Guard Your Heart!


In Uyo in the south-southern part of Nigeria where I come from, a major trade of the locals is fish farming. A good number of the locals around Uyo and its environs in Akwa Ibom state rear fish for a living. This is because the city and surrounding towns have large water bodies and have tributaries from the Atlantic Ocean.

I remember visiting a beach at Eket some years ago and watching fishermen cast their nets with high expectations of getting fish. And I watched how much glow they wore on their faces when they made a good catch. My cousin saw how intrigued I was about that lifestyle and said these words to me:

The different speakers that came up had new things to say about self love and guarding one’s heart. However, during one of the worship sessions anchored by popular Victoria Orenze, one could almost touch tangibly the intensity of true worship in the atmosphere.

“I see you are fascinated by the view. Fishing is exciting, very. But catching fish is only the beginning of the workload. People who buy them here have to work hard to preserve them until customers buy them. That’s when you’ll see their faces glow for real.”

He went on to educate me more on the preservation methods; the most popular of them being salting and sun drying.

I’m not sure what brought about this wave of depression, extreme sadness and suicide, but one thing I know is that it comes from a part of the heart; very dark and not godly. The human heart is as rigid, yet could be as fragile as a glass sheet. Everyone wants recognition and wants to be appreciated. This is the way every human heart is wired. And so the very moment it lacks these expressions of love, it could cause self pity and sadness.

However, this is not (or should not be) the case with God’s people. As Christians, we believe that Jesus died alongside everything evil on the cross and too them to hell where they belong. He arose with the very joy that gives us strength. When scripture says that we should guard our heart with all diligence, it said so trying to imply that we need to preserve our joy. We need to make sure that whatever happens, our joy is intact. And how do we preserve this joy?

Unlike in the case of fishing, we don’t preserve our joy by consuming large quantity of table salt. We preserve our heart – our sanity – by constantly reminding ourselves of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. We preserve our strength by getting to understand better all that the Christ bought for us by the stripes he got from the Roman soldiers. This is what gives us an oomph and refreshing taste of joy in the Holy Spirit!

As Christians, depression should be far from us. Yea, sometimes because we are human, we could be downcast or sad; but we should never lose our joy because in it lays our strength. The very strength we need to walk through life in sanity.
Guard your heart. Guard your heart. Guard your heart.

Yours in Christ,
Itty Okim.

©The Salvation Army Igbobi Corps


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