I’ll give you a few clues:
- It’s at the core of us
- It can be hard or pliable
- Doctors say, when diseased, it’s the number one killer for women
You might have guessed the answer by number 3: it is our heart.
Heart disease is not only a problem medically, a diseased heart is also a problem spiritually because it hinders intimacy. The lack of intimacy is apparent in our day-to-day interactions; from the apathetic attitudes demonstrated with one another, and our basic indifference to things that don’t directly affect us. Our hearts are ‘dis’ eased (e.g., not at ease) The major reason is that our hearts have grown cold, and we have overlooked a short, but powerful scripture:
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (NIV).
Our hearts are doors that most of us leave unguarded.
Recently, someone complained to me, using very angry words, to explain how I made him feel. Sensing that he needed to vent, I listened while quietly saying to myself: “Lord, you’re my wall of salvation, and I guard my heart.” I silently repeated this several times and allowed the person to finish speaking.
After listening, I apologized for my delivery, but repeated the scripture I’d shared with him earlier. When he left, I thanked the holy spirit for reminding me to guard my heart, because his anger could have done what he accused me of–not speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
To guard means to watch over and protect; so we must control what gets into our hearts. The doors to our hearts are our 5 senses: eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hands.
Is it that serious, some might ask? Yes. Since the quality of our lives flows from our hearts, we have to guard what we watch (eyes), what we listen to (ears), our environment (nose), our physical/spiritual diet (mouth) and what we touch (hands).
If we don’t guard our hearts, one of our senses will always sell us out.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of-Matthew 12:34
Here are some practical examples of how I guard my heart.
Eyes: I carefully select which television programming I allow in my heart. Watching Scandal might not be a problem for most, but it reminds me of an old, popular book: Smart Women, Foolish Choices. I’ve made enough foolish choices for all of us. No, thank you!
Ears: I do not allow people to treat me as a garbage dump. For example, someone I knew was involved with a married man. When she didn’t listen to wisdom, I told her that she could not share intimate details of their relationship. Needless to say, this relationship did not last.
Nose: Fortunately, establishments have done a good job of providing space for smokers; but even in private gatherings, I limit my time around smokers–of anything.
Mouth: This is still an area I’m growing in. I do a good job speaking the Word of God (spiritual food) and putting it into my heart; my growth area is putting the right natural foods in my mouth. Pray for me please.
Hands: Saved my biggest challenge for last; it’s the one I’ve failed at the most…..those things I do. Unfortunately, I like action; so I do a LOT. After many failures, I have slowly learned to only do the things God has instructed. The lesson here is, not all good things are God things.
How do you guard your heart? Please share examples of how you guard your heart. I am looking forward to learning from you.