Guarding the Heart
We are designed to love! But what kinds of relationships are a part of God’s will for your life?
The Ancient Hebrews viewed the heart as the seat of our intellect, emotions, and desires. They hadn’t developed a concept of the brain. They believed the heart sustained life and controlled everything they did. So they believed it was necessary to protect their hearts from ungodly influences. Some of those influences were ideas and beliefs that could lead them astray. Today, ungodly influences exist in a myriad of forms such as heresies and false narratives. The Bible cautions all believers: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). This article will examine two ways we should guard our hearts.
Thoughts and Actions
As believers, we have to ask God to direct our thoughts and actions. And we must confess when our actions are not grounded in love. The Bible tells us we are to reflect on things that are “true, noble, right, and pure….” (Philippians 4:8). We are a society with information overload. But we must always be highly discriminatory in the information we digest. Neurologists have proven, negative thought patterns can change brain chemistry and affect the immune system and other areas.
An anonymous author attempted to trace how thoughts lead to actions, habits, character, and an individual’s destiny. The author’s assumptions have some validity, however, this is not a natural progression for every thought:
“Sow a thought, reap a deed.
Sow a deed, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character
Sow a character, reap a destiny"
Guarding the heart is also protecting our emotions. We are instructed to love God and our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). So guarding our heart does not mean refraining from loving. However, we can choose with whom we build relationships. Some relationships are psychologically or spiritually unsafe and the scriptures are fraught with examples: Samson and Delilah, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, or Solomon and his pagan wives. The saying, “hurt people, hurt others” often rings true. We all have blind spots and deficiencies in relationships. When an individual is unaware of their psychological baggage, they may unintentionally hurt someone else. Traumas from childhood or a past relationship may cause some people to transfer those unmet needs, desires, and expectations onto another. But God is the healer. Mental health professionals or pastors can sometimes help with the healing process. Before forging a long-term relationship, we should always ask God if it aligns with his will for our lives.
In Conclusion, We must guard our hearts! The word heart appears 826 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Our prayer should be for God’s wisdom in every circumstance. According to the scriptures, we are “ In all our ways, to acknowledge him and he will direct our paths” (Proverbs 3:6). God’s way never leads to confusion or violates his law of love. It gives us peace!
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). New York: American Bible
Shaw, D. (2021, January 13). The Crucible of Love. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from https://wikiexpert.com/articles/2635/1644/the-crucible-of-love
Shaw, D. (2021, January 21). Designed to Love. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://wikiexpert.com/articles/2635/1629/designed-to-love