Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov 4:23 NIV)

Love, hatred, happiness, and depression are issues of the heart. What a person is on the inside has more impact on his emotions than his circumstances. In fact, all areas of our life are direct reflections of our heart—everything we do flows from it.

The Scripture teaches us to guard our heart against several things: Do not set your heart on riches (Ps 62:10); do not take to heart everything people say (Eccl 7:21); do not praise yourself (Prov 27:21); do not worry (1 Pet 5:7).

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” (Lk 21:34 NIV)

The NKJV version of Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence”, which means that we need to carefully watch over our hearts. Corruption comes through what we watch, listen to, do, and the sins we commit. Instead of setting our hearts on living in pleasure, vain pursuits, and anxiety, we need to be watchful and diligently seek spiritual growth.

Deep in our heart dwells the garden of God. The Lord has plans for it to bear fruit, and He longs to fill it with His Holy Spirit. We are to be a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed (Song 4:12). We are not to be polluted by this world. To be enclosed is to put up a partition to keep out the influences of this world. It is to surround ourselves on all sides with the words of God. With God’s words hidden in our heart, we gradually build a strong and fortified wall. We are a spring shut up in prayer. Praying is spending time with God. This is our time away from this world, and the only way to have deep communion with Him is through His Holy Spirit. We are a fountain sealed. Our hearts cannot contain more than one master. We cannot serve both God and mammon.

We are to look after our own heart. When we are shamed for having an emotional response such as fear or anger, our tendency is to protect ourselves by blocking these emotions from conscious awareness. We need to identify our emotions and to learn how to channel them into positive behaviors. As painful memories surface, we can bring them to God for healing and restoration, allowing Him to remove the shame that has been linked to those memories.

I recall that one time when I was facing a big challenge for my upcoming work project, I was filled with anxiety. During my lunch time walk, I was reminded through a sermon that said “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 41:14). This Bible passage calmed me down and gave me peace and courage to face my job’s challenges.

The heart has the issues of life. It is hard to live a joyful life with a broken heart. Jesus cares for us and understands our emotions. Christ came to heal the brokenhearted so that we can live a full life—therefore, let us guard our hearts.

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