Why God Wants You to Guard Your Heart

Updated Dec 02, 2016
Why God Wants You to Guard Your Heart
Guarding your heart means guarding the most precious thing you own. That's why God wants us to guard this above all else.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

An old hope chest from my parents’ attic holds a wealth of mem­ories, including a dozen marble composition books that con­tain my earliest attempts at writing novels. However amateurish they are, I still treasure them. When my childhood home was dismantled and sold, that chest full of stories was all I asked for, all I wanted.

What’s the most precious thing you own? The one possession that matters above everything else? Keep that in mind as we learn what God cherishes most.

Above all else, . . . 

Above all else, our society values beauty, wealth, fame, stuff. The visible, the temporal.

Above all else, our God values the hearts of His people. The unseen, the eternal.

That’s why He calls us to take care of our inner selves, the place that harbors the Holy Spirit. A sacred space not meant for intruders.

. . . guard your heart, . . . 

It’s not a suggestion. It’s a command: “Keep your heart pure” (NLV). Seriously, Lord? Pure? In this culture? We’d have to turn off our televi­sions, avoid our computers, skip the movies, stop reading the paper—

Wait. That’s not what Jesus asked His followers to do.

He said to His Father, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)

As long as we’re here, this world is where we’re meant to be. Although we are surrounded by constant temptations and pulled this way and that by our selfish desires, we are called and equipped by God to choose wisely.

Rather than view this as a protective verse to hide behind, think of it as a proactive verse to put into practice. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you can “protect your mind” (CEB) and “guard your thoughts” (CEV).

The Hebrew word leb means our “inner man, mind, will, heart.” Not the fist-sized organ beating in our chests, but the place where we feel and think and seek after God.

Here’s why your heart is so important to Him:

• It’s where you store His Word. “Lay up his words in your heart.” (Job 22:22)

• It’s where you respond to His invitation. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.” (Deut. 6:5)

• It’s where you learn to trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” (Prov. 3:5) With our hearts safely in His hands, our lives flow in the right direction.

. . . for everything you do . . . 

All the “important things of life” (NLV), all the “issues” (ASV) we’re wrapped up in, all the “consequences” (CJB) of our actions begin in our hearts.

Like the big Christmas gift I ordered for my husband, Bill. The one he fussed at me for giving him. It came straight from my heart—not to win his favor, but to show Bill how much I love him.

In a similar way God cherishes our heartfelt devotion. We’re no lon­ger trying to earn His favor, His mercy, His grace. We already have that and we know it. God has given us what we need most: His Son, who is more than enough, and His grace, which is more than sufficient.

Our gifts to the Lord—our worship, honor, and obedience—spring from our love for Him, a love that cannot be contained. Like “wellsprings” (OJB), the love in our hearts overflows its banks. Spilling out, it creates a stream that “determines the course” (NLT) our lives will follow.

We don’t decide our future. We just decide who to love.

. . . flows from it. 

A broad, rushing stream in the Highlands of Scotland doesn’t ques­tion its source or worry about its course. It simply flows. The water “cometh forth” (WYC) and goeth. (Sometimes the English major in me longeth to speaketh like that.)

Flow is a wonderful thing. Every minute of every hour our beating hearts send blood through our bodies, keeping us alive. We don’t have to think about it. We don’t have to plot, plan, or practice. It just flows.

Each time we love and trust instead of fret and fuss, God changes our stop-and-go into flow. What might you start doing—or stop doing—to keep your heart pure so God’s love can pour through you?

However long it takes, Lord,
hide Your Word in my heart
until it beats purely for You.
Stand guard over
my thoughts, my words,
my actions, and my reactions
until everything that flows through me
honors You.

liz-higgs-headshotExcerpted from 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart. Copyright © 2016 by Liz Curtis Higgs. Published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.