Summary: This sermon deals with the need to guard our hearts if we are going to overcome the tactics of Satan.
“Overcoming The Enemy: The Battle For The Heart”
We have been looking at ways the enemy attempts to destroy our lives, Today is Valentine’s Day and it is filled with talk of love. Some of you will be celebrating the gift of love found in your marriages and rightfully so. You have a reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, the love that accompanies Valentine’s Day will end up as a victory for Satan and defeat, for some of our lives. For our desire for romance will cause and has caused some of us to already , open the door for the enemy into our lives. That little red fellow with the bow and arrow has probably done in just as many people at the little red fellow with the pitchfork on Vatentine’s Day and weekend.
How many of you know that love will make you lose your mind? Love will cause you to see things that just are not there? Love will take even a bright intelligent person and cause them to make some of the dumbest decisions you ever seen anyone make. How many of you know it’s not necessarily a good thing when someone tells you, “you are just too in love.”
I want you to know that love is one of the tactics that Satan uses to destroy our lives. For Satan knows that if he can get our hearts attached to the wrong thing, he does not have to worry about us growing in our relationship to God. Satan does not mind us loving God, as long as we love something else just a little bit more.
The real battle ground for our spiritual well being takes place in the heart. Proverbs 4:22 says, “above all else, guard you heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Notice it did not say, here’s one more think to consider. It says, above all else, guard your heart.” I have seen people in the church try to get serious about serving God, and Satan sends a nice person, his or her way, and because they did not take this verse seriously, their hearts led them right out of the church. When our hearts latch on to someone or something, it is not easy to let it go.
In the Old Testament people worshipped idols. Idols were things people looked to get an edge in life. People felt, if I give myself to this, in the long run its going to help me get ahead, or get to something in life I really want. It was almost like having a little god in your back pocket that you could pull out to use against others. Idols steal our hearts, and we grow dependent upon them and start thinking we can’t do without them. We come to think of them as just being a normal part of our everyday living.
God sees an idol for what it truly is. An idol is anything that causes our hearts to push God back to number 2, 3, 4, 10 or whatever spot in our lives. That is why the first commandment of the 10 is the one broken most often which says, “you shall have no other gods before me.” An idol has a greater claim on our hearts. affection than does God. We may not be aware of it, but idol worship is something we all struggle with as believers. There is always something trying to attract our hearts. Idolatry is when I take anything that isn’t God, and put it in the place where God belongs. We even make idols of our selves. “I don’t care what anybody says or thinks, I’m going to do what I want to do.”
God created us to love and to worship. Everybody in here loves something and everybody here worships something. Satan comes along and uses that natural desire to love and to worship and turn it into something that can destroy us with, by getting us to love and to worship the wrong things. The human heart has the ability to create all kinds of competition for God in our lives.
Think of how many different kinds of things people are willing to risk their lives for, just to be able to say they did it. I can’t see risking my life to climb Mt. Everest, when there is a picture available to me to show me what I would see if I climbed it myself. Yet the person climbing the mountain is considered a hero, and I am considered a fool for giving my life for the cause of Christ.
There are at least seven idols that keep coming up in our American culture that were identified by John Ortberg. They challenge our hearts on a rotating basis. The first is money. Money is a good thing and it’s a good thing to have more than what you need. There comes a point though, when if we do not know contentment and discipline in our hearts, greed steps in. The desire for money changes into the goddess of Money. Once we offer her our love and devotion, she takes over and the love of her is at the heart of all kinds of evil. We simply can’t get enough of it. Some people will do anything to have more of it. Love for God and love for people are lost, and life becomes all about what I can get for me.