Learning to guard our hearts is an important part of our spiritual walk, but what does it mean? How do we guard our hearts, and when shouldn't we be overly guarded in our spiritual lives?
What Does it Mean to Guard Your Heart?
The concept of guarding our hearts comes from Proverbs 4:23-26. We are reminded of all the things that try to come against us. Guarding our hearts means being wise and discerning in our lives. Guarding our hearts means protecting ourselves as Christians from all the things that would come to harm us. We have to overcome temptations every day. We need to find ways to overcome doubts that tend to creep in. We guard our hearts from all kinds of distractions from our faith. Our heart is fragile. We have to do what we can to protect it.
Reasons to Guard Your Heart
The fragility of our heart should not be taken lightly. If your heart is the connection to God, what kind of relationship will you have if your heart starts to fail? If we allow all the unkind forces in the world to pull us away from God, our heart becomes unhealthy. If we only feed our heart junk from the World, our heart stops working the way it should. Just like our physical health, our spiritual health can fail if we don't take good care of it. When we let down our guard and forget the things that God tells us through the Bible and through prayer, we do damage to our heart and our relationship with God. That is why we are gold to guard our hearts.
Why You Shouldn't Guard Your Heart
Guarding your heart doesn't mean hiding it behind a brick wall. It means being careful, but it does not mean cutting ourselves off from the world. Many people think that guarding your heart means don't allow yourself to get hurt. The result of this kind of thinking is that people stop loving one another or isolating themselves from others. However, that is not what God is asking. We are to guard out hearts from unhealthy and damaging things. We are not to stop connecting to other people. Our hearts will break from time to time as we go into and out of relationships. When we lose loved ones, we will hurt. But that hurt means we did what God asked. We loved others. Guarding our hearts means allowing that love in and letting God be our comfort. Guarding your heart means becoming wiser in our lives, not being isolated and unhurt.
How Do I Guard My Heart?
If guarding our hearts means becoming wiser and more discerning, there are ways we can build up those spiritual disciplines:
- Study your bible. If you want to know how to guard your heart from things that will pull you away from God, the Bible is the best place to start. It is full of advice for living wisely.
- Spend time in prayer. Guarding your heart means having a healthy relationship with God. That relationship grows as you pray and have conversations with Him.
- Choose friends wisely. Choosing good friends seems easy, but sometimes we lose sight of friends who are good for us and the ones that seem more fun or flashy. Make sure there is substance in your relationships.
- Get good advice. When we're stuck in a situation, turn to a spiritual leader that you respect for being strong in his/her faith.
- Learn to overcome temptation. We are surrounded by temptation after temptation in our daily lives. Find ways to avoid them or learn how to walk away from bad situations.
- Learn to overcome doubt. Doubt can creep in slowly. We hear anti-Christian messages every day. Learn to push doubt aside and strengthen your faith.