Walking In Wisdom: The Real Meaning of 'Guard Your Heart'
Settle down cosy with your weekend waffles, and soak in the wisdom from this post. Abby challenges us to keep a pure heart as a matter of life and death; for this is the very vessel from which everything flows. This Proverb encourages us not to let anything become bigger than the truths the Lord has written on our hearts. Love this! N x
If I’m holding a glass filled with water and I knock it with my other hand. What will happen?
Water will spill onto the floor.
Now tell me, why is there water on the floor?
I’ll give you a clue: It’s not because my hand knocked the glass.
There is water on the floor because the glass had water in it to begin with. My hand knocking it was a significant factor but it did not determine what came out of the glass.
Have you ever done something you probably shouldn’t have and blamed the situation? I certainly have – here are some of my greatest hits:
· I was only rude because she was mean first.
· I only snapped at you because I’m exhausted and I have a headache.
· I reacted like that because that’s how I was raised.
Proverbs 4:23 gives us the hard truth: your actions are your own.
Luke 6:45 also makes it very clear that all our actions come from the heart.
‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speak what the heart is full of.’
Temptation and provocation can provide an occasion for sin, but never cause it. On the plus side, anything good and godly that you do also came from your heart. Praise God for the work He is doing in your heart when that happens, and plead with Him to do more when the opposite happens.
So how do we “guard our hearts” as the Proverb commands? What does it mean?
Because of the Fall, human beings (heart and body as a whole) are depraved. Our understanding is darkened, our emotions perverted, our will enslaved and our conscience distorted (Murray, Collected Writings).
How can we fight back against such an evil dominion as this?
Guard your heart physically
Firstly, you can actually guard your heart physically – do you find yourself falling into sin when you’re tired or feeling unwell? Do you find yourself having that extra drink when you feel anxious or stressed? Try to focus on your sleep, exercise, and health. Your heart will be far less vulnerable.
guard your heart spiritually
But mostly, guarding your heart is better explained by a common alternative translation of the Proverb:
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23, ESVUK)
You were given a new heart when you were reborn and on it God’s law was engraved. Keep your heart the way it was when God gave it to you: not letting sin reign means continuing to serve the reigning King.
When you picture the 'springs of life', a well of water flowing out, does it remind you of anyone?
Cue the Sunday school answer:
In John 4, Jesus tells a troubled woman with a parched and broken heart that we need only come to him, for ‘the water I will give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’ (v14). A well that has been contaminated is dangerous. The only way you can have a heart worth guarding is to ask Jesus to give you the water of life.
There are so many voices in this world that threaten to invade our hearts. If you have been mistreated – in your childhood, your school, your love life, your workplace… - it can harden your heart and allow sin to reign and spill out. Yet, we need not be infected by our surroundings. Mike Emlet wisely stated that “we are not held captive to respond sinfully to the sins of others”.
Jesus’ death broke the power of sin; what would it look like to fight sin as if you truly believe you’re on the winning side?
We are also under attack from the voices of culture – our heart’s priorities are constantly challenged. Wealth, relationships, fashion, success, body shape, safety, reputation… If any of these take over your heart, they will obscure the law that was written there and contaminate the springs of life so much so that they lead to death. Sorry to be blunt.
WHy guard our hearts?
Guarding your heart is a life or death matter. But remember this: we guard our hearts from the very same things that Jesus did.
His heart remained pure because He was in close, intimate relationship with His Father. Just as we can be. More than we ‘can be’, we need to be…Are created, designed, called, commanded to be.
Approach the throne of God and you will find grace to help you (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus will be overjoyed to give you the water of life.
Abby grew up in Cambridge and just graduated from Sheffield, having studied Psychology. Abby recently joined the More Precious core team in order to oversee our City Reps scheme, across the UK (and beyond!). Currently, Abby is studying in Pennsylvania. She is excited about the potential impact MP could have, and is delighted to be part of the team!