character Christian Living

Guard Your Heart

Growing up, my house was the neighborhood hub for summer fun. Friends came to play basketball—every day but Sunday—and lined up afterwards for my mom’s homemade popsicles. The front drive was always abuzz with activity.

I think my parents liked it this way, because they knew where my brothers and I were, and could also keep a watchful eye on everyone. They were teachers (off in the summer) and almost everyone in our little town knew them.

Occasionally, after the last pick-up game, when everyone had gone home, my dad would warn me about someone who’d been there that day. “Son, I heard the Perkins kid using the F-word and saw him throwing elbows under the rim. That’s not the kind of friend or player you want to be.”

I actually thought *Jimmy Perkins was kinda cool. But even as a teenager, I respected my father’s advice; he was a good judge of character. Sure enough, later that fall Jimmy got kicked off the team and suspended from school for punching our basketball coach in the face!

Awhile later, I came across the apostle Paul’s warning to the Galatians: “A little yeast works through the whole bunch of dough,” (Gal. 5:9) and I realized what my father had done: he protected me by pointing out someone who was a bad influence.

There’s actually quite a bit in the Bible about how much damage a little leaven can do. Paul used the analogy to clue the Galatians in to the dangers of legalism, but said almost the same words to caution the Corinthians about tolerating a totally different situation. (1 Cor. 5:6-7) Jesus Himself weighed in on the issue. He told his disciples to, “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” who added their own pious rules to God’s law (Matt. 16:6-12).

The point is, we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). One step daily with God in the right direction can transform your life. However, walking backwards has the opposite effect.

I like how fellow blogger Chris Hendrix puts it in his post Defeating Hidden Sins:

“Guarding my heart became something I did rather than just something I read about in the Bible. If every sin was hiding in my heart, waiting for the right moment and circumstances to align, I needed to be more cautious.”

Chris Hendrix

AMEN! Guarding your heart is something you DO.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

Prov. 4:23

To read about my own personal misjudgment with the proverbial yeast, please see the post, Just a Little Off Course.

*not his real name.

Photo by Spencer Lind on

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

18 replies on “Guard Your Heart”

Thank you, Mandy. There’s a verse somewhere in Proverbs that says, “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” That was my father in a nutshell. Blessings!

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I remember a “Jimmy Perkins” in my Lutheran grade school. He came in as a foster kid, but he didn’t last long. Violent play in basketball, smoking outside of the building, language. Fortunately, in that Christian environment his “leaven” didn’t take hold. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the country, so bad leaven spreads all too easily!

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I am so grateful to those who have protected me from destructive influences. A lot of the time we are unaware of how powerfully we are being influenced by friends, family, and the media. I have learned to be careful in those I select as close friends … and I have also tried to exert some influence over the kind of people my kids spent time with. As I get older I see how important this has been.

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Thank you, Betty. Like you said, plenty of what goes on in the world doesn’t promote peace. At least not the long lasting kind. I hope you and Dan enjoy your day as well! I appreciate your comments.

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