Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.- Proverbs 4:23
I have always heard Proverbs 4:23 referenced in matters of love and/or lust. For example, a friend starts dating someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God. We say, “I know this may seem like a great love story… but girl, guard your heart”. Or we notice a friend repeatedly liking suggestive pictures of a girl from Instagram. We say, “I know this seems harmless and you may call it just showing support …but bro, guard your heart”. In matters of love and lust, it is crucial to guard our hearts because deception comes not dressed in red with horns and a pitch fork, but more like the “man of our dreams” and phone apps. However, I’d like to look at Proverbs 4:23 from a different angle. I don’t know about you, but more often than I would like, I come across people that are angry. Not “I just got rear ended in my brand-new car by someone who was texting” angry, but “my 3rd grade teacher said I would never amount to anything and even though that was 30 years ago I’m still angry” angry. I’m not here to analyze what is and is not a legitimate reason to be angry but rather the toll anger and hatred take on the heart.
In the Message Bible, Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Keep vigilant watch over your heart. To be vigilant is to be careful, protective. One way we can protect our hearts is to not let the negative words of others harden our hearts. Yes. Ouchy. Mary said “I had the worst personality and no one likes me”. Words can hurt. Yes. We are allowed to be hurt by words. But no, we are not allowed to sit wallowing in those hurtful words, replaying them over and over until it becomes our identity and the lens through which we see ourselves. It’s times like this where God’s Word comes in CLUTCH!!! Mary said “I’m the worst” but God says “I am HIS MASTERPIECE” (Ephesians 2:10). That trumps anything hurtful that anyone could ever say to you. The point is, don’t let the hurtful words, actions, subtweets of someone who may or may not mean well settle into your heart. Guard your heart by keeping God’s word close. By having people in your life that uplift you and rebuke you in love.
It is important to guard your heart, not only for you, but for others. Someday you’re going to come across somebody that needs to meet someone with a heart like yours. A heart that’s withstood hateful, hurtful words. A heart that’s loved and lost and continued to love. A heart that has the Word hidden within it. A heart after His heart. A heart that has a story to tell.
Above all else. Guard your heart.