My good friend, Chris Fabry, served as my co-host for many years on our Pastor to Pastor audio series, produced by Focus on the Family when I was there ministering to pastors and their families. Chris can now be heard on the Moody Radio network as the host of his own daily program, Chris Fabry Live! And Chris is also a proficient, award-winning author. In his first novel for adults, Dogwood, the father of one of the main characters tells his son how to develop a good heart.
“You work on it [developing your heart] like anything else. It takes time and effort. Your heart is like an unplowed field. Even if you have good soil, you have to work it up and see what’s best to plant there. If you train your heart to see things, to lean toward others, to care about people rather than things, to always take advantage of an opportunity to reach out to strangers and sacrifice for your friends, you’ll wind up with a good heart.” (Dogwood, © 2008 by Chris Fabry)
James gives us some guidance related to issues of the heart: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Also, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:7-8).
Our defense from things that damage the influence of the church and our extended ministries includes: intimacy with God, a loving family, right relationships (colleagues, constituency, and leadership), adequate rest, honest accountability, a meaningful ministry, an attitude of joy and thanksgiving, constant prayer, and a vigilant spirit. We just can’t take chances. Guard your heart, my colleague!
“Righteousness guards the man if integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner” (Proverbs 13:6).