Guard Your Heart

As I've started blogging (something I never thought I'd do!), I noticed that I have been reading others blogs to get ideas and style (as well as things never to write about). Recently, I read a blog from Andy Stanley, a well-known pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. I found it very insightful and thought provoking.

Having been in or around ministry my whole life, I've seen almost everything so that nothing really surprises me anymore and most of the personal train wrecks we see originate out of the heart. In his blog he starts out quoting Matt. 15:19 where Jesus warned "...out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." We can all think of someone who has derailed their ministry or career from something on that list.

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Especially over the last two years, I have been reminded numerous times to "guard" my heart, and am learning to recognize my shortcomings in some of the areas that Pastor Stanley mentioned in his blog. He said, "The simple truth is that leaders who fail to monitor their hearts jeopardize their organizations. If we neglect the arduous work of monitoring what's going on inside of us, our organizations will suffer."

First, we all carry unresolved guilt around with us. We all have secrets. These secrets cause us to have "trust" issues within ourselves and thus, with others. It's impossible to build cohesive, transparent teams when we carry around guilt.

Second is an interesting one... anger. Angry leaders live as if the world owes them something. They are impossible to please and attract people in their organizations that want to keep the "boss" happy and are concerned more about pleasing the boss rather than making decisions that are best for the organization. This usually leads to poor decisions that lead to a never ending cycle of angering their "angry" boss, which leads to further dysfunction within the organization.

Last, unrecognized or ignored jealousy can potentially destroy the synergy of a team. Pastor Stanley noted that jealous leaders measure their success by the failure of others. We cannot sustain momentum when we focus primarily on what others are not doing right rather than looking for ways to personally move forward. When we have jealousy, we tend to feel threatened. Threat creates insecurity. And insecurity stifles growth.

We might never be able to totally eliminate these heart issues but through Christ, we don't have to let them control our lives or contaminate our organizations and those around us.

So, here's the simple challenge to us. Guilty? Confess to someone. Angry? Genuinely forgive. Jealous? Refuse to let it take up residence in your hearts. Celebrate the successes of others.

Read Andy Stanly's blog in full here.