Rule #18 Continued. Guard your senses.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. What you see, what you hear, will determine what you become. This is the real thrust of guarding your heart. Like the quintessential law of physics, "what goes up must come down", "what goes in must come out". I'm not saying hearing a swear word makes you a sailor. But living among and constantly watching hateful people will make you a hateful person. The heart like the brain learns over time, not by single instances. So guarding tour heart is leas about guarding against occurrences of evil and more about guarding against habits of evil. 
 
Swearing in itself is not a sin that I am aware of. However, it is frowned upon by most family environments. So lets use it as our example to represent any undesirable behavior that could negatively effect the heart. Hearing a swear word in public is probably not going to enter and pollute your heart. Good thing as that is unavoidable if you don’t want to live in a soundproof box. But hearing swearing constantly, every day because of a specific person you are friends with or because of a tv show you frequently watch you are opening your heart to and polluting your heart with swearing.  I can guarantee that when times get tough, when your peace is violated your going to swear like the person or tv character you listened too all day.
 
Another avenue of pollution is old habits. If you swear like a sailor it is much easier to fall back into that habit than someone who has never spoken a swear word. So it is much more important to guard yourself against that behavior. If you have never abused alcohol going to a bar is probably not going to be an issue. But if you have a history of alcohol abuse avoid bars like the plague. That is what it means to guard your heart. 
 
A simple summery. To guard your heart:
  1. Don’t immerse yourself in an environment that practices or encourages sinful or undesirable habits.
  2. Take extra precaution when avoiding habits common to you in the past.
  3. Acknowledge the sin when it can't be avoided. 
 
During my time in high school I took an advanced English course that had me read many books with undesirable ideas. It was unavoidable. I was venting about this issue to a mentor of mine (sort of a mother figure) and she simply told me to recognize and call out the sin. Sin gains much of its ground through quite manipulation and deception. Don't give sin the chance to trick you. When I read about a character cheating on his wife I simply acknowledged this as adultery and moved on. When I saw a character yell out a string of profanity, I acknowledged "this is not a very constructive way to express yourself", and moved on. This habit kept me from embracing these subtle influences or allowing them to plant seeds. I dug up the seeds by pointing out the sin.
 
Important side note. Do not yell out loud or point out the sin to your current group of surrounding friends/accountancies/strangers. This is a private practice. No-one, not even you want to be around someone who points out sin in everything. It makes you a prude and undesirable to be around. And instead of helping yourself remain pure of heart your drawing other people's attention to the sin. The old DARE program that schools used to run tried to reduce drug use by educating students about drugs and their side effects. But statistics seem to indicate it had the opposite effect. It just informed people what they should be asking for. Acknowledge the sin to yourself alone.
 
In general the influences to guard most heavily against are the arts:
  1. Music
  2. TV/Movies
  3. Video Games
  4. Books
  5. Paintings
  6. Advertising
 
And people.
  1. Friends
  2. Family
  3. Co-workers
 
Some sinful and wrong ideas that I learned to call out nearly daily as I read, watch, and hear
  1. Postmodernism - "Don't Judge me!", "There is no truth.", "Whatever makes you happy." All these statements are crap. They represent a worldview opposed to Jesus. Jesus said I am the way, the <em>truth</em> and the life. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Sin is enjoyable for a season. Even Christianity is consumed by these statements and they are anti-Christ. Not the Armageddon idea of a single person destroying the earth. The idea that push Christ out of people's hearts.
  2. Sex - "Try it before you buy it", "You haven't had sex yet?", "I got to third base last night.", "We need to know if we are sexually compatible." Society has made it expected to have sex at an early phase in any romantic relationship. It even sets the stigma that third date should result in sex. This is completely un-biblical. The Bible only has one clear and indisputable rule about romantic relationships. Do not have sex before marriage. Don't be sucked in, don't be deceived, don't be disillusioned. Sex is for marriage and marriage alone.
  3. Works - "Pray more", "read your bible", "You need more faith", "it's happened because you are sinful" -  Even in Christians circles there is crap to filter out. Jesus sacrifice is the only thing that gets you salvation. Salvation in eternity and hear on this earth. Healing is not based on faith. It is based on Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Bad things happen to good (all) people because there is sin in the world. Good thing happen to people because Jesus salvation is daily fighting off that sin.