It is my prayer that every Christian recognizes the importance of serving God through the way we serve others. There are few things, if any, that are as emotionally exhilarating, and draining, as the task of serving others. Having worked in a variety of ministry settings, including various roles within Christian camp ministry, I understand the excitement that often comes with the beginning of a new ministry or ministry season. I also understand the weariness than can develop when our focus begins to drift away from the ministry of serving and onto ourselves.
This is day one in the eighth week of devotions from the book, “Serving God: Devotions for Active Worship”. This devotional book is laid out in thirteen weeks of daily devotions with each week wrapped around an aspect of how we can serve others. Each of these devotions are designed to help a person spend time with God to see how serving others is an act of worship.
Guard Your Heart Against Temptation
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.“
Matthew 5:27-28 (NIV)
What things tempt you? Is it easy or difficult for you to talk specifically about temptations you face? Why? How do you feel about Jesus equating a lustful look with adultery? Why is it important to guard your heart as you serve, and not just your actions? Is it easier to stop a tempting thought or to stop a sinful habit? Are you a positive or negative influence on the thought-life of those you serve? Why does this matter? How does guarding your own heart help others to guard theirs?
We are bombarded on a daily basis with many things that can easily become temptations in our hearts and minds. I’m afraid that far too often we refuse to acknowledge temptation because doing so would call for a change in our television viewing, our internet practices, and/or our daily conversations. Until we recognize the serious threat that temptation is, we will likely not guard our heart as we should. Serving like Christ is messy work. Doing so with an unguarded heart is simply asking for trouble.
As you pray, talk honestly with God about the temptations that you struggle with. Pray that you would use regular time spent in God’s Word and prayer to guard your heart each day.