The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for it affects everything you do.” Enduring change in your life it starts from the inside and works itself out. You don’t focus on your behavior. You don’t focus on willpower. You don’t even focus on your emotions at first. You focus on what’s causing those emotions. It always starts on the inside. If you really want to break a bad habit you need to stop today and do an EKG of your heart.
- What is your physical condition: Am I more physically exhausted or am I more energetic and in shape?
- How about emotionally? Am I emotionally discouraged about my life? Am I pessimistic about my future? Or am I more encouraged and optimistic about my future?
- How about mentally, the third one. Am I right now mentally bored or discontent with my life, my job, my relationships? Am I bored and discontented? Or am I more challenged and contented in my relationships, my job, my career?
- How about spiritually? Right now, am I spiritually dry and empty? Or am I more spiritually growing? I’m on the cutting edge. I know things are right with God. Where are you between spiritually dry and empty and spiritually growing and on fire with God?
Notice what the Bible says in Ephesians 4:27 “Do not give the devil a foothold.” What is a foothold? It’s when the devil finds a crack in your life’s security system. He hangs on to the space so he can grab more because he wants to control your life. It’s like soldiers in a war taking over an island. They first establish a beachhead. They just barely get on to the shore, but once they’re there they just keep pushing, pushing, pushing to capture more and more of the island. And the devil wants to establish a little foothold in your life once he’s got something there to hold on to.
What is the number one foothold that Satan gets in your life? It’s any negative emotion – when you’re physically exhausted, when you’re discouraged, when you’re bored, when you’re spiritually dry, when you’re insecure, when you’re deeply wounded, when you’re secretly bitter, when you’re sad, when you’re alienated. Any of those things can allow the devil to get a foothold in your life.
Let’s say you’re worried and insecure and angry and hurt. The devil’s going to come along and start saying things like this, “You deserve a little pleasure in your life. You deserve a little comfort in your life. I know this isn’t right but there are so many bad things happening in your life you need something for comfort, for relief. You deserve a little excitement. You need something to calm you down. Because everything’s bad in your life right now you really need just a little bit of good pleasure.”
He doesn’t tell you it’s only going to make it worse in the long run. You have to know the condition of your heart. “Guard your heart,” the Bible says. If you allow these emotions to dam up in your life you are more apt to say “yes” when you should be saying “no way!”