We started this blog by making a case for the “care of your soul.” Proverbs 4:23 states “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life (HCSB).” The word “heart” is a synonym for the “soul,” and the “soul” according to this text is the place where decisions are made. Our soul has a close connection to what we also refer to as our “mind” or our “thoughts.” The soul is the place where we determine the direction of our lives—whether for good or ill.

And then we asked the question, “How does one actually guard the heart?” There are a lot of ways, but I am focusing on three. In the last post I suggested that God’s Word is a key resource for defending ourselves against the “frequent” harmful thoughts that come from our flesh and from the world. We need God’s Word to enhance our ability to discern good from evil. The written revelation of God (when taken into our minds by an act of the will) enhances our ability to determine what is true and what is false. That is why we need to make it a habit to engage in Bible intake on a daily basis. 

But there is something else that is needed. It must be used in close association with Bible intake. It is what I am simply going to call spiritual surrender. I know that “surrender” doesn’t sound like the appropriate term for people who find themselves in a spiritual battle. But the “surrender” that empowers us to “guard our hearts above all else” is a necessary surrender to the will and ways of God. King David learned about spiritual surrender when he said in Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way (HCSB).” 

Read through the entire psalm and you will notice that David was extolling the attributes of God. He was aware of the fact that God knew EVERYTHING about his life. That’s not all. David also realized that God was CONSTANTLY PRESENT in every life-situation David faced. And what did Israel’s great king do in response? He “surrendered” to the internal revelation of God about who and where David was. You see, GOD’S OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE SERVE AS SOUL-GUARDIANS WHEN OUR SOULS ARE UNDER ATTACK. We are often prone to downplay theological terms like “omniscience” (the divine attribute of knowing everything) and “omnipresence” (the divine attribute of being present everywhere). But these terms express important realities about God. Better yet, these terms reveal another important way we can guard our hearts and minds.

What would this look like in your life if you were to surrender to the omniscience and omnipresence of God? What would you be doing? There are innumerable responses we might make, but surely it begins with “agreeing with God.” We sometimes call this confession. Confession is agreeing with God’s assessment about our hearts at any given moment. David didn’t say it outright, but he was asking God to do an inventory of his soul to see what was going on—what was there and what was missing. Yes, there were times in the king’s life when he deliberately disobeyed God’s will (cf. 2 Samuel 11). But in this psalm his intention was to have God render a verdict and he in turn would be ready to agree with God’s assessment. He was practicing spiritual surrender. How about you? What is God saying about your attitudes and actions right now? If you honestly ask the Heavenly Father to search and test you, He will! But the big question is, “Will you agree with His assessment?” 

A second aspect of spiritual surrender is to change course if necessary, and walk in the ways of God. That is easier said than done. A young woman enters into a romantic relationship that she knows is not healthy. The Spirit of God clearly shows her a better path. But the thought of “breaking up” and “being alone” are frightening thoughts to consider. And yet to protect her heart, she really needs to change the direction of her life. The same applies to you. God may be talking to you (right now) about an unhealthy relationship, an unforgiving spirit, or some other secret sin that is wearing away at you. If he is, don’t waste another minute. Confess and change the direction of your life.

You might live in a “gated community” and in a home that has the best security system that money can buy. You might also live in one of the “safest communities” in the country. But your heart is vulnerable. You are in danger…every single day. So protect yourself! Like David of old sincerely say to the Living God, “Search me, God, and know my heart…my concerns…and my life; and then lead me in the everlasting way.”

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