Why does the Bible say that we should ‘guard our hearts’? Doesn’t that sound defensive and alarmist? What can be good about barricading the place where our deepest thoughts, attitudes and desires abide?
The short answer is that there is much at stake! In fact, our direction, our future, and our well-being are determined by what we allow to dwell in the deepest part of us. Every good thing that we treasure (including our faith, our family, our friendships, our fitness and our finances) are either put in mortal jeopardy or carefully nurtured by what we allow into our hearts.
It is helpful to read Proverbs 4:23 in a few translations to allow us to see the gravity of keeping a close watch at the gates of our inmost being:
English Standard Version
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
This means that the quality of what I permit to enter my heart will determine the quality of my life. The worldview that I possess will determine the types of outcomes I see in my life. The degree to which I am operating from the truth that God says about me is the degree to which the trajectory of my life improves. The degree to which I am influenced by what is contrary to what God says about me is the degree to which my life spirals downward.
The Bible is clear that the world (the warped values of this present age), the flesh (our own propensity towards self-indulgence and self-destruction) and the devil (the enemy of God and everything God) conspire against us to diminish our God-given assignments and potential. We have the responsibility to increasingly turn away thoughts that come from these threatening sources- and welcome thoughts that reinforce and position us for God’s best in our future.
Therefore, we have to control our inputs! Here are a few of the areas that I have found that we need to be diligent about. What kind of course is being set for your life through what you are exposing yourself to in:
- Associations– what are the consistent messages that you get from those in your inner circle?
- News– is what you are placing before your eyes inspiring faith or instilling fear?
- Entertainment– are you OK with the destination that what you are watching/listening to is leading you?
- Reading– are you absorbing something today that will improve your tomorrow?
- Advertising– what values am I absorbing that will impact my destiny?
- Inner dialogue– what ‘tapes’ am I allowing to play in my mind as I go through my day?
Every message, value, and assertion that comes your way needs to be challenged, questioned and filtered through the filter of the Word of God… your future depends on it!
I have found that the more ruthless I get about filtering what I allow into my heart- the more free, confident and peaceful I become. The more I deliberately construct my inner life the more I see myself getting traction in the achievement of my life goals.
Above all else, guard your heart!