just as you must continually forgive, you also have to continually release your worries and specific needs to God. He will, in turn, protect you and give you the peace that passes all understanding.
What sorts of things find their way into your heart and mind? If you’re exposing yourself to a constant barrage of ungodly words, music, or images, you’re not taking full responsibility for your life. On the other hand, you can fill your heart and mind with words, music and images not contrary to God’s Word. When you do this, you’ll create a natural defense against some of the evil messages the world so frequently sends your way.
The writer of Psalm 119 declared, ‘I have tried my best to find you’don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you’. Now, ‘hiding’ God’s Word in your heart essentially means memorizing and meditating on passages of Scripture. God uses his Word’the Bible’to speak to you and show you how to live.
You’ve been given the responsibility to guard your heart and to keep track of the things you hide inside it. So, what’s in your heart? Anger? Lust? Inappropriate images from the web? Are you harboring bitterness? Greed? Are you envious of others? If you’re struggling with these things maybe it’s because you have more of the world’s so-called wisdom in your heart than the true wisdom of God.
Are you having a hard time finding God and following his commands? Try hiding God’s word in your heart. It will help you guard against those things that hurt you and displease God.
Okay, guys, it’s time for a Pop-Quiz. Are you ready? When an e-mail with an obviously suggestive subject appears on your computer screen, what’s your instant reaction?
Do you feel a tug and wonder, ‘Should I open this?’
Or is it a non-event, and with a simple click you delete the message without a hint of struggle?
If you still believe that you have the right to choose your behavior, which means you’re feeling that tug and asking: ‘Should I open this?’ You’re opening yourself to Satan’s influence. And men, he’d absolutely love to influence you and take hold of your heart and mind.
He cajoles and lies. He’ll have you thinking about minimizing the risk and how to hide what you see so you don’t notice your heart slipping ever so subtly down the slope of lust. If you don’t look out, by the time he’s finished with you, you’ll respond with: ‘Yes, I should look at it; I can handle it.’
Therein lies the power of temptation, guys. But temptation loses its power if you don’t give it the chance to even get its foot in the door. Let God’s Holy Spirit into your heart and your mind. Spend time in God’s Word and with other Christian men. If you do, you experience the transforming of your mind, affection and appetites.