An Unguarded Heart

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

The idea that a leader whom we've known and loved should suddenly be exposed in a devastating scandal seems incomprehensible. Certainly leaders who have taught others could teach themselves. Is there not resident within all Christians biblical knowledge that would protect us from moral failure?

So what is it then that can worm into an individual's thought-life, burrow down into his heart, and then grow so compelling that a leader is willing to risk everything he's loved and attained for a fulfillment of the flesh? Is it just sin? Or is there something deeper, a lack of spiritual discernment that left the heart of that leader vulnerable to demonic manipulation? Could it be that, at least among some, their heart was unguarded to the exploitation of hell?

An Unparalleled Warfare
Please note that I am not blaming the devil for every sin we commit. The fact is, selfishness and self-indulgence, which produce sin, are basic instincts of our fallen nature. At the same time, let us also discern the unique warfare of our times. Our world has been flooded with hyper-sexuality, wantonness and excess. The "red-light district" has moved from the city and entered our homes via the Internet, movies and television. We deceive ourselves if we think we can accommodate an immoral imagination and it not contaminate how we act out our lives.

There is much within the fallen human nature that can be exploited and plundered by evil. When we fail to guard our hearts and avoid what is clearly sinful, a fantasy realm within us unfolds and opens into darkness. Our thought-processes become increasingly accessible to the enemy. To the degree that we hide our sin in darkness, to that degree the enemy can work unhindered building strongholds in our soul.

You see, what entertains us actually enters us. If you are entertained by pornography or sexual fantasy, perverse or corrupting thoughts and habits, you are opening your soul to hell. You must confront this battle honestly, repent of sin, and set a guard over your heart. If you don't, your battle will advance from temptation to serious, hidden sexual bondage, which in turn will spawn a secret life that is porous to the realm of darkness.

People of Destiny, Take Heed
Jesus reveals that a major source of this sexual manipulation is the Jezebel spirit (Rev. 2:20). The rampant immorality we see manifested in our world underscores the increasing influence of this ruler of darkness. Indeed, compare our world today with cultural standards of just fifty years ago and it's easy to see that mankind is under siege. Too many Christians have dropped their defenses, and many otherwise good people have quietly slipped into bondage.

Yet Jezebel's arsenal includes more than lust; there is also witchcraft, which attacks and works to disarm the conscience. Remember Jehu's words? "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (2 Kings 9:22).

We are fighting the "harlotries" and "witchcrafts" of Jezebel. Those who have been defeated by this spirit often feel they were drugged by their own passions. They did things that were flagrantly sinful, almost daring God (or the devil) to expose them. I am talking about the war against church leaders, politicians, and men and women in general. How many more must fall before we realize the need for repentance and discernment?

The Subtle Attack
The Jezebel spirit is a "man whisperer." Its approach typically is not bold but enticing. It comes with seductive words that stimulate the degrading thoughts of human flesh. Its quiet power overwhelms and then disarms the conscience. In your desire to walk upright, what you may actually be fighting is Jezebel, in particular, her many "witchcrafts."

One may argue, "My battle is just sin, not warfare." Perhaps that is true for you, but for others it is a spiritual attack on an unguarded heart. Its power may be aimed at Christians in general, but its specific target is church leaders and those called to places of authority.

There are times when I think the world has greater discernment than the church. Consider these select words from the old Frank Sinatra song, "Witchcraft":

Those fingers in my hair
That sly come-hither stare
That strips my conscience bare
It's witchcraft
And I've got no defense for it
The heat is too intense for it
What good would common sense for it do?
'cause it's witchcraft, wicked witchcraft
And although I know it's strictly taboo
When you arouse the need in me
My heart says "Yes, indeed" in me
"Proceed with what you're leading me to"
—C. Leigh, C. Coleman

The song did, in fact, reveal characteristics about the effect of witchcraft. The composers wrote, "[It] strips my conscience bare." It continues, "I've got no defense for it/The heat is too intense for it/What good would common sense for it do?" and then, "When you arouse the need in me/My heart says, ‘Yes, indeed' in me/‘Proceed with what you're leading me to.'"

Of course, we do have a defense for it in Christ, but that defense begins with guarding our hearts from the opportunities and deceptions of the Jezebel spirit.

Set a Guard
I don't want to make too much of the possibility of witchcraft, for becoming overly focused on this type of warfare can itself become a swamp of darkness. Let's keep things in perspective. However, this is a chapter taken from my book on discernment. We need to be aware of the spiritual realm around us. Whether witchcraft is what you are fighting or just natural weaknesses of the flesh, all of us need to close the door to the hyper-sexuality of our world. Indeed, the world has "no defense for it."

However, for those in the kingdom of God, "the weapons of our warfare are … divinely powerful" (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons and defenses are mighty, but we must use them. Scripture commands us, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life" (Prov. 4:23). The NIV says it this way: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

A guard is one armed and trained to recognize an enemy and turn away that enemy's attack. We are in war and must stay militant in attitude. We cannot be casual with sin or temptation. When you use the Internet, use a software filter as a guard. Be accountable to others. Don't feed your sexual appetites, for these kinds of addictions only go from bad to worse (Rom. 1:24-28).

I'm not saying this will be an easy fight. As powerful as the allure of the sin may seem, the enemy will also work to isolate you from others. The efforts we spend hiding sin are the very tools Satan uses to entrap us in it; so, talk to someone (Eph. 5:11-13). Embrace the process of cleansing, of repentance, and washing your "robes … in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). Confess your sins to God and one another.

Today would be a good time to build yourself up spiritually. You might consider signing up for In Christ's Image Training (icitc.org). Get back in the Word, for the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Use the authority of God's Word to defend your heart against spiritual attacks.

The most important thing you can do is to return wholeheartedly to God. The Lord promises, "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name" (Ps. 91:14).

Beloved, it is time to set a guard over your heart.

Lord God, this day I humble myself before Your throne. You see my heart and the battle I have faced. I ask that You restore me; make me wiser. Let not my enemy triumph over me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grant me the grace to walk with a pure heart, a guarded heart, before You. In Jesus' name. Amen.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, Spiritual Discernment and the Mind of Christ, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.