Hello all! Welcome to the second part of the Having a Heart of Gold series! In this mini-series, we’ve been looking at having a heart after God’s own—what it is and isn’t, what it means, and why it’s important. Last week, we talked about why following your heart may not always be the best answer. (If you haven’t read that post yet, you can check it out by clicking here!) This week, we’re talking about guarding your heart—what does that even mean? And why does it matter? Keep reading to find out!
Usually when someone tells you to “guard your heart,” when your thirteen, they basically mean don’t get too attached to a boy until you’re ready to date. But we all should be guarding our hearts in some way for the rest of our lives.
What do I mean when I say “guard” your heart? Webster’s Dictionary defines guard as this:
a state in which someone is carefully looking for possible danger, threats, problems, etc.
From this, I would define guarding your heart in the Christian context as looking for any possible threats to your heart—temptations, envy, anger, gossip, etc. So why is guarding your heart important?
The Bible gives a really good–and simple–reason in Proverbs 4 (ESV):
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Other versions say to “guard” your heart, for “everything you do” flows from it. As discussed in the first part of this series, our heart affects everything we do. Our emotions, thoughts, and actions all originate in the heart. It’s such an integral part of our being that we can’t afford to leave it be. When our heart is wise, it is evident in every area of our lives:
A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left. Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. (Ecc. 10:2 – 3)
So how can we guard our hearts? There are definitely things we need to guard our hearts from…but how do we do that?
Ask God to create a new heart in you.
When we try to become wise, we become our own kinda wise–which is really foolishness to God. On our own, we can’t guard our hearts. That would be like trying to create weapons out of trees and branches against Satan’s nuclear weapons–it just won’t work.
However, when we ask God for His heart, He gives us just that–the super-tough Satan-proof stuff. We have new desires and new thoughts. When you ask Him to, He will give you the strength to resist Satan.
Ask God to show you areas that are attacking your heart.
Unfortunately, we often have a hard time seeing beyond ourselves. It doesn’t usually go well when we’re all courageous and say, “Temptation? Pfff…I got this.” Yeah…notsomuch. But when we ask God to specifically point out the areas of our lives that maybe aren’t actually turning us toward Him, He will gently convict (or two-by-four-over-the-head convict) you of things that are actually attacking your relationship with Him. Are there people in your life who are pulling you away from Christ? Are there things distracting you from spending time with God? Do you have any desires that are pulling you from Christ?
Make the (uber-tough) decision to put those things aside.
…And if need be, actively pray against them. We are fighting a war here. Christianity isn’t a feel-good philosophy to get us through life and make us moral people. It’s a battle against evil with the promised victory of eternal life. Things won’t change just because you want them to. Prayer is required–regular, sincere, battle-worthy prayer. As you pray against those things pulling you from God, also concentrate on the things that encourage your walk with Christ and build God’s armor around yourself. A heart of good character won’t just happen, but it will become stronger as you build into it.
As you go into this week, allow me to challenge you to find one thing that you need to guard against. Ask God to help you to guard your heart, and be willing to make life changes to become closer to His.
Are there things in your life that threaten your heart-armor?
How do you overcome these things?
Other posts from the Heart of Gold series:
- Is Following Your Heart a Good Idea?
- Guarding Your Heart in Every Area of Life (you’re reading it now!)