John 14.1 says “Do not let your heart be troubled”. Jesus is telling the disciples that it is not His job, or the pastor’s job, or the church’s job to guard your heart, but your job.
If it is your heart, it is your job to guard it – to protect it. No one else’s!
I have dealt with so many people recently who are – despite what they may say or what hyper-spiritual language they may use to wrap it up in – totally offended by things that are so minor it would embarrass me to get upset about them.
And trust me, you can call it something else, but if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it is a duck. If you are unable to make eye contact with people, unable to return their call, if you don’t speak to them and fellowship with them the way you used to you are offended. If you leave a church you are part of without discussing it with the church leadership, and just sneak off you are offended. If you cannot bless someone freely, you are offended. It’s that simple.
The reason is always the same – people do not guard their hearts. They don’t protect their hearts. There is only one way to access the heart, and no – it’s not through the stomach, it’s through the ears. And that’s both sets of ears, the physical ears and the spiritual ears.
You need to guard your heart by protecting your physical ears. Jesus said take heed WHAT you hear (Mark 4.24). We had a gentleman come to me on several occasions telling me that certain people in the church contacted him to complain about me, and he had listened carefully to their complaints for hours, and now was coming to me with those complaints. I said that’s funny because people had phoned me to contact me and complain about you, but those conversations never lasted more than 8 seconds because I guard my heart by guarding my ears, and I would never listen to someone run you down. You need to shut down people who run down others immediately, not spend hours listening to them!
He didn’t listen to my words, he kept listening to the negative words, and I am not surprised he has now left the church and is going to a non-charismatic, non-faith, non-everything church now. Why? He did not take heed what he heard. When people come to you with gossip, with slander, with accusations – you do not have to listen, you can leave or tell them to shut up. You have to guard your heart, you have to not let your heart be troubled.
But you know it’s not just your physical ears that you need to protect, but your spiritual ears. Jesus didn’t just say be careful WHAT YOU HEAR, but he also said “Be careful HOW you hear”.(Luke 8.18). You need to address what you are hearing by how you are filtering it. Someone will say that the way I am planting churches is wrong, when they have never planted a church in their lives. You need to filter that. When someone is talking to me, I judge their lives, and I realize that everyone is biased and everyone’s voice is not equal.
When Robert Maasbach corrects me, I listen very very carefully, that man not only has a remarkably fruitful life, he loves me with all of his heart and would do anything for me. He can come and visit the church and put more in the offering than his honorarium, he will drop everything to help me in a jam. He is a true servant, and he knows what he is talking about. He has gone much further than me in my journey, so I listen carefully. When a pastor of a church of 30, who has lacked discernment in the past, corrects me, I listen a lot less.
We had people leave our church because a single mum living in poverty lied about us – three kids, three dads, her life was one crisis over another. I would never take her words about a stable person seriously, ever. Why did other people? They never took heed HOW they heard. They not only listened to the wrong things, they gave it the wrong level of significance.
You only have one heart, and you only have one life, it is not a dress rehearsal people. You listen to the wrong people you will die. You listen to the right people you will live. It is that stark and that simple
Why are you poor right now? You don’t guard your heart, and you don’t take care what you hear and how you hear. It is that simple. Why are the mountains in your life not moving? You have doubt in your heart, because you didn’t guard it because you did not take care what you hear and you didn’t take care how you hear.
Why is there no mentor in your life? Because you got offended at the very person that God put in your life to lead you forward – you didn’t guard your heart and listened to gossip about them, and you listened to lies and you weighted the voice of people who don’t care about you and haven’t got a fruitful life over the voice of a person who would give up their live to make you a success.
Today, don’t let your mind play the wrong monologue. Take great care what you let yourself listen to, and weigh carefully the source of what you are hearing. Because a troubled heart will never let you do the works of Christ.
You have a great future. Listen to the voices that tell you that, and listen to the LORD and His Word and grow in grace. Because when your heart is strong, you move mountains, you walk on water, you command demons, you live in abundance.