So much relational intensity is happening in our world. With each heated issue there is an abundance of evidence on both sides to support a preferred position of choice. Intellectual and spiritual camps have been constructed with moats to surround and protect each opinion. Those outside our way of thinking, even fellow believers, are now suspect. In some extreme cases, a difference of opinion has been used as grounds to challenge the faith of others. We are no longer defined by the core elements of our faith. Cultural issues are now determining the boundaries of our unity.
As I pondered this sad situation, a verse came to mind, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). “Above all else” is a place above our politics, opinions on medical care, and our worldview. That is where we will find spiritual direction for our lives. The “above all else” has to do with a decision-making process that is sourced in the condition of our hearts aligned with the heart of God. The decision to live from that “above all else” place will affect the sustainability of our current relationships – who we choose to engage or dismiss. Unless we get a handle on the condition of our hearts, we will be led by things that in the end – when eternity is finally faced – won’t matter.
We need to draw the “above all else” line somewhere in our lives. This is not a line between us and those with whom we disagree. It is a line that keeps our hearts so aligned with God and His purposes that we would never cross it and allow issues below that line to separate us from fellow believers. This is a hard thing to do because we bring so much emotion to these issues that it is a challenge to know where to draw the line.
A life of faith without such a line will be void of peace. This lack of peace happens because there is no place for rest. Those without such a line will always be pushed and compelled to follow the next and latest passionate social issue allowing those things, not the heart of God, to direct the course of their lives. That misguided direction will lead to a lonely and bitter place where other lonely and bitter people have gathered and assumed they are the only true believers.