“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
-Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
The New Living Translation reads, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts above all else. I would say this is one of those really important life lessons.
Last night I dug out one of my journals from 2005 and found a note in the front pocket sleeve that read:
“guard your heart – from it come the issues of life. (Life issues forth from the heart – from “the abundance of the heart…”). Let God be the One who guides it. He is jealous for you and your heart. Don’t give it away to others.”
This was written by my friend’s mom, Linda VahnDijk, during one of our discipleship meetings. What I learned about guarding my heart has helped me immensely over the last six years. I want to share with you what I’ve learned and how it has helped me.
How Do You Guard Your Heart?
I learned that I could guard my heart by deciding where I placed my affections. Our hearts have little strings attached to them which get tugged on by by different things in life. If you don’t know you have the power to guard your heart then those strings can too easily become attached to the wrong things.
One practical way to have these strings connected to God is to worship Him. When we sing songs, adore Him and enjoy His presence our hearts start to become tied to the Lord (quick side note: worship isn’t about feeling so don’t think you are a hypocrite if you worship God when you don’t feel like it. Feelings should follow your decisions, not lead them).
If your affections are in God then it becomes easier to guard your heart. Worship can be thought of as the offensive part of this while boundaries you set in life are the defensive part. Let’s talk about boundaries real quick.
Boundaries are the Walls
Boundaries are the parameters of your life. Picture a medieval city with walls surrounding it. The city is your heart and the walls are the boundaries that guard it. Walls are constructed to protect your heart from invasions by enemy forces.
Let’s take lust as an example of one of these enemy forces. Many people in the church are constantly plagued by a spirit of lust, many of which have never been taught this important lesson about guarding their heart. Even after I became a Christian I was defeated by lust for about a year until I was finally delivered. And once I was set free I learned the truth that I could, “guard my heart”.
What Do You Mean You Were “Delivered”?
Since we are talking about spiritual things it can be difficult to put my experience into words, but here I go. Before the “walls of my city were in place” I had no defense against lust. I was like the city that was plundered every time enemies came by. I just sat in ruins.
But after the Lord delivered my from this bondage (that’s a story for another time) I knew something changed inside me. The walls of my city were now in place. Now when temptation comes I have a secure place to resist the attack. In fact, it really isn’t much of a fight. I just lift up my shield of faith, like the Bible commands, and I’m able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one.
I’m grateful for the blood of Jesus and everything He did at the Cross. If it wasn’t for Him then there would be no deliverance, no shield of faith and no way to guard my heart. I hope this helps you in your journey with the Lord. And let me know what your thoughts are on the matter. I love hearing people’s insight and different perspectives so feel free to leave a comment below.