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Do Everything to Guard Your Heart

By Pastor John Mateos Ong

Last year, the them of Jesus Reigns was “no compromise.” What is a compromise? Is a compromise ok? Some people might think a compromise is meeting halfway or being flexible. But do you know what God calls compromises? It is lowering His standards. If you read the book of Revelation, compromising is being lukewarm.

This year, the theme of Jesus reigns is “intimacy with the word.” A life of no compromise is only possible if you are intimate with the word. It goes back to back with last year’s theme.  There is no shortcut to reading the bible. You have no excuse not to read the Bible. All the versions are available to you. But despite all the versions being reaidly available, how many Christians actually read the Bible everyday?

During the pandemic, 26M Amercians stopped reading the Bible. But when you are physically surrounded by problems, you are spiritually surrounded by angels who protect you if you read the Bible consistently. The people who stopped reading simply held on to themselves. Are you reading your Bible as a requirement or as a delight? Are you encouraged by it?

So why do you need to guard your heart? Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things. And desperately wicked. Who can know it?” If you do not guard your heart, you will be deceived. If you do not guard your heart, you will be fooled by your emotions. Sometimes you have to tell your heart not to be foolish because unfortunately, your heart has no brain. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord sees not as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” So it does not matter if the worship leader sings a note out of tune, as long as the heart is ok, then it is worship. Because God really looks at the heart.

The Parable of the Sower tells about the four conditions of the heart.

  1. Hard path - can seeds grow on cement?

V4. And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

V19. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

Why do you think some people have heard hearts and cannot understand the word of God?

  1. Physically incapacitated - cannot attend church

  2. Busyness

  3. Worldliness - blinded by the world

  4. Inabiity to read

  5. Negative emotions

  6. Bondages that need to be broken

2. Rocky path - seeds can grow a little because they can get into the little cracks ont he ground

V5-6. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.

V20-21. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For whentribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

If a person has no Christian community around them and if they do not read the Bible, they will not have any roots. If something bad happens, they easily go back to their old ways.

3. Thorny path  - there are thorns in the ground

V7. Some fell among thorns and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

V22. Now he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

Instead of pursuing what God wants in his life, he pursued the world that is why he becomes unfruitful. He will not necessarily leave the church but may take time to bear fruit, if any.

4. Fertile ground - bears fruit

V8. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop; some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

V23. But he who received see on the good ground is he who hears the word and understandsi t, who indeed bears fruit and produces:some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Do you understand the word of God? If not, do you at least understand the gospel of Jesus Christ? What kind of soil are you?

What does it mean to guard your heart? To guard your heart is to keep your heart fertile. The previous parable is usually used as an evangelical message. You are the sower whose job is to spread the seed, the gospel of Jesus. The “seeds” will fall on diffent kinds of soil. The heart is the soil. You have to make sure that your heart is fertile ground.

You can keep your heart fertile by being intimate with the word. If a Christian does not read their Bible, their roots will not grow deep no matter how many ministries he has. There is no shortcut to reading theBible. The word of God is the foundation. God’s word is the fertilizer of the heart. There is no alternative.

Psalm 1:3 says, “That person is like a tree planted by the streams of water which yield its fruits in season and whose leaf do not wither; whatever they do prosper.” Who wants to be like this? That no matter what problems come your way, you do not falter; your leaves do not wither, you are always fresh, your joy is always there, and even if you are tired, when people look at you,you are still blooming. You have to be intimate with the word. Many Christians wonder why they get burnt out when they do not even read the Bible and then they begin to doubt the promises in the Bible. Psalms 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Do you know what delight means? You are happy about something. When you wake up in the morning, do you delight in His word? Befor eyou claim verse 3, you have to fulfill verses 1 and 2. But verse 4 is quick to say, “Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away!” If you let go of God’s hands at the first onsight of a problem, then maybe so. But Isaiah 40:31 also says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” If you always think of the reason why you always get tired, the word is not the problem. It is you. you rely on your own understanding. Your trust is not in the Lord but in your performance. And then you think why your heart is rocky.

How do you keep a fertile heart? You have to stay away from the 3 other kinds of soil. You become fertile by avoiding becoming the first three.

  1. Remain in awe - If you become calloused, that means you are immune to something already. While reading the Bible and you are not convicted by the words thatyou read, they have lost their effectiveness in you. It is like taking medicine for a fever without your temperature going down. Because you have lost the awe in God, it became a normal thing. Your god has become your work, your relationships, or even you. The Word of God and Jesus is like an antibiotic. Even if you feel good after 5 days of taking it, you continue taking it. Read to encounter. Only a peerson in awe can get into the presence.

  2. Eyes on the prize - If you think that all your sacrifices will be worth it in the end, you will go for something and do everything to get it. To guard yourself from being rocky, take a risk. Keep the prize in mind. Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” If you want to avoid being rocky, stop pleasing people. You cannot please everybody. They do not matter. Only God matters. Acts 5:41 says, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” The only things that count is standing by your faith and belief even if you are persecuted. Hebrews 12:2 says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.“ when Jesus was on the cross, He felt everything because He was 100 percent man. But throught the pain, he was thinking about the jy set before Him. All the peope He loved who will one day be with Him in heaven.

  3. Number your days - In order to guard your heart from putting earthly things above God, live as if each day is your last. No trophy victories, gold, glory, girls or guys, cannot be overcome without God. God’s grace does not get finished. If you repent, God is always more than willing to take you back. Keep in mind that life on earth is limited. The world has a way of deceiving people. Do not be attached to this world. Eternity is not here. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” The troubles on this earth are only momentary. But everything will be worth it.

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