“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Paratroopers have a great dread of Roman Candles. When a man or woman trains to be a paratrooper they learn to safely pack parachutes so that when the paratrooper jumps from the plane and pulls the ripcord the parachute opens beautifully and fully.
When the parachute fails to open properly and simply becomes a ribbon of material streaming above the jumper it is called a Roman Candle. Needless to say a Roman Candle is a fatal jump for the hapless jumper.
Years ago on an American army base paratroopers were making a scheduled jump and one of the men had a Roman Candle when his chute failed to deploy properly. All of the paratroopers gathered around the dead man as the sergeant opened the book attached to the fatal chute to read off the name of the man who had packed it. One of the men who jumped that day was the one who did not pack the chute properly causing a Roman Candle.
When the man’s name was read he jumped high into the air and ran in circles screaming again and again, “My God why was I not more careful? My God why was I not more careful?” It was the end of the sloppy man’s career in the army, and the beginning of a life of torment over his careless action.
Christians can become careless about their spiritual life and not carefully obey the verse for today. Perhaps we allow ourselves to watch the wrong kind of TV shows that depict sinful behaviour. We invite garbage into our hearts and minds. We become dulled to the evil of such actions and we regard it as “innocent” entertainment.
Or we are lax in our efforts to love God’s people and so ignore those around us who could use a drive to church, or simply a visit to let them talk through a serious problem they are struggling with (James 1:27). Or do we speak harshly to someone who has offended us (James 1:26)?
Perhaps we are slack in our reading of Scripture and do not use it as a flashlight to shine on the dark road of life (James 1:25). In many ways as followers of the Saviour we can easily become careless and sloppy about “guarding” our hearts.
What will be your response as the secrets of your heart are revealed in that great day? Use this day well so that it will be a thing of beauty to the God Who has created you. Go out and fulfil your created purpose every day until you stand before you Creator and hear His words,
“Well done good and faithful servant,
enter the joy of your Lord.”