Faithlife Sermons

Guardrails for the Heart

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Intro
Growing up, my brother and I were pretty typical little boys. We both required behavior modification from time to time.
I never did a lot, because I always got caught and most of the time, I learned from those mistakes.
Door Bell ringing…
Yelling at people in cars
throwing stuff at cars
As we grow older we learn to monitor and modify our behavior so that we can be successful. We learn how to get dates, jobs etc.
However, every now and then, from who know where, we will say and do some of the dumbest stuff. we will even go… where did that come from? I don’t think that way or feel that way… Where did it come from? That’s what we will discuss today.
We are wrapping up the series on Guardrails today.
Guardrails: A system designed to keep vehicles from strying into dangerous or off limit areas.
Guardrails: Direct and Protect
GR are not placed in the danger zone, but in the safe zone so they can keep us out of the danger zone.
some of you need GR in your marriage… in your parenting… in your conduct each day...
Guardrails are a standard of behavior that becomes a matter of conscience.
The point of a GR is to light up our conscience before we hurt others or ourselves. These are personal GR for our behavior…
Today we will look at the most important GR of all - your heart.

Guard Your Heart

Solomon was wise and wrote about lot, but one thing he said… he said that if you forget everything else, remember this
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Above all else… guard your heart. Why? Because it determines the course of your life.

What does it look like to guard your heart?

One day a pharisee came asking Jesus...
Matthew 15:2–7 NLT
2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
tradition - P would place a GR around a law and kind of elevate it to be equal to the law. That’s what the ceremonial law had become.
Jesus told them that they were hypocrites because they broke the actual law to preserve their traditions.
ILL - Your teen talks to their mother disrespectfully and you say, don’t talk to your mother disrespectfully… she say, I’ll place a GR around it so I wont speak disrespectfully to mom… I will not talk to her at all..
The Jews had done the same thing here.
Jesus kind of ended that conversation when he called them hypocrites. It’s kind of like saying, that’s a stupid question… who asked it…?
But then Jesus wanted to clarify what he was teaching so …
Matthew 15:10–11 NLT
10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
defile - to make unworthy.
He says that it’s not what you put in your mouth that defiles you. He says something totally foreign to these people.
Remember Jesus is the hinge between the OT and the NT. He is a law abiding Jew that is fixing to introduce something better than the Law… that will actually make the law of Moses obsolete.
It what is already inside that comes out that defiles you. God is more bothered how we treat others than by what we eat or don’t eat. This is brand new to these people.
Peter asked if he could repeat it…
Matthew 15:16–20 NLT
16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
I can imagine Jesus gathering the disciples together and saying… I am going to go slow…
Jesus tells them that the things that come out of your mouth come from the heart and that’s what defiles you. It’s not what we eat or drink, but it’s the words and actions that hurt people God loves that defile us.
So just thinking about killing someone, committing adultery with someone, all kinds of sexual immorality, stealing, lying and slander… these are what defile us. Why do these things defile us? Because they hurt people that God loves.

If what harms people offends God… we need to guard our hearts

If our behaviors offends God because it hurts people, we need to guard our hearts.

What’s in our hearts flows out in our behavior

Our behavior eventually will mirror our beliefs.
How may of you know someone who ruined a career because of what came out of our mouth? Maybe you know someone who burned down a marriage because of their tongue… Maybe you know someone who has alienated their children because of how they behaved at home… when something in the inside got loose and came out ...
Today I want to talk to you about four things that if you store them in your heart, they become staging grounds for heart problems...
These four emotions should ding your conscience and let you know that you have work to do.

Guardrails for the Heart

Guilt “I owe You”

Guilt: I did something you don’t know about. It leads to walls, inauthenticity, dishonesty, secrets, and distance. It seeps into our words, behaviors, and relationships.

Anger “You owe me”

Anger: You hurt me or took from me. Pay me back or I will pay you back. Anger leaks… It’s never isolated to the relationship of origin.

Greed “I owe me”

Greed is the assumption that it’s all for my consumption. It turns your back to people. It becomes a filter for decisions. People compete with stuff

Jealousy “Life owes me”

Jealousy - Somebody got what you deserve and you don’t like them because they don’t like you so you celebrate their failures.
Here are four preventative heart exercises to keep you centered… and out of the ditch. They are opposite of what you feel like doing.

4 Guardrails for the Heart

Guilt, Anger, Greed, Jaelousy

Guilt “I owe You” Confess

Tell somebody. Your reputation/marriage may take a hit, but the damage is minimized. Secrets suck the life out of you.

Anger “You owe me” Forgive

Identify exactly what’s been taken and cancel that debt. “I feel like I’m letting them off.” You are. You’re letting yourself off as well. The damage is minimized.
You are hurting the people closest to you because you won’t forgive the person who hurt you.

Greed “I owe me” Give

Write big “to you” checks. Don’t wait to be asked. Give some precious stuff away. Don’t put your trust in riches, but in him who richly provides.
Acknowledge the real problem. You are really mad at God.
Life happens. God takes what happens and makes things happen if we receive what comes our way, good or bad, as coming from his hands

Jealousy “Life owes me” Celebrate

In the mirror, out loud: Guilt, Anger, Greed, Jealousy . . . you’re not my master.
I’m tellin’. I’m forgiving. I’m giving. I’m celebrating.
Conclusion
Philippians 4:7 NLT
7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Let me ask you…

Is everything okay with your heart

Secrets? Mad? Obsessed with something somebody did to you? Imaginary conversations? Clingin’ to your stuff? Celebrating someone’s misfortune?
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
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