My heart for this Bible-based section of this blog is to take verses, the real stuff, and break it down. Now here’s a disclaimer to you all- I feel like I have to say this, though it should be common knowledge. I am not a theologian, a Bible scholar or an expert of any sorts (obviously). That being said, most of what I’ll say is information I’ve learned, gathered and/or personal “opinions”, if you will. My heart is also that people get involved! The Bible calls us to be in a community of fellow believers. So feel free to comment, add notes, ask questions, and certainly correct me if you feel like I’m wrong too! It’s learning for everyone. So let’s do it.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23 [NIV]
So, what does that mean? Honestly. What does it mean to “guard your heart”? I feel like that is a phrase that is used often in the church- especially by older folks and authority figures giving direction to teenagers or young adults.
Well, let’s break it down.
“Above all else…”: First of all is the context. Above all else. Not when it’s convenient, not when you get around to it. Before any other thing, we are told to guard our hearts. Why? Because they are valuable.
“…guard your heart…”: Guards are put in place to protect something of value. There is no need to protect something that doesn’t have great worth! Think of it this way- what items do we keep in a safe? Maybe money, jewelry, important documents- but you wouldn’t put your grocery list or some old shoes in there. We only guard the things that are of the highest value.
But why does God say our hearts are valuable?
“…for everything you do flows from it.”: That’s just it folks. Everything we do comes directly from our hearts. Our hearts are the centers of our passions, our desires, and the things that make us who we are. The ESV translation says “for from it flows the spring of life”. Our hearts overflow with US. When we don’t protect them, it can contaminate that spring of life- the place that makes us who we are!
Our hearts are the home of all the love in our bodies. It’s the reason for our deepest desires, passions and feelings of intimacy. And since God is love (1 John 4:8), our hearts are the house of God in our bodies too. Which is why they can be common places of conflict with feelings. A center point for God, it makes our hearts a place Satan wants to attack mores than any other. This can cause feelings of Godly intimacy, Godly desires and Godly passions into worldly, flesh desires, passions, and intimacy if we are not careful.
Doesn’t that make sense? Y’all when I processed through this, it pretty much felt like striking gold. We know that in scripture, Satan tempts and attacks believers much more so than nonbelievers. Non believers aren’t a threat to him! After spiritual experiences is when we are most vulnerable—
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as He came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. (Matthew 3:16-17, 4:1)
After this great spiritual encounter with God, is when Jesus was tempted! No wonder our hearts, as the center of God in our bodies, is the center of conflict!
So, how do we guard our hearts? Of course, there could be many many answers to this question. However, I’d say the basic answer is intimacy. Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. And that’s our answer! We press into everything good. We can read our Bibles, get to know the characteristics and personality of Christ. By pressing in to all the good, all the Jesus, in our hearts, we combat the enemy and guard our hearts!
So let me know what you’re thinking. For my Bible journaling gals (YEAH you know who you are, love y’all) here ya go! :’)