Above everything else, guard your heart;
for it is the source of life’s consequences.
~ Proverbs 4:23 ~
We must start with God’s word and take it into our hearts so that we can then live lives that are glorifying to God. What is inside of us will determine what comes out of us. In other words, the health of our hearts will determine the health of our behavior. In Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
So what does it mean to guard your heart? It means you guard your identity in Christ. What is the heart in the Bible? Essential, the heart is the truest you. Your heart is the place where your identity is housed, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man” (Proverbs 27:19). So to guard your heart you must guard your identity in Christ.
~ Mark Ballenger – Guard Your Heart: What Does It Mean? – Applying God’s Word
My own personal journey into Christian mindfulness and true Christian spiritual living has revealed that our hearts are the wellsprings of our lives. Most of us give our hearts free reign because we are under the illusion that we are not able to help how we feel; our emotions are considered the foundation of who we are. And as our feelings rise and fall as often as the wind changes direction, so does our life. We are guided by feelings far more often than we’d like to think. I know that I have made decisions based on feelings and then attempted to rationalize them, rather than making decisions based on rationality and then letting the feelings fall in behind. I let my emotions define who I am. It is a dangerous way to live.
King David could testify to that. His extraordinarily Godward heart usually led him into the Father’s will. Yet it also led him into temptation and a sin with catastrophic results. Even his heart, so often in sync with God’s, was fickle. And fickle hearts produce misdirected people.
I did not believe that when I turn my heart over to God, that He governs me and shapes me automatically. This is not what inspired scripture teaches in Proverbs 4:23. It is a command to guard my heart. I am to be careful about what I allow into my heart. My heart cannot be an open door to unbiblical and ungodly influences. I am not to be captive to them; they are to be captive to the word of God. I am given the responsibility of being vigilant about their content.
Does my heart ride along with my feelings like an anchorless ship on the waves? Is it subject to deep swells and rapidly changing courses? If so, finding direction from God may be a challenge. I may be waiting for Him to shape my heart, while He is waiting for me to guard it. He will do His part, but only I am able to do mine. the wisdom of Proverbs makes my vigilance the highest priority: above all else. That is the attention I am to give to my emotional swells. It is paramount for me to be on guard.
What does it mean for you to guard your heart in today’s climate? How is guarding your heart related to the way you are living a more mindful and meaningful Christian spiritual life? In what ways have you felt your emotions were more in control than you were in managing them?
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Thank you – Damascus Way Recovery