On Guard!

by Sharmon Coleman Can I make a confession?  I love action films.  One of my favorite action scenes is the sword fight between Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  I just about swoon at the suspenseful music, amazingly choreographed fight, and the reason for the battle . . .  Will must guard his love’s life and honor.  A passionate sword fight ensues. As Christian leaders, we too, are commanded to guard something of paramount importance . . . our hearts.   Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

How do we effectively guard our hearts?

  1. Know what you are guarding. Just as Will Turner guarded Miss Swan’s life and reputation, we are to guard our HEARTS.  Your heart represents the source of all your motivations.   Are the actions and decisions you make as a leader motivated by recognition, success, power, or acceptance?  Or, is all that you do motivated for His glory? Guarding your heart requires constant examination of the source of your motivations.
  1. Be alert. In Will’s sword fight, Captain Jack Sparrow admonished Will to watch his footwork.  Leaders, too, need to be alert.  1 Peter 5:8 exhorts us to, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Lions are hunters, stalking their prey, looking for weakness, vulnerability and isolation. Be aware that leadership marks you with a target, and you are being stalked by the enemy.  Take time to H.A.L.T.  Are you  Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?  Such physical and emotional states create vulnerability, and the enemy will not hesitate to attack, skewing our motivations.
  1. Invite the Father’s search light. Our hearts are complex, making it difficult to truly discern our motives. David prays in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart . . . and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Rejoice that we are children of a loving, wise Father who will show us where our true motivations lie without condemnation, AND will then graciously lead us in His way when we simply ask.

Do a quick heart check, then take action.  Are you hungry?  Angry?  Lonely? Tired?  Eat a healthy snack, make peace, spend time with a friend, and/or take a nap.  Are you unsure of your motivations?  Then spend some time with God, allowing Him to show you the temperature of your heart.  Not only is your heart of utmost importance to you, it is also of utmost importance to those you are leading. “Above all else, guard YOUR heart!”

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