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Heart Defender.

Published on

August 2, 2021

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” — Proverbs 4:23 [New Living Translation]

There have been debates and conspiracy theories around the quest and desire for active mind control of the general populace by a select few. Regardless of your position on the validity of these debates and theories, we would all generally agree that there is a constant tussle for mindshare by multiple entities for various purposes and towards numerous goals — a consistent bombardment on the gates of your heart.

Every second we spend awake, we are constantly fed information through our senses — what we see, what we hear, what we read, what we watch on the media, and so on. More often than we realise, this information slips into our subconscious and provides the raw material for the formation of thoughts, ideas, hopes, fears, opinions, beliefs, choices, and more. In most cases, this deluge of information shapes culture and systematically tailors societal norms. (i.e. unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that are considered acceptable in a particular social group or culture)

This is why Paul in Romans 12:2 urges believers “be not conformed…” because he recognizes that there is constant pressure to fit into a mould, into a definition. Instead, we should be transformed by the “renewing of our hearts…” — a process of meditation on God’s word, our manual for living, “so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Amplified Translation)

I’d try to paint a picture. Let us imagine that you are a computer. Your senses are your input devices feeding information to your CPU, which is the heart. The CPU is making decisions and carrying out tasks, based on its interpretation of information given to it. Guarding your heart is like installing and maintaining Anti-Virus software on your computer. If you do not continuously update your virus definitions (i.e. renew your mind), you would likely end up with a virus that warps the Operating system, causing applications to misbehave, files to go missing or even a complete system crash. Some of these viruses are known to propagate and spread themselves into nooks and crannies on the computer such that they are extremely difficult to remove completely. Some others embed themselves deeply into core system files and only begin to manifest symptoms much later once they are fully “rooted and grounded”. Some other viruses automatically delete anti-virus/malware software that can remove them as a means of self-preservation, such that the only way to fix the system may be to mount it on another system or via a diagnostic mode.

I understand that this is not a write up on “How Computer Viruses Work”. However, such is the case of a heart left unguarded or in a state without constant renewing. History tells of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. How that the fall of Constantinople in 1453 may have come down to “a single gate left unlocked during the height of battle”. The amount of havoc computer viruses can do if left unchecked (costing nearly $1 trillion in 2020 — over twice the size of Nigeria’s GDP) is similar to the amount of havoc a single unrenewed thought can set in motion if allowed to fester unchecked in our hearts — if not judged through the lens of God’s Word and discarded from our system.

An unrenewed heart can not prove for itself that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Instead, it would take reference from the deluge of mainstream information it is fed — information ridden with viruses capable of warping and dampening the effectiveness of the new man. In this age, it is too easy to get caught up in the sea of information and ideologies that may sound and appear right and logical, coming from “credible sources”. As believers, we are new creatures! Just as you would not read an Android manual to learn how to operate an iPhone (regardless of who the author is), we do not source our definitions and beliefs from societal norms and beliefs. The Word is our complete and comprehensive manual for living and through its lens and anti-virus definitions, we prove what is good and acceptable, setting up guard on the gates of our hearts.

Having been under the bombardment of information over the years of our cognitive existence, it is likely that one or two alien thoughts may have slipped in — either pre or post our new birth. As we go through the week, I urge that we take some time for introspective thinking/ meditation; questioning unrooted beliefs/ idiosyncrasies and interpreting experiences through the lens of God’s Word.

“God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting way — the path that brings me back to you.” Psalm 139:23–24 [The Passion Translation]

Do have a blessed and virus free week!

Itoro Nehemiah

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