Pondering the Principles of Proverbs
Therefore, it is NOT possible to take a preventative action against a certain type of enemy. We must have some sort of protection that will protect our heart against ANY kind of invasion.
What we are looking for is a universal prophylactic.
As stated before, we are all born with the effect of sin in our life. Sin, not being dealt with, keeps us with the tendency toward trouble. For the Christian believer, that sin is dealt with and done away. If it comes back, it is through our own poor choices.
We have seen that the necessity of guarding our heart is best done through controlling our thoughts.
Controlling our thoughts, however, seems to be an impossible task.
The strategy I am about to share with you is available to believer and pre-believer alike. It will work for anyone who puts it into practice.
The strategy is simple, but may take a lifetime to master.
You were told this simple strategy by your parents, your teachers, and your coaches while you were growing up.
Have you ever gotten in your car, started down the road, and realized you needed to go the other way? We all have. We weren't paying attention. Have you ever knocked something over unintentionally? (See? I knew you bowlers out there would get on me if I didn't say “unintentionally”.) That happened “accidentally” without intending to—ie, not paying attention.
The absolute most important skill you can develop in your life is the ability to pay attention. And, it is NEVER too late to begin the practice.
The heart is infected through the sense gates. What you hear and what you see are the two main gates. We have become so accustomed to NOT guarding our heart that we are not aware of the dangerous things we are letting in.
Do you recall the furor over “subliminal advertising?” The idea was advertisers were 'hiding' things within sights and sounds of which we were not aware. (I'm not here to debate whether it was actually done, or whether it actually worked.)
However, due to the chaotic, distracted, unaware life that we now participate in it is possible to blatantly slip anything into most everything the masses are consuming via sight or sound.
Jesus put it this way: “And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear...” (Mk. 4:24 ESV)
Do you turn the radio or TV on just to have some 'background' noise? You're not paying attention, but you ARE being affected (infected) by whatever is coming across the medium.
NO, you say?
We've already seen how those things are stuck within our memory, ready for instant recall.
“Fifty million times a day, at home, at work, or on the way...” If you are old enough, you finished that jingle without a thought, even though it hasn't been used since the mid-'50s.
“Winston tastes good...” Complete it? Are you a smoker? A non-smoker? Affected either way.
Now that you are older and more discriminating, you may think you are immune to that sort of thing. I'm not able to bring up a modern example since commercial TV and radio are no longer a part of my life; but I would venture to say that even though you “don't pay attention to commercials,” if someone were to reference one, you would know about it.
Put it into practice beginning today.
Pay attention to whatever it is that you are doing. Focus on the task, even if it is simply veggin' out. Pay attention to the experience.
Pay attention to how you are affected by what you see and hear. Sometimes that effect is not immediate. It may be hours or days before the effect shows up. Pay attention.
Pay attention to what is coming across through the medium of sound. What are you hearing?
Do you think Wal-Mart or Lowe's expects their customers to be paying attention to all the various videos of advertising dotting the aisles? Of course not. It's not necessary. All they want to do is to bypass your consciousness; and in today's environment that is as easy as falling off a log.
Guard your heart from taking on thoughts contrary to the life you want by paying attention.
(I have not dealt with this in nearly the depth that is on my heart; but I hope that maybe you have been given an inkling of what you are up against. Begin today. You WILL make progress. Guaranteed, or the money that you didn't spend for this will be cheerfully refunded.)
Editor's Note: This article was written with the assumption that you have read the previous three articles. If you haven't, some of this may seem ridiculous, or without merit. I encourage you to read the first three installments before this. Thanks.
All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.
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