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March 12, 2013

Nice Place, but heaven offers better accommodations.

Text: “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap”.  Luke 21:34

God is interested in the condition of your heart. “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man  according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)  The Bible uses the words “heart” and “soul” as near synonyms.   Both instruct and enforce man’s moral judgment and work with his conscience.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…” Indeed, it bears watching so that it does not subvert you. Ask God for His help as did David: “Prove me, O Lord,  and try me: test my heart and my mind”. Psalms 26:2

God gives us the task of searching and adjusting our hearts (as above). We must stand guard duty on our own souls. If indeed we are “free moral agents”, then it stands to reason we can and must be sentinels over our own soul’s well-being. Satan will lie to your heart. Humans will twist what your true heart tells you. You yourself will go against what your heart says is right. Proverbs 4:23 states your duty and  and the importance of scrutinizing it carefully. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”.

That word “vigilance” is bracing. However, the undoing of vigilance is complacency.  Sardis is the fifth of the seven churches of Asia to which Jesus wrote letters in Revelation. Read this brief epistle (Revelation 3:1-6) and note that the key word is “watch”.  The city was very rich due to commerce for it was a hub of many trade routes. It stood on a ridge that jutted  out from Mt. Tmolus. The city’s physical position gave it the reputation of being unable to be overcome. The Persian king Cyrus came to Asia Minor with his army and conquered many cities, but when he came to Sardis he was stumped. So he made an offer to his soldiers that if one of them could find a way to climb up the unscaleable cliffs he would be greatly rewarded. A soldier named Hyeroeades set himself to the task. One day as he was scanning the craggy slopes he noticed a Lydian soldier on the parapets of the city above. The defender of Sardis dropped his helmet over the side of the cliff, and as Hyeroeades watched, he came over the wall and made his way down, retrieved his helmet, and returned the same way to his post. Hyeroeades carefully noted the route and reported to king Cyrus. That night Cyrus’ hand-picked warriors climbed the cliff. When they arrived at the battlements of Sardis they found that no guards had been posted and conquered the city easily. Sardis was conquered because of complacency, lack of vigilance.

Nearing the end of the Israelite’s sojourn in the desert, Moses gave  them this charge applicable to us also. “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life…” Deuteronomy 4:9

  1. Another very applicable post.! We need to watch our hearts, our souls, always. We can so easily be led away from the way we should be going. Thank you so much for this post.

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