Hearts Under Fire: 5 Ways to Focus On What Matters Most
- Kenny Luck Founder, Every Man Ministries
- 2016 19 Sep
Our world has fallen head-over-heals in love with love – an idealized version of it that swallows massive amounts of our mental, emotional, social, and financial resources. “We all” pursue it. Chick flicks, romance novels, music and newsstand magazines all depict it. Advertisers appeal to it. Some brokenhearted people avoid it. And we download the sentiment of it with 90% of music selections.
And yet, God designed it. Love is a matter of the heart, and biblically, the heart is the center of our emotions and will. Oh, and by the way, since God has designed it…. The enemy is after it.
Our hearts are under fire by a culture that romanticizes, fantasizes, and strives to realize love its’ own way apart from God. It’s a brilliant tactic by “pseudo-love’s” main sponsor – Satan. Think about it. The more distracted we can become by it, the less we can connect with the true purpose for it.
When Jesus was asked to rank the most important commandment in Mark 12, I imagine if He had a microphone He would have turned up the volume and shouted:
- “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” --Mark 12:29-31
Notice Jesus says the first way to Love God is with all your heart. I don’t think it was an accident He put the heart first. So, is it any wonder why the top target that the enemy attacks is the numero uno commandment that God gives? And the strategy is to distract it.
By dreaming, chasing and investing in romantic love, the enemy can open up his arsenal of lies and deception to derail the most important purpose for our heart -- to love God with all of it.
How to Focus On What Matters Most
Your heart is enclosed within a rib cage for protection. So too, we should enclose our emotional heart with spiritual protection. We need to avoid exposing our hearts from being distracted from an all-consuming pursuit for romantic love.
- “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -- Proverbs 4:23
Give God your heart, and He will give you all the rest. God knows you. He loves you. You are His. His son or daughter and He calls you a friend. Give your pursuit of romantic love to God, and when you are ready, He will place you with an ideal mate.
- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -- Romans 8:38-39
Our heart’s emotions and intentions need to be continually under scrutiny. As we open our hearts to relationships, or fantasies, there is room for the enemy to creep in and create chaos with temptation. It’s better to let God search your heart and help you identify any chinks in your armor.
- “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” -- Psalms 139:23-24
Deal with it
Should our affections go AWOL, our relational capital gets overdrawn and creates blockage in our ability to hear from, and love God with all our heart. That blockage is called sin, and after God’s heart scan reveals it, we need to deal with it with a little heart surgery by owning it, confessing it, and changing it -- also called repentance.
- “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” -- James 5:16
Loving God with all our heart requires a life-support system. For men, it’s other men. We need a group of guys who we can openly share what’s on our heart with to give us the benefit of their experience, perspective and accountability. You wouldn’t put the most important issue in the hands of an amateur. No, we need to treat this issue with respect and connect with other men to allow the “body of Christ” to serve its function.
Here’s the kicker -- what you do and how you do it will have impact on your son or daughter, and their sons and daughters. Many times, the Bible explains the actions of men have repercussions. Others are watching. Your kids, co-workers, vendors, colleagues and family members. So connect your heart to other men, and demonstrate that you love God with all your heart.
“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” -- Luke 1:50
Love the Lord with all your heart, Jesus says is the top of top priorities. Shouldn’t we take an honest look at what -- or who -- we love that much? If the answer is anything other than God, then your heart is under fire. Get your focus back on what matters most, and enjoy knowing your creator.
*Kenny Luck, founder and president of Every Man Ministries, is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and has a great deal of experience in leading men through their walk with God. His program Sleeping Giant empowers men to take the experience of a men’s ministry and bring it to their own communities. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com