by Sheri Schofield
“Look, Mom!” Drew said, a harmless water snake clutched in each hand. “I’m gonna put them in my terrarium.”
“No,” I said firmly. “They will get loose in the house!”
“No, they won’t!”
“Honey,” said my husband, who had just come into the room, “I’ll fix the lid so the snakes can’t get out.”
I just shook my head and sighed. Our house was on the market, and the last thing I needed was snakes in it. But when Tim sides with our son, there was no point in trying to talk common sense to either of them.
About a week later, a prospective buyer came to see our house. I smiled and ushered the plump, middle-aged lady into the living room and spoke of the homey features. Then we turned toward the hallway to the bedrooms. There in the middle of the hallway crawled an escapee from Drew’s terrarium.
“What’s that?” the lady gasped.
“It’s just a…” I began apologetically,
“SNAKE!” she screeched, leaping three feet into the air. Gyrating toward the door in mid leap, she came down with a crash and was already out the door before I could catch my breath.
“But…but…it’s a very nice house!” I called after her. But she was gone, never to be seen again.
We didn’t find the other snake which had escaped until we moved out. It lay shriveled up in Drew’s closet, along with a flattened, dried frog. (That explained the peculiar odor in his room!)
Snakes always escape. There’s no point in trying to pretend otherwise. In the same way, the thoughts and intents of the heart also escape through our lips and actions. Trying to pretend we see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil does not work.
Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45 NLT). Jeremiah writes, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT). Since we have fallen natures, the only way to keep our hearts’ contents good is through trusting Jesus day by day. In that way, we can guard our hearts against evil.
The Holy Spirit, living in those who believe and trust in Jesus, produces good things in our hearts. The things escaping through the lips of Spirit-controlled believers are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (See Galatians 5:22,23, NLT.)
When I was a teenager and later a young adult, I used to pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,” Psalm 141:3 (KJV). I knew my tendency to allow gossip, bitterness or complaints to poison my words. As the Lord has gradually gained more control of my heart, I have learned to live more and more in His grace. But until the day I am ushered into His presence, the battle for a godly heart will be with me. So, day by day, I surrender my heart to Him, that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be pleasing to my Lord. (See Psalm 19:14.)
May the grace and beauty of the Holy Spirit flow through us always!
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3,4 NLT
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!
FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.
Join the Conversation: How do you work on your heart?