Guarding the Gates

There are many things acceptable today that were taboo yesterday. When I was a little kid, TV was our “gaming,” so to speak, that absorbed hours of our attention. TV was the first real electronic “baby sitter” in our modern times that allowed moms and dads to move about freely throughout the day without having to constantly watch the children. I was mesmerized by TV and the four or five channels we had to watch. I most remember a certain show that came on past my 9:30 bed time. Shock Theater was a weekend show that played scary movies from the !930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, that I would watch with a pillow close by, so I could cover my face when the music clued me that something bad was about to happen. My memories are vivid, how that for days after watching the “Wolfman,” or “Frankenstein’s monster,” I would not look at the windows at night for fear that one of those fiend’s faces would be staring in at me!

Today we laugh at those old flicks, they are so cheesy, nearly comical. Movie makers have progressed in producing terror for modern society, so the ensuing generations may have the experience I loved to hate. As a result of my early fears, I would not allow my 3 children to watch horror movies. I did not want them to have to have a night light in their bedroom, or have to sleep with the bedroom door open or closed out of fear. Even then, I realized we need to “guard the gates” of our heart and mind, to keep fear from getting a foothold in our existence.

Doorway to the Soul
What are the gates? The eyes, ears, the heart, and mind are all places of entry that we need protect from fear gaining that place in us, causing the ripple effect, and producing all sorts of dread, terror, and fright for no apparent reason. Fear enters a gate, finds access eventually to the mind, and works its way to the heart, and out of the mouth fears are expressed and realized. In recovery, people fear relapsed, some even have terror of returning to that way of life. We have to guard the gates of the mind from the “triggers” entry. Those triggers may be something as simple as an old song, or talking about the fun we had while drunk or using, that walk through our gates and will not leave. Recovery meetings are vitally important. This is the place where the suffering hear words of hope, faith, and help. These too, enter those gates and find residence and grow strength to win out over the many fear-based qualities we let in for a lifetime.

As a follower of Christ, as I allow the Word of Truth in my gates, my faith grows in the form of spiritual understanding, and many little fears that took hold in my life leave without a fight. Others may take longer. The important thing for us to know is that we allow access to fear, we guard the gates. Apathy, or complacency, the thought that, “that’s silly, that movie isn’t that scary, the kids can watch it,” is all the enemy of our souls needs to find a foothold. As innocent as it may seem, that little bit of fright gains a place to start its web of phobias throughout that child. Selah. (pause and think about that)

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Ps.27:1
“I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Ps.34:4

There are fears that are healthy. touching a flame, walking the edge of a cliff, or walking across an interstate at rush hour are all things to be wary of. As a parent, we must be cautious of who our children hang-out with, keep them away from trouble, or making sure they are not trouble, or a bully themselves. Fears we develop, allow in the gates, are our enemies when God rules our hearts. Addictions, depression (for no medical reason), hoarding, selfishness, anger, are all fear-based as well as terror and dread. Set your house alarm to guard the gates of your being by putting faith’s shield, God’s Word, up as a “force field” so to speak. Let it’s truth build courage, hope, and trust in God’s mercy to keep you from harm. If you have little ones, teach them to be brave in adversity, and that they know to respect healthy fears, and not hide from fears that aren’t there.

If you are in recovery from addictions, know your “triggers” and stay clear of telling the old stories of your past with admiration. Ask God to let you never forget what allowing unqualified fears in the gates of your heart got you, and the misery it provided your friends and family. Let determination in, be with people who are determined if you are struggling. Their faith and confidence is contagious.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!