Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Heartland Security

Yesterday, while visiting my Old Geezer friend, I was struck anew about the importance of guarding one's mouth.  That particular wisdom resides on the flipside of the Guard Your Heart coin, and it has been a recurring theme in my life.

There's probably little need to define what "guarding" actually means.  Even so, Merriam reminds us that, in it's verb state it meansto protect from danger especially by watchful attention : make secure.

I think we'd all agree that guarding is, most often, an intentional initiative.  That places it squarely in the realm of defensive versus offensive tactics (think football) - though both may be necessary to ensure the safety of heart and tongue.   Afterall, the scriptures have much to say about waging war, and about the wearing of armor when doing so (think 24/7).  If protection and guarding weren't so vital, would we be instructed to armor up as we are (think Homeland Security)?  

As I read through Old Geezer's post, I flashed back to a scripture that tells us a lot about what words actually mean, beyond the obvious need to communicate.  They are the cascade from, or the overflow of what is rooted in our hearts (Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34).  What we say reveals a lot about who we are.  

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. 
Proverbs 4:23

There are a lot of people in my life who take great delight in telling it like it is, or who eagerly grab center stage.  I'm one of them.  I appreciate straight talk and candor; being direct and truth telling (think politics).  Even so, I know I am guilty (and likely, so are they) of merely wanting to get my opinion out there. 

There's just something about wanting to be heard (or having one's say) that is so tasty and tempting!   

No wonder I am challenged by God's many, myriad, multiple, meaningful admonishings to guard the headwaters of thought and speech, the heart; and the mechansism for delivering its contents, the tongue.

Those who guard their mouths and
their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
Proverbs 21:23
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds ...
Psalm 141:3-4

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 13:3

I can think of no better word-picture for guarding my heart (and the tongue that takes it's queue from it) than that of a lioness fiercely protecting her cubs.  It is then that I understand more fully what is at stake (think marauding hyenas).  It is then that I am better able to value the placement of boundaries, and to take courage in their being guarded (think Lion of Judah).

... in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts
(and the tongue that takes it's que from it) 
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7

... I know Whom I have believed,
and am convinced that He is able to guard
what I have entrusted to Him ...
2 Timothy 1:12


RCUBEs said...

Grapevine at work is rampant and if I'm not careful, it's so easy to get involved with it. Not only it's truly hurtful but all of the time, the story about someone is FALSE!

I was just thinking about "James" the other day of how so little the tongue is but the fire it creates! My! My! My!

I love the analogy you used by posting that picture of the lioness protecting her cubs. I must etch that in my heart especially before going to work...That is my prayer...for the Lord to always guard my mouth...and above all else...my heart...It only happens if I do my part...to choose wisely...Thank you for this nugget. I love Old Geezer...and you! :) God bless.

Debbie said...

What truth is spoken here, and how I struggle with my tongue....I memorized this one YEARS ago...Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity...and pray the Lord draws it to my mind every time I feel the NEED to get my opinion heard...

Have a wonderful day!

Sonja said...

Raising my hand too... I am:

"challenged by God's many, myriad, multiple, meaningful admonishings to guard the headwaters of thought and speech, the heart; and the mechansism for delivering its contents, the tongue."

I wish I would just memorize all of those M words and write them on my heart. As usual... I could NEVER have said it so well! :)

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Well I know those scriptures well, why, because I am one who still needs to learn how to guard my tongue and too many times it has revealed a part of my heart I thought I was hiding.

Love the words, "intentional initiative"...I need to be that way more

Thanks for the nudge to be formed even more like Him and allowing His spirit to do the work in my life.

Saleslady371 said...

Your points are well taken and it is right to guard our hearts and let the Lord direct our words. I must tell you that I love your strong opinions. I cherish the times you have spoken into my life.

Beth E. said...

Preach on, Sassy! Over the years, I have learned some very hard lessons about keeping my mouth shut.

I was actually thinking about this today, asking God to guard my mouth. Then I came over here and read your post! How 'bout that?!


Rita said...

Kathleen, what a tremendous post today. As I read through this, I thought of an ugly comment that was posted on my blog. The "anonomous" didn't even have the gumption to sign her name. She misread a statement that I made on someones blog and lambasted me for it. I'm really sorry she did not re-read that statement, for she would not have said what she did. I try to guard my tongue when it comes to things like that. I try to only say things to others that I would like to have said to myself, not hurtful things. There is no room for ugliness on these blogs. Thanks for listening to my complaints and thanks for reminding me to watch my own tongue.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the reminder to guard my tongue, and especially my heart. I know that's something I always need to do.

Reflecting on Grace said...

Thank you for this wonderful post - it spoke directly to my heart. I often have to ask God to place filters on my mouth. Many blessings!

Andrea said...

I am really having A LOT of mouth issues, lately. Trying so hard to guard my mouth/tongue/words!

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

We know a fella (I imagine we all do) who, as my husband says, "likes to sit around and think about what he's going to say next, despite any and all conversation going on around him." Doesn't much matter if his words relate; he just likes to open his mouth. So do I for that matter!

You know what grabs me about this picture? The cub keeping watching with momma/daddy, whatever it is. It speaks to our intentionality as well!


Just a little something from Judy said...

I am so thankful for the full time guard that I have been given for my heart and words. The trouble is that I too often rely on my guard instead of His guarding. What a mess I can create. He is the best guard!

Love the way you worded this, as always.

Brenda Leyland said...

oh my... it's been an absolute age since I've been your way. But what a treat to find your link on Judy's site (you left her a comment).

And I so enjoyed your posting. Lots of food for thought....

~Ron said...

All I can say is... AMEN! and AMEN! :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathleen -

Like Ralph Cramden, from The Honeymooners, I've been know to exclaim, "Me and my big mouth!"

What problems this tongue can cause us. The scripture on your header is a daily prayer for me.