by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV
I did it to myself. I chose the wrong path. I saw the sign with the little black diamond and thought I could handle it. After all, I reasoned, I’m a decent skier. (If you aren’t laughing yet, you should be.) After just a few yards, I realized I had made a terribly dangerous decision. The hard-packed snow felt slick as ice. If I fell, I wouldn’t stop until I hit bottom. I envisioned my body lying broken and bleeding at the bottom of this precipitous slope. So, I did the only thing I could. I carefully – and prayerfully – began to sidestep back up to the top of the run. I didn’t care what people around me thought. My life was at stake!
Sadly, I don’t always ski smart and safe. Once, I was skiing on a wide, well-groomed trail that ran right under one of the chair lifts. The level of difficulty matched my skill, and I felt confident in my ability. I could see the people still on the lift watching the skiers below. My confidence turned into pride, and I began to show off. I let my guard down. Just a little, but a little was enough. The next thing I knew I was falling. Skis over head over skis, tumbling down the slope, directly under all those watching skiers on the lift above. Yes, pride does indeed go before a fall.
Sin in our lives is like that black diamond ski run – a slippery, dangerous slope. Sometimes all it takes is one small compromise to put us on a wrong path. The author of Hebrews used the term “drift away” to help us understand this truth. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1, ESV). The image of drifting portrays a shifting from the intended course. Picture a ship drifting off course in strong currents or wind. Even a small fraction off course can cause a ship to miss the harbor.
The threat of sin in a Christian’s life also requires constant awareness of the Spirit’s leading and purposeful effort to follow. If we let down our guard for a moment we could fall, like I did on that nicely groomed ski trail.
If we aren’t actively pursuing holiness, we are in danger of drifting off course. If we aren’t purposefully and continually choosing to reject the sinful ways of the world and follow Christ, we are at risk of falling.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11). We must carefully guard our hearts and minds because the world constantly clamors for our attention and devotion.
No compromise. Careful attention. If we don’t, we just may end up at the bottom of the slope.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Kathy’s latest book, “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” combines Scripture, biblical insight, personal experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to provide spiritual and practical encouragement to those caring for aging or ill parents.
Join the conversation: How do you guard your heart?