“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
Knowing that we must guard our hearts is one thing. How to guard them is quite another.
I don’t know about you, but when Scripture instructs me to do something, I want to know how to do it. So let’s take a look at how we can guard our hearts.
First of all, we need to know what the heart is. I used to think the heart was the human spirit, but after studying God’s Word for almost 45 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the heart is a part of the soul. Why do I say this? Because when we are born again, our spirits are made perfect, completely justified. Holy Spirit takes up residence in our spirits, and we are linked to Him through our spirits. But Scripture calls the heart “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). If our spirits have been completely justified, they cannot be deceitful.
So, using the definition that the heart is a part of the soul, how can we guard our hearts?
The Living Bible translation of Proverbs 4:23 translates the word heart as affections. Interesting. What are our affections? Our affections are our emotions, our feelings, our sentiments. Scripture is telling us to keep watch over our emotions, our feelings, our sentiments because they can easily lead us astray.
Let me give you an example. A Christian woman’s husband may be neglecting her by failing to affirm her and to give her the attention she needs. At the office, however, a male co-worker continually praises her and makes her feel important. Unless she is guarding her heart, this Christian woman will not recognize the enemy in her midst. Satan will use this co-worker’s attention to weaken the woman. He will use her affections (her emotions) to set a trap for her that could result in infidelity and adultery.
This happens all the time to Christians who do not guard their hearts. At first, they think nothing of it. But once their emotions are engaged, they are on the path to destruction. They find themselves rationalizing the temptations and responding to them. (There is a sin called “emotional adultery” that I will address in another blog post.)
So, to guard the heart means to guard our emotions. Emotions can be deceiving if they do not align with truth. When our emotions are at odds with the Word of God, we must choose the Word over our emotions.
For example, suppose your emotions tell you that you are a failure. Is this true? Not according to God’s Word. God’s Word says that “you can do all things through Christ Who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13). God’s Word says that “you are the head and not the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:13). God’s Word says that “you are more than a conqueror through Christ” (Romans 8:37). Are you going to believe your emotions or God’s Word?
Often, our emotions lie to us. If we follow them, we will go astray. To guard our hearts means to guard our emotions, to make sure that our emotions do not conflict with God’s Word.
Emotions are powerful and, when left unchecked, can make us their slaves. So, the first step in guarding your heart is to guard your emotions. Make sure that they remain holy and pure. In my next post, I will show you ways you can do this.
Questions: What have you learned about guarding your heart? What you have you learned about the ways Satan will set a hidden trap to destroy us? How do you guard your heart? You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.
Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.