We are intentional in certain areas of our lives, going to a lot of effort to maintain those areas. We set goals, plan ahead, and are deliberate in our efforts to succeed in the things we prioritise. It might be the way we plan our week, our exercise routine, our health, family life or other important relationships. Often, we plan around our work schedules, and time management is the key to fitting everything into our week.
My question is how intentional are we in guarding our hearts and our emotional well-being? We often forget the truth of today’s scripture in the midst of all our planning and full calendars. Often, we hear people say how busy they are, that they are tired and that they feel drained, especially towards the end of the year. How do we guard our hearts when we are so stretched and exhausted?
We read, in 1 Peter 5:8, that the devil is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. In the wild, a hungry lion goes for the most vulnerable and weakest prey. And when we are functioning in ‘overdrive’, we can easily become a prey to the enemy. He knows when we are tired, distracted and exhausted. He knows when we aren’t spiritually on guard, and when we are not drawing our strength from the Lord. So, if we are aware of this scheme of the enemy, we should be intentional about guarding our hearts, especially when we are feeling vulnerable.
How do we guard our hearts when we are so stretched and exhausted? Ephesians 6:10-11 gives us guidance: ‘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’ (ESV). The Lord knows all that we have to face in the world, and that is why He gave us His Word to teach us, inform us, prepare us, and show us the way forward. By making His armour our own, on a daily basis, we are being intentional about positioning ourselves in His strength. When the enemy comes at us, we are better prepared and filled with His peace in the midst of a storm. He can then guide our thoughts, bring new insights, protect our hearts, and show us the way forward every day.
‘Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:14-17, NIV). You might like to pray this prayer.
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