6 Things to Guard Your Heart From
Updated: Jan 19
Proverbs 4:23 NIV
"Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it."
Matthew 15:18-19 NLT
"But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander."
What comes to mind when we think of "guarding our hearts?" Perhaps our first thought is guarding it from others. We might think of protecting it from getting hurt and damaged when we're in romantic relationships. But, how much more should we guard it from ourselves? Our weaknesses, perceptions and convictions can cause our hearts and others' many difficulties and offenses. Something that seems harmless or powerless, may have an enormous impact in our hearts - sometimes only reparable when we admit and confess our sin and accept God's grace.
Let's see what the Bible says about the power of our words and actions:
"A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit." Proverbs 15:4 ESV
"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 16:24 ESV
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 ESV
"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." Hebrews 13:4 ESV
"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."
James 2:26 ESV
Read Ephesians 5 here !!!!!
"They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work." Titus 1:16 ESV
Now, what does the Bible say about the power of God's words and actions:
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 ESV
"so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11 ESV
Read Ephesians 2 here !!!!!
We can mention a plethora of biblical stories displaying the power of God's Word and the Word in action! John 1:1-5 says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (ESV)." Thank you Jesus!
From these verses, we can conclude that what comes out of God is perfect in every way imaginable. There's action in every Word He speaks. This action is true and perfect and does not come back void (Isaiah 55:11). His Word gives life, salvation, restores and transforms. His Word stands forever unchangeable. In the same way, there is power in our words and actions. Proverbs 18:4 (NIV) says: "The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream." We don't realize how powerful our words are to ourselves and to others. Jesus said that out of our heart comes what defiles us - all thoughts and words and actions come from it. But how does it get filled with such sinful words and behaviors? Is it not by what we allow in? Jesus said: “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light (Luke 11:34-36, NLT).” What we allow in our lives - what we see, hear, say, think, feel, and do - will claim space in our hearts. If what's in our hearts is good, it will not come back void. We can confirm this with Galatians 6:7-8: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (ESV)." In contrast, if we have darkness in our hearts, whatever comes out of it, will come out for ruin; it will be empty; it won't edify or uplift. Instead of living in wisdom and truth, we will act foolishly and deceitfully.
Let's Guard Our Hearts From:
What we see:
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17 ESV
"I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil." Psalm 101:3-4 NLT
"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28 ESV
What we hear:
"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT
"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." Proverbs 18:15
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans." 10:17 KJV
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1 ESV
"A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers." Proverbs 20:19 NLT
What we say:
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." James 1:26 ESV
"And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself." James 3:6 NLT
"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19 ESV
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV
What we do:
"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." Ephesians 4:28 ESV
"And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them." Luke 6:31 ESV
"Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart." Psalm 119:34 ESV
"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart," 1 Peter 1:22 ESV
"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses." Galatians 5:16-18 NLT
What we feel:
"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'." Hebrews 13:5 ESV
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
"Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors." 1 Peter 2:11-12
What we think:
"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." Romans 8:5-6 NLT
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing." Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV
All day long, we are vulnerable to all types of information -- at work, at home, out with friends, on our phones, TV, social media, significant others, etc. When we are in Christ, through His Spirit, we have power, love and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7). This means that it's our responsibility to protect; guard; keep safe; conceal our hearts. We have the power to put an end to ungodly behavior and ungodly relationships (romantic or not). We have the self-control to stop watching, listening, reading, feeling, thinking, doing things that will fill our hearts with darkness. There is no blessing in continuing to allow certain things or people into our lives for the sake of "niceness" or "because it doesn't happen often." Where there is no blessing, the opposite is true - with darkness comes curses. With darkness comes confusion and false doctrines. Guarding our hearts is not only a spiritual matter; it is also a matter of our mental and physical health. Many of us have placed ourselves at risk of becoming "damaged goods" because we are not prudent and wise in decisions and choices we have made or will make. All this affects every single area of our entire being. The same goes to how we guard our neighbors' hearts. What comes out of our hearts has a rippling effect -- it can damage someone else's heart and so on. We're all familiar with the saying "I'm not my brother's keeper," but as true children of God, we truly are our brother and sister's keeper. I pray we all continue or start protecting our hearts so that we can walk in love and protect others in the process.
This is For You!