Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
–Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
This scripture more often then not is an overly used cliche that Christians use. I’m guilty of using it as well probably because its such an easy scripture to remember especially when talking about relationships, love, etc.
But if we take a closer look at this scripture, we can begin to understand that there is much more depth and meaning behind these simple words.
Here are 5 important things you can take away from this scripture.
1. Guarding your heart means acquiring Biblical knowledge.
In order to properly equip yourself so that you’re in the most effective position to protect your heart, you must continually learn scripture.
Learning scripture is a life-long process where you learn and grow in the seasons of life. Your perspective has probably changed over time and as a result, your view on certain scriptures has also changed or shed new light on things you may have overlooked.
That is the beauty of growing in your relationship with Christ and why you must continually learn as much as you can.
2. Guarding your heart means knowing your weaknesses.
We all have those few weaknesses that are difficult to overcome. In order to guard your heart you must know the things in your life that tempt you the most
The process of knowing your weaknesses is a humbling experience because lets be honest, we love talking about what we’re good at but hate talking about what we’re bad at.
Don’t be too prideful to think you already know all of your weaknesses. Your biggest weakness is the usually the one you don’t know about it or choose to ignore.
Take a moment right now to pray and ask God to show you the weaknesses in your life and ways you can prevent them.
3. Guarding your heart means setting boundaries in all areas of you life that are clearly defined.
The element of free choice that God has given us allows us to let in or restrict the things we want to expose our heart too. With that said, while you don’t have 100% ownership of your heart and soul, you are endowed with the responsibility of caring for it.
Therefore, its important to set up boundaries in your life that protect you. Here is an example of areas where you may need to set up boundaries:
There are 3 key things you should know about boundaries:
-Learn your limits means understanding areas where you need boundaries and defining realistic steps needed to prevent areas where you have a tendency to make poor choices.
It also means laying out specific consequences if those boundaries are broken either by yourself or others.
-Speak the truth in love means learning how to communicate our boundaries with those around us in love and defining our boundaries in light of God’s truth and love.
That love which ultimately is meant to protect us from the decisions that hurt us.
–Respect your boundaries and those around you. This is pretty straightforward but many people simply don’t respect their own boundaries or the boundaries of others.
4. Guarding your heart means “feeding” your heart things that will help you grow spiritually as a Christian.
The things that you let into your heart will ultimately be the things that come out. If you constantly let bitterness and anger into your heart, its likely to come right back out as anger and bitterness.
When you guard your heart properly, you nourish it and train it so that your heart will start desiring the things that Christ desired.
This takes time, patience, experience, and obedience. Obedience being the part we can control.
5. Guarding your heart also means letting go of things that hurt you.
As important as it is that you “feed” your heart things that will help you grow, its equally important that you begin to let go of the things in your heart that hurt you.
I’m talking about things like bitterness over the way things maybe didn’t work out the way you expected them too, hate and resentment towards certain people who hurt you in the past, self-inflicted shame because of emotional or physical abuse.
People have a tendency to hold onto all of these things which only “poison” our hearts with more pain and suffering.
Starting today, ask God to help you let go of all of those things in your life that might be “hurting” your heart.
As you can see, Proverbs 4:23 is an active scripture, not a passive one. This scripture should encourage us to take action in our own lives in order to effectively guard our own hearts. The actions or lack of action we take from this scripture will ultimately help us or hurt us in the long run.
What does this scripture mean to you?