In life, we do many things to guard and protect the things we cherish. Some will purchase a home security system and install as many gadgets as necessary to know what is happening in their homes. Others may install security systems in our cars so that we can keep them safe. Or maybe we take in a dog to guard us and all the above. We guard these things because we consider them to be precious and valuable to us. Likewise, we must use that same energy to guard our hearts because we should cherish the preciousness and value God instilled in us. Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the importance of guarding our hearts.
Understand that in most cases where the bible discusses the heart, it is not referring to our heart muscle. Instead, it relates to our inner man, mind, will, heart, and understanding. So, when we read, “Guard your heart above all else,” in the NLT translation of Proverbs 4:23, it emphasizes keeping, watching, preserving, and guarding our minds. If you are wondering why this is important, we can refer to the remainder of the verse in Proverbs 4:23, which reads, “For it determines the course of your life.” Likewise, as this verse indicates that our heart will influence our life, Dr. Robert McGhee declares that our beliefs will influence our thoughts, which then affect our feelings and emotions, which will then influence our actions, with the result being an influence on our environment or how we perceive the world around us. Thus, what we allow to take residence in our hearts will impact our actions and environment. And this journey begins with what we believe in our hearts.
Therefore, we must take an inventory of what is in our hearts. The best way to accomplish this is with the Word of God. A great place to start would be to compare our lives with Paul’s discussion on the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. Should we find these things in our hearts, this is where repentance and yielding our hearts to God invokes His Holy Spirit to help remove those things from our hearts. It is a spiritual heart surgery, and we find this in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God can remove our anger and replace it with joy! He can remove hatred and replace it with His love! In addition, He can use that double-edged sword to release the anger and the root of the anger. Remember, anger is the emotional result of something rooted in our hearts. Thus, removing the source of our anger from our heart or beliefs makes it easier for our emotions to be free from anger. In other words, if we remove the negative trauma from our hearts, the negative thoughts, emotions, and actions are also removed.
Finally, after we have endured this heart surgery which has removed what hinders us from our hearts and filled us with the fruit of God’s Spirit, we must focus on the aftercare. To do this, we must filter what enters our hearts. Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:8 that we should think about things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. What affects our hearts through social media, television, music, and books we read? How would those things compare to what we read in Philippians 4:8? Filtering out things that do not match what he said helps bring peace to our hearts. The benefit of this peace is that in verses 6-7, Paul tells us that if we continue to talk to God about our heart and mind, He will fill our life with a peace that passes understanding, which would keep our heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Did you see the transition? We go from trying to keep our minds to allowing God to keep our minds; He becomes our filter to guard our hearts because He finds us precious and cherishes and values us! So, don't choose yourself if you are looking for the best security system to guard your heart. Choose the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness. And know that God’s insurance policy is superior to State Farm, Geico, and Prudential; whatever you lose will be replaced with something new!