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

Guard Your Heart, Add Some Margins

Pam and I call it our Backpack season for a reason. We are busy from early morning until late at night for about 6 weeks and then school starters, praise the Lord. There are many wonderful volunteers who help make this happen. I am not suggesting that we are the only ones bearing the weight of the 12 distributions of school supplies to over 2000 children, but we are busy. Hence the reason for the fewer devotionals, I was physically tired and mentally spent.

My writings come from the impressions of experiences upon my heart. Many of Jimbob stories come from circumstances of the children on the bus, conversations with my grandchildren or real life experiences as a child or with my children. Monday Mantra arises out of intentionally seeking blessing instead of cursing. God’s kingdom ways are upside down from what the world says we should be pursuing. Whispers’ originate from the Biblical text as I interact with how it impacts with real life. The key to my writing comes from allowing for rest and creativity in the margins of my life and the intimacy with listening and walking in the Holy Spirit.

Margins.  I am constantly going to my page setup on my computer and shrinking the margins from 1 inch to .5 inches. I am trying to fit more on the page and distribute the pics and words more evenly. When we are reading a book, the margins help us rest for a brief moment. So, in life, we need to implant margins for our lives. This is more than sleeping, although good sleep is part of the margins.

Today’s verse includes the concept of margins. Listen to a rendering of the first part of the verse from the Pulpit commentary – “Guard riches, property, health, body, everything, in short, in which you have a legitimate interest, or which is advantageous; but before and above everything else, keep a guard on your heart.” Without margins in your life, you are not guarding your heart. Margins create the space to sort life out. Margins give us the space to respond without offense.

Paul says in Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  One way to filter the margins and your heart is to look through the lens of Romans 14:17.

  • Righteousness.  Living, talking and thinking in a way consistent with the values God desires for our lives. Sin and unconfessed sin is not living righteously. Your heart becomes hardened and insensitive when unrighteousness is present
  • Peace. Fear and worry about the stresses of life are not the fruit of the evidence of Jesus’ peace He offers. A worried heart will not operate in faith. Follow the steps in Philippians 4:6-9 to live in peace.
  • Joy. The newness of life in Jesus is joy. This is a newness that is fresh every day and all day long. It’s the anticipation of a journey filled with wonder and awe. It is a hallmark of a heart which is free and full of life.

Solomon creatively pictures the heart as a fountain in which the issues of life flow from it. Physically the heart pumps the cells of life. A sick heart makes a sick rest of the body. So also, the moral heart needs to be flowing freely to produce the joy of living in agreement with God’s ways for us.

I’m not sure how each person will capture margins in your life. Possibly it is a leisure cup of Java in the morning. Perhaps it will include slowing down enough to feel your heart beat and listen to a long deep breath. A long conversation over a meal is a great way to fill your heart with connections of relationships. 

Be intentional and define your margins. There are seasons in which they will get squashed and moved out of the way. Take the time to review and capture the rhythms which produce righteousness, peace and joy in your life.

Blessings Love y’all