The following is an excerpt of the upcoming book, “The Mighty Man of Valor: God’s Definition of Masculinity” —

“Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the wellspring of life.’ Proverbs 23:7 says that ‘as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.’ The Bible makes it clear that your internal imagination produces your external experience. The condition of your heart will determine your experience of life. In fact, if your heart is not right, the Bible teaches that you have already given the devil full permission to negate the influence of God’s Word in your heart, rendering it ineffective in your life. The truth is powerful, but it’s not magic. It doesn’t automatically work in your life without your deliberate cooperation with it. The truth must be warmly received into a soft, teachable, and malleable heart in order for it to produce change. God’s Word—the same word that brought this universe into existence from nothing—can actually be rendered ineffective in your life if the condition of your heart is wrong (Mark 4:13-20, 7:13).

– Mark 4:24-25 – Then He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’

You heart will be shaped by whatever you allow to enter into your mind. Your eyes and ears are both gateways to your heart, and whatever you focus on and hear the most will determine your heart condition. And the philosophies of the world are what poison your heart. If all you spend time thinking about is the worldly sewage you see on TV and listen to in secular music, you heart will become hardened—calloused to the Word of God. For this reason, Jesus tells us, ‘take heed what you hear.’ In other words, be very careful about what you allow to occupy your mind. For whatever you spend the most time hearing and dwelling on will be what you receive more of. You will attract more of whatever you focus on. If you only invest your hearing in the atheistic, deceitful, self-centered, and infectious belief-systems of the secular world, you heart will inevitably become hardened and your life put in jeopardy. Everything that the godless world believes leads to death and destruction. If you only feed your fleshly nature, by watching and listening to the garbage spewed out by Hollywood, it will eventually come back to bite you…you will experience death and destruction, rather than the life and blessing that God’s Word freely offers you (Galatians 6:6-8).

However, if you are diligent to guard your heart by being careful what you allow to occupy your mind—choosing to fill your mind with God’s Word—your heart will be molded by the truth and strengthened to face any challenge the enemy may throw at you. Your heart condition is the source of your faith, your confidence, your ability to understand and apply scripture to your life…your heart condition alone determines the degree to which you can experience the will of God for your life. Protecting your own heart from the doctrines of secularism and the lust of the flesh is your most critical responsibility as a soldier. If you don’t have your breastplate of uncompromising integrity fastened—if you don’t guard your heart—you will be totally vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy that neutralize most Christians.

Guarding your heart is not complicated. It simply requires that you make a resolute decision to place a permanent gate over your eyes and ears. This needs to be your conviction: ‘No matter how many people tell me I’m crazy or too strict, I refuse to listen to what Jesus wouldn’t listen to, I refuse to watch what Jesus wouldn’t watch. I will guard my heart with all diligence.’ Now this may sound a little extreme to you. In the sight of most Christians, it is. I don’t say this legalistically; you are not held under any obligation. You are free from the law, and now you are under grace. But if you truly value God’s grace and honor the price that Jesus paid to give you freedom, you will not use your liberty as an opportunity for the flesh. In other words, do not let the extent of God’s grace become an excuse to condone a mediocre Christianity. Your heart is impressionable…it is easily poisoned by secular thought. Don’t be careless in what you allow yourself to see and hear.”