Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
We are flooded with ‘Heart Healthy’ tips, especially as the Baby Boomers get older. Watch your fat, exercise three times a week, do cardio, and on it goes. If only we were as conscious about our spiritual hearts. The Bible has lots of things to say about how be spiritually heart conscious.
In the New International Version, it reads Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. That helps to give some clarity to just exactly how important taking care of our heart is. We need to guard the part of “us” where we feel and desire and have the energy to face life. We also need to keep our hearts safe, because that’s where Satan would want to rip us to shreds. It is where we are vulnerable to attacks because our hearts are where we feel, hurt and cherish.
The following are three reasons to think about, related to why it is important to guard or to keep our hearts safe from the attacks of the evil one, of our own mindless choices:
- Your heart is extremely valuable. I wouldn’t guard something that is worthless, like a pile of garbage or a beat up bike that doesn’t work. But your heart is valuable. It is the core of who you are, where your dreams and passions live. More importantly, it is the part of you that connects with God. And, we are told to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength in Matthew 22:37.
- Your heart is the center of what makes you tick. Every action you take is the result of what is taking place in your heart. Our hearts are kind of like warehouses. If we store up resentment that never gets resolved, bitterness and negative words and emotions come out. If we store up ideas that go contrary to God and His Word, we act on those ideas when it is time to act, almost like a reflex. Matthew 12:34-35 says, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
- Your heart is constantly under attack. We have an enemy, Satan, who is bent on our destruction. He opposes God and He opposes those of us who purpose to follow Him. Satan has weapons like disappointment, discouragement, confusion, temptations of all sort, and flat out lies to try to trip us up.
There are some people that you probably need to stay away from who are profane, negative and divisive. The movies you see, the books you read and the jokes you hear and tell all can choke out your heart. Finally, the intimate relationships that you have can steal away your heart.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I feel that tug of war almost constantly. My heart is pulled in so many directions. I sit at Jesus’ feet in the morning before I leave for work, I focus on God’s Word and His promises, I pray as I head into the day, and then “BOOM!” The day hits like a lit firecracker, people pushing buttons, barking orders, me responding in ways that I don’t want to…
This week my head has spun as my head has hit the pillow. Me: God, I am losing ground having influence over the people I lead–I am just not up to it anymore. God: Your sufficiency comes from Me, not you. Me: This battle is never ending and the darkness is getting darker. God: The battle is not yours, but Mine. Me: I feel like I’ve been in a beat down. God: Come to Me and I will give you rest. Don’t envy those who ‘set their mouths against the Heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.’ They might look like they’re winning now, but they won’t win in the end.
God, please guard my heart. Keep me In the cover of Your presence where you hide me from the plots of me; store me in your shelter from the strife of tongues, from Ps. 31:20. Keep me from getting jaded, defeated, or becoming like the people around me. Be my sufficiency, my battle shield, and sword for my fight. Cover me in the shadow of Your wings.
*Image from ruachonline.com