As a Christian of 15 years, I’ve often heard this phrase.
Guard your heart.
Truthfully, I put it in my Christian jargon pile. I let it sit between “This is my season” and “Jesus take the wheel.” It was simply what people say. However, over the last few weeks this phrase has been at the forefront of my mind. As I had experienced recent disappointments and heart breaks, I found myself yearning to understand how can I guard my heart. That’s when I discovered this verse tucked in Proverbs.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
Not only did I need to guard my heart, but it was a HUGE deal to do so. In fact, my entire life depended on it. My first thought was, “Why aren’t churches across America screaming this from the pulpit?” My second thought, “Lord teach me everything I need to know about this, my life is at stake....literally.”
Fortunately, the verses that follow specifically outlines the three ways to guard your heart.
1.) Protect Your Speech
Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:24
The first step the Bible gives to guard your heart is to watch your mouth. We need to ask ourselves, what is coming out of our mouth?
Do I use my words to uplift or tear down?
Do I gossip or protect those who aren't present?
Do I speak the Word of God over my life or speak fear, worry, and complaints instead?
The Bible says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. In other words, what we say will refresh or curse the very atmosphere of our lives. Your mouth can cause you to lose friends due to gossip, lie to impress others, and be rude to one who needed to be loved. In the same way, your words can lift up a person in a tough time, pray for those in need, and praise God. Truthfully, its up to us how we choose to use our tongue. I believe this is why James 1:19 implores us to be slowwwwww to speak.
The best way to protect your speech is to practice the pause.
When we do this, we can learn very quickly how to know if God is leading us to speak or be quiet. He will send wisdom and discenrment over our words, if we choose to listen.
2)Protect Your Eyes
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Proverbs 4:25
In other words, don't look to the right or left. Stay focused. Keep your eyes on what's next for your life. Often times, we forget to keep our eyes on what lies in front of us. We find ourselves looking at others and comparing our journey to their's. Bitternes, frustration and irritation typically result as we start to even question the Lord and His will. I have been a victim of keeping my eyes on others versus what the Lord was sending me to do. I spent years aggravated by their actions or inactions. My life became wrapped up in what lied before "them" never keeping myself aware of what God wanted to do in my life.
Though this verse has a slightly different meaning, its importatnt to also consider the practical application of guarding our eyes. Now is a great time to ask ourselves, what are we watching? What are we allowing to enter our sights? Do we spend our time watching horror movies that envoke fear? Reality shows full of profanity? Googling our every sympton? Watching a screen all day? In other words, what has our attention the most and what can we do to start to shift what we allow in our visual space? These questions will help us to protect our heart and mind daily.
3.) Protect Your Path
Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Provers 4:26
Each step on our path is important. Its critical that we are wise about how we move forward and our choices. In this verse, the word "way" can be substituted for the words, walk, road,direction or journey. The This verse reminds us that when we are careful about our actions, our life's journey will be come together! When we allow the Lord to lead the way, He will keep our steps ordered.
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil. Psalm 119:133
I believe with these three important steps in mind, we can truly guard our heart. Here's the thing, we all guard our heart with something. Perhaps with fear, anxiety, or walls, we keep ourselves "safe." Today,
God is asking us to guard our hearts by allowing His Word to infiltrate our speech, be a a guide for our eyes, and to direct our steps.
When we do this, our lives will start to fall in pace with His perfect will for our lives. Our victory in this life over circumstance may be found in our choice to be intentional about our hearts. Our choice to completely surrender our ways to him and to keep our heart on Him will be what shifts us and keeps us protected from the enemy and His schemes.
Remember, above ALL else...GUARD YOUR HEART. Your very life depends on it!
For more on a life of everyday victory, grab your copy of The Victory Walk, A 21 Day Devotional here!