Christian Living

What Does it Mean to Guard Your Heart Above All Things?

There are many verses in the Biblical book of Proverbs, that have become popular sayings today. They were written by king Solomon and are widely recognized as words of wisdom. After all, that was God’s gift to him and, through these words, to us. Some of the sayings are clear and easy to understand, but others cause us to pause and reflect. Guard your heart above ALL things is one of those proverbs that makes you think, what does that really mean?

Guard Your Mind and Heart Bible Verse

We all know how important it is, physically, to have a healthy heart.. But, of course, this verse with the advice to guard your heart above all things, has nothing to do with physical fitness. In Proverbs chapter four, there is a set of instructions – Proverbs 4:20-27 – that godly advice brings life and health to those who choose to follow it.

These verses bring encouragement to be focused and to give careful thought to the life choices we make. There is advice to keep our conversation free from lies, to keep away from what we know to be evil and to remain steadfast in faith. In the middle of these verses comes the instruction to guard your heart above all things. And the verse also explains why –  because everything we do flows out of our hearts.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Picture of a woman from behind on a beach, dancing in the waves overlaid with the word 'love'. And the text 'Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.'Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
Guard Your Heart Above All Things

What Does it Mean to Guard Your Heart?

To guard your heart above all things seems like a strange piece of advice for Christians. Why would we need to guard our hearts? The truth is that we are all led and guided by our emotions. We tend to follow our strongest feelings.

Our hearts will lead us to what we love, or away from what we hate. Our feelings and emotions will direct us to do what we like and to avoid what we don’t! To guard your heart above all things is to recognize the influence our heart has on our choices and decision-making. And the impact that a broken, wounded, or fear-filled heart can have on our lives.

Consequences of Not Guarding Your Heart

If our hearts are wounded or injured by other people’s words and actions, then we may react. Our response comes as retaliation out of our own pain. Jesus taught us that our mouths will speak what is in our hearts. Our words reveal our feelings, and from a wounded heart so often come wounding words. But when our hearts are full of God’s love, then words of loving kindness and encouragement will flow.

If we allow our hearts to be wounded or injured by other people’s words and actions, then we may withdraw. Our response comes out of fear and is a misguided form of protection. Fear paralyzes, constraining and controlling our reactions. But God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and self-control. Living in the full knowledge of God’s love brings the freedom to be whom He created us to be!

The consequences of not guarding your heart can be poor choices, broken relationships, hurt, and disappointment. But remember when we mess up and are not the best version of ourselves, God is faithful to forgive and restore. The desire to press on and walk closer to the Lord is all we need!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37

Related Post: Exploring How to Walk in Love!

How To Guard Your Heart Spiritually

When we make that decision to follow Jesus, we become a new creation. We begin again with a fresh heart that is soft and responsive to the truth of God’s word. This is His gift to us. Our responsibility is to co-work with the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts above all else.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27

3 Ways to Guard Our Hearts Spiritually

Guard Your Heart – Through the Word of God

We are valuable to God and it is in His word that we find our true identity. Knowing how much we are loved by God is the foundation of our faith. And God’s word is the filter through which we can process life. It is the word of God that sustains us and will maintain a healthy heart – one that is full of His love and wisdom.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Guard Your Heart – Prayerfully

The guard of prayer has the power to bring peace. One of the greatest dangers to our hearts is fear and anxiety. They are insidious emotions and can creep up on us almost unawares. We need the practice of bringing our concerns to God and leaving them with Him to protect our hearts.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Related Post – Overcoming Fear with Faith

Guard Your Heart – With Gratitude

Gratitude is the ability to see the goodness of God every day through the filter of His love. It is inexplicably linked to trusting in His word and the peace that prayer brings. Practicing gratitude works to protect our hearts by reminding us of God’s love and faithfulness.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

Colossians 3:15-16

Related Post: What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?

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