'Guarding our hearts'

Friday Reflection

25th September 2020

'it determines the course of your life'

'Guard your heart above all else,
 for it determines the course of your life.'
   .... Proverbs 4:23

Do you have walls around your heart?
Without even realising it have you
built up walls gradually over the years?
I think we all have as a result
of our hearts taking a beating
and suffering many painful knock-backs.

Because of past experiences
we may have difficulty trusting people
and worry that they are not being honest with us,
or thinking that someone
will let us down or betray us,
so we are secretly waiting for it to happen.

Are our minds trained to assume the worst
in any situation and so we stay
on our guard at all times forgetting
that God is on our side,
that he is the one person who can be trusted.

So we protect ourselves
by hiding our emotions
and put on a 'I'm fine.' smile
When our feelings are hurt,
we let our emotions and self-critical thoughts
batter our self-confidence
and we retreat behind the walls
where it feels safer,
which often leads to conflicts in our relationships.

Guarding our hearts feels as though
we are protecting ourselves,
but actually we are just keeping people
from getting too close.
These reactions will steal our peace
and joy and sometimes even
block our way of getting closer to God.

But then Scripture instructs us to guard our hearts.
In Proverbs 4:23 Solomon is saying to his son,

"Son, guard, protect,
 and be careful of your thought life.
 Keep your heart with all diligence;
 for out of it are the issues of life."

In this verse Solomon gives us one
of the most important aspects of Christian life,
because the state of our hearts
affects who we are, how we feel,
what we do and how we live.

Solomon's description of guarding our hearts
differs greatly from the way
we often view guarding our hearts.
Guarding our hearts through
a scriptural perspective
means for us to be alert
through the power of Christ within us,
to what enters and lives in our hearts.

Paul wrote

"Be not conformed to this world;
 but be transformed by
 the renewing of your mind"
   .... (Romans 12:2).

As water reflects the face,
so one's life reflects the heart.
   .... Proverbs 27:19

This verse helps us understand
that our thoughts often dictate who we become,
because our minds reflect who we genuinely are.
This is precisely why God examines our hearts
because He knows the depths of them
and sees into its' inner motivations.

Putting up walls to protect our hearts
from being hurt again
seems like a normal defence mechanism
but that's doing more harm than good;
it may keep people out
or protect our emotions
but it also keep us bound in insecurity,
fear, unhappiness and loneliness;
while guarding our hearts
with scripture helps keep our faith on track.

Only God can protect our hearts from pain,
and he did not create us to live
in a prison of our own making.
Instead he created us for companionship and love.
He wants us to live free,
full of joy with peace in our hearts.

But it is up to us to make the choice
of stepping out from behind the walls
we have built and accept
the gifts God has for us
no matter what we've been through
or what is to come.