I’ll never forget the day the President of the United States came to my office.
Well, not exactly my specific office space. More like our office building. It was 1992, and President George H.W. Bush was campaigning to get re-elected for a second term. I was working for Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs at the time. President Bush was scheduled to discuss his position on various family issues with Dr. James Dobson for an upcoming radio broadcast. Pretty neat stuff.
Imagine getting an announcement that the President of America would be arriving at your home. I guarantee it would be nothing short of electrifying. The recording studio was in our building (we had six different buildings at the time). A memo was circulated describing the security measures which were required of all employees at our location.
Unlock all cabinets, closets, desks, and file drawers.
Any area not accessible would be crowbarred open to accommodate a pack of specially trained bomb-sniffing dogs. Once searched, that area was sealed off until the President concluded his visit. Forget the employee parking lot. Anyone leaving their car would find it towed. Besides, we were told to stay home. The office would be closed for the day.
In fact, dozens of Colorado Springs police officers were used to shut down several adjacent streets to all traffic. Bomb dogs sniffed the sewers, public trash cans and sidewalk planters. Anywhere an explosive device might be planted. As if these precautions weren’t enough, a tent was erected adjacent to the entrance.
A tent? Yes. The Presidential limousine would park its long, sleek bulletproof body inside this covering to prevent an enemy sharpshooter from having a view of the President exiting and re-entering his limo. These guys think of everything. Although not in the memo, I later learned that Secret Service agents were posted on the rooftops of several nearby office buildings for added security.
The moment of truth came. I stood across the street with hundreds of other lookie-loos behind yellow police tape to catch a glimpse of our Fearless Leader. At first, the distant hum sounded like a squadron of bees buzzing their way toward us. Within moments the street began to vibrate as a caravan of police motorcycles, flanking the Presidential limo, motored down main street into our headquarters. Several dark Suburbans, probably filled with Secret Service agents armed with machine guns, brought up the rear.
All of these measures were undertaken to do one thing: Guard the President.
Seems like they went to a lot of trouble, not to mention the expense, right? I heard some estimates placed the cost of these security measures in the neighborhood of $100,000. But isn’t that what we do with the things we value most? Whether he’s the President of the most powerful country on the planet, or just my puny savings account at the local bank. As a society, we guard what we perceive to be of great value.
King Solomon knew something about the use of guards. After all, he was one of the wealthiest kings who ever lived. According to the biblical account in 1 Kings 10:27a, “The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones.” And yet, look at Solomon’s surprising advice: “Above all else, guard your heart.”
Excuse me? My heart? Why didn’t he say, “Above all else, guard your cash?”
Because Solomon understood this secret: Our heart possesses the wellspring of life. When Solomon speaks of my heart, he’s not talking about that beating pound of flesh within my chest. My heart is the core of my being. It’s the essence of who I am. It’s where my mind and will, my emotions and convictions come together to shape what I believe and the choices I make.
When it comes to the heart, what are we guarding against? Who or what is the enemy? For people of faith, I believe one of the primary enemies is endless, indiscriminate video streaming. Why? Indiscriminate consumption opens the door behind which lives a three-headed monster called: Distraction, Deception, and Division. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Distraction promises a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute collection of fun and excitement but ultimately prevents me from going deeper in my relationship with my family, my friends and most importantly, with Jesus. Who has time for meaningful, heart-to-heart conversation when binge-watching Game of Thrones, The Crown, Master of None, Wandavision, Mandalorian or other “must watch” viewing consumes our evenings?
Deception is a clever fellow because he seduces me into accepting something which I otherwise know to be wrong, harmful—even deadly. For instance, the Parents Television and Media Council called out Netflix’s pornographic cartoon series called Big Mouth, which they describe as “the most utterly sickening ‘entertainment’” they’ve reported on in 40 years. Newsweek describes the show as following a “group of middle schoolers as they go through puberty and discover sexuality” with explicit raunchy details. Without guarding my heart by refusing to watch such perversion, I can become jaded and lose sight of the biblical mandate to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18 ESV).
Division cuts to the center of my affections. It dangles the temptation of acquiring endless “stuff” with such dazzling appeal I can easily forget the voice of my First Love who encourages me to “seek first the kingdom.” If I’m not careful to guard against it, the materialistic trappings of this world—fast cars, big houses, designer clothes, and the like, will consume me. In Revelation 2:4, God told the believers in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” That said, why not take a moment to evaluate your security system.
What steps have you taken to guard your heart?
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash
Bob DeMoss is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books including collaborations with Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty, Jim Daly/Focus on the Family, Andy Stanley, and Tim LaHaye/Left Behind. His latest short story is "Hazel: The Outlaw Mummy". Visit BobDeMoss.com.