Just A Tiny Bit Of Arsenic


I took my sister to the Pittsburgh airport two days after 9/11, the day everything changed in the world of airport security. There was a palpable sense of fear in the air. Everyone looked like a possible terrorist to me. That young businessman carrying a briefcase. Is he a terrorist? No, too obvious. How about that old lady? You?d never suspect her. What?s in that handbag of hers?

Security was beefed up like never before. You had to take your belt off, your shoes off. You had to show your license, your boarding pass, your Mickey Mouse Club card. You had to pass through a metal detector. They could search you if they thought they should. You know the drill if you?ve flown since 9/11.

And you definitely didn?t want to make any jokes when they asked you if you packed your bags yourself. Definitely didn?t want to say, ?No, a guy wearing a ski mask gave this to me in the parking lot.? Not funny.

Some people grumbled about the new security precautions. Not me. I didn?t care if I had to come 4 hours early if I had to. I didn?t want any bad guys getting on the plane. Go ahead be strict. Search my bags. I got nothing to hide. Just don?t let anybody bring a bomb or a gun on this plane.

Reminds me of Proverbs 4:23:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. ESV

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. NIV

We must keep our hearts ?with ALL vigilance.? We must GUARD our hearts ?above all else.? We must watch over our hearts – our inner thoughts, motives, desires, and intentions with more vigilance than a security cop at JFK.

Jesus said that to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in our hearts. He said that if we?re angry with our brother in our heart, we break the commandment against murder. God looks on the heart. We will answer to him not just for our outward deeds but for what we entertain in our hearts.

We must be vigilant as to what we allow into our hearts. If we take in impure images, we?ll have them in our hearts. If we listen to impure speech, don?t be surprised to have impurity in your heart.

I once heard someone say that we are to be like gate keepers. We let in what is good and pure but shut out the wicked and impure. He said we can?t always help what comes up to the gate, but we can help what we let in and entertain. We can?t always help it when a lustful thought arises; what matters is what we do with that thought. Do we reject it and turn to God in prayer or do we say, ?Come on in, make yourself at home. Now what can you show me??

Beware the thought that says, ?A little bit won?t hurt.? That?s a lie from hell.

Would you drink a glass of water if I said to you ?There?s just a tiny bit of arsenic in this, but it won?t hurt you?? What airline would let someone board who said, ?I only have a small bomb with me??

What if an impure or angry or prideful thought arises from your heart? Pray. Confess it to the Lord then pray. Say, ?Jesus please forgive me for that lustful thought. Please cleanse me and make me pure.? Then thank him that he will do that. When thoughts of anger arise toward someone who has sinned against you, immediately affirm your forgiveness of them and pray for the Lord to bless them.

And of course flee temptation. Turn off the TV when something impure comes on. Get out of the breakroom if your co-workers are telling dirty jokes. Or ask them if they?d mind not telling them. Heart vigilance matters. From your heart flows the springs of life. Your heart affect everything else in your life.

Be a vigilant gatekeeper.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.