“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
As your heart goes, so goes your life.
Ever since you were born your heart has been in the process of being shaped. Family, friends, teachers, media, music, and so many other things have all influenced who you have become. How you respond to circumstances and how you view life, has been greatly impacted by these influences. Whether you realize it or not, you are always being shaped by something. Even now, as you read this devotional, your brain is making a decision on whether it will be influenced by what you are reading.
Enter Solomon. King Solomon possessed the wisdom to govern all Israel. But King Solomon lacked the will to govern his own heart. His many wives introduced many gods to Israel – and influenced the beginnings of compromise that ultimately led to harsh consequences.
It makes you wonder how such an intelligent person could manage to get their lives in such a mess. But as we found out in previous weeks with the life of Abraham and David, they all payed a high price for their obsessions and an unguarded heart.
Scripture tells us to guard our heart, because it is the source of our life. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people. Out of the heart come all our motives, desires and motivations. We are to barricade our heart against anything or anyone else that seek to claim it because our heart belongs to God. Only God can have the permission to lead, guide and instruct our heart. That is why we must safeguard it. We must diligently and consciously protect it from invasions other than God.
It naturally asks the question of what are you allowing to shape it? There are no shortage of people, or things that want to lay claim to our heart. But they can only possess it with our permission. If something or someone has taken hold of it, it is because we have let down our guard and let it or him/her/it in. As Christ followers we must become intentional in guarding our heart from anything that is contrary to scripture. Rather, we must focus on what enables us to be more like Jesus.
In Proverbs, Solomon reveals the outcome of pathways chosen. Many of the verses in Proverbs offers us hope as it looks to the desired end of our lives and challenges us to think backward along its logical course. How do we want our lives to end? In what areas do we really want to succeed at all costs? The path we take today will lead us there. It attempts to provide us some perspective. And when you have that perspective, and when your eyes are fixed on the prize, you will better guard your heart.
Guard your heart with things like prayer, solitude, fasting, scripture memorization, and learning to sharpen your ability to draw closer to God. These will help you guard your heart because you will be spending your energy on Him. Remember, as goes your heart, goes your life.
- Why is it so important to guard your heart? Why is it important that we address any issues at the source rather than downstream?
- Read Matthew 22:37-38: What is the first and greatest commandment concerning the heart?
- According to Luke 6:45, how does our heart affect our actions?
- Read Luke 21:34 and Deuteronomy 11:16: What are at least two dangers of concerning our hearts?
- Pray and give God complete access to your heart.