Okay, full disclosure right up front. I am a complete scaredy-cat. I refuse to watch horror movies. I just don’t like them. They keep me up at night. When I am alone in the wee hours of the morning, scenes from scary movies decide to set up camp in my brain. Now don’t get me wrong, I love thrillers and suspenseful movies, but I just cannot handle movies with evil content or where people get hacked and slashed. If the movie involves spinning heads and green peas flying out of people’s mouths, I will have to respectfully abstain.

When I was about twelve, I spent the night at some friend’s house. They had built up a tolerance for scary movies, to which I was unaware. They suggested we watch a scary movie, so I decided to man up (or boy up) and agreed to view the film. This was a colossal mistake in my young life. After the movie, I was extremely frightened and hyper-vigilant.

Shortly after the movie, my friends decided to go to sleep at about 11:00 P.M. What kind of sleepover was this anyway? Who goes to bed at eleven on a Friday night? I knew I had a long night ahead of me. There would be no way I could turn my mind off, erase the images I had seen in the last couple of hours, and calm my nervous system down enough to even remotely think about sleeping.

So around eleven we all went and got in our beds and mine was conveniently located in front of a giant window with no blinds or curtains. Perfect. Who knows what kind of deranged psychopath or otherworldly creature was staring in at my scrawny twelve-year-old self, just waiting for the opportune moment to pounce? It was one of the longer nights I can remember. I lay there, awake, staring at the ceiling, without anything to occupy my time other than my thoughts. As dawn broke, I finally mustered up enough courage to get some rest.

Needless to say, I loathe Friday the 13th (and Halloween) because it is nothing but a smorgasbord of scary movies. So, I happily avoid the festivities on television associated with the day. I have no desire to expose my mind to scary imagery and lose any amount of precious sleep (I feel like I don’t get enough as it is. Can I get a witness?).

It is nice to know you can just avoid Friday the 13th if you want. Yet, I will say, there is a scary place that we can’t avoid. It is always there, full of some of the darkest, vilest, and most sinister stuff. Often, it lurks just below the surface, laying in wait. I am speaking of the human heart, your heart and mine.

Our hearts are full of grossness. In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 15, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies,blasphemies.” All of the junk that comes out in our lives comes from our hearts. Nasty and scary things lurk down in the dark. We may not even be aware of what is in there at times, and often we keep it out of sight from prying eyes.

We do a wonderful job of hiding the hideousness that exists in our hearts. We learn to act in appropriate ways and keep a lid on the grossness. We learn from an early age what to say and what not to say. We learn to filter our actions and measure our words. So while we may have some monstrous things going on inside, we do great at keeping others from being aware.

The problem is, from time to time, our guard goes down and some of this grossness comes out. We act surprised and say things like, “Well, where did that come from. That isn’t like me. Usually I don’t act that way. Generally I don’t say those things.” But the truth is, all that stuff is there inside our hearts, we just do a great job at hiding it.

Life has its way of getting junk lodged in our hearts. Sometimes it is from being hurt. It can be a result of selfish desires or lust. Perhaps it is a result of bitterness. Maybe we have unhealthy appetites. It could be due to greed or envy. There is a long list of nasty stuff that gets buried in our hearts. If other people could see our hearts or read our minds, we would probably be embarrassed a great deal of the time.

This is why it is so important that we examine what is going on in our hearts on a regular basis. We are reminded in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else,for it is the source of life.” When we let scary, gross, or embarrassing stuff build up in our hearts we can expect them to make their way into our lives. If we want to avoid difficulties in life, then we have to be serious about guarding our hearts and keeping them cleaned out.

You know, as well as I, that our hearts can be far scarier than any movie we could think to watch. So why don’t we watch over them? Are you guarding your heart? When was the last time you had a heart check? Has it been a while? Let’s take a quick inventory to see if everything is alright inside.

  • What are we feeding our minds?
  • Any problems roosting in your heart?
  • Anything you are bitter about?
  • Celebrate the failure of anyone lately?
  • Find yourself watching or looking at things that you know you shouldn’t?
  • Anything that you keep blaming others for?
  • Got any secrets you hope no one finds out about?
  • Told yourself lately, “Well, that isn’t a problem. I can stop whenever I like!”?
  • Do things come out of your mouth on a regular basis that you have to apologize for?
  • Lied to anyone recently?
  • Had to delete your browser history lately?
  • Making excuses for anything?
  • Waiting for someone to come make things right with you?
  • Find yourself pointing out other people’s flaws?

How is your heart? Everything alright in there?

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh