• Amber Albee Swenson

It's easier to guard your heart than to repair it

I was reminded this weekend of why I do not buy candy. Once it is in my house I have a hard time resisting. It's easier to walk by it in the grocery store than to leave it untouched on the counter.

Now that my children are getting older we go over this principal a lot. It's easier to quit spending time with the person you wouldn't want to marry before you fall in love. It's easier to not smoke that first cigarette than to try to quit after twenty years. It's easier to go to the second hand store and make do than to try to pay off a credit card; easier to study a little each night than cram all night before the test.

Now more than ever, we have access to information that sounds good. This person says they are a Christian, so their actions, their blog post, their language and principles must be in line with scripture, right? If only Satan wasn't so subtle.

Even with constant teaching the battle rages on. The world is full of glitz and glamour. The blogger is funny. Everyone else watches the youtuber. The musician's advice makes sense. Slowly we look more to others for advice and give others the authority of controlling our thoughts. We buy into what they say about the Bible instead of letting God have the say.

Friday morning I listened to Focus on the Family. The guest was Leslie Vernick and the topic was her book "Finding selfless joy in a me-first world." There was so much wisdom in that twenty-five minutes. I kept thinking how much I would have missed had I not turned on the radio.

(You miss out when you don't open your Bible, don't give God the benefit of letting Him speak to you and teach you about life. You miss out on His comfort and His promises.)

Leslie pointed out the importance of asking ourselves the two questions Jesus asked. First, "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15) We can be fans of Jesus, people who recognize Him, and admire Him, even, but don't take the time to really get to know Him by reading His word. Doing this puts us in danger of being the ones who He says He does not know.

The second question is dependent on the first. "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do the things I say?" (Luke 6:46) If we believe Jesus is God than why don't we listen to Him? Why don't we believe what He tells us in His word? Why don't we think He is enough and we don't need to run to outside sources for their advice?

We keep small children by our side and do our best to slay the dragons as they come near. As our children grow older and venture out we can't slay all the dragons. We teach them to put on the full armor of Christ (Ephesians 6) and surround them with prayer.

As long as they keep the armor on they'll be just fine. Problems arise when the armor seems heavy so they set it aside and the dragons seem more friendly than fierce.

But, my children, dragons do not make good pets. Sooner or later they'll devour you, and as long as I'm your mother I'll be pulling your legs out of their mouth.

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