Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.Proverbs 4:23
I have read this verse countless times before. Although I can’t remember specifically, I want to believe I have at least thought about its meaning at some point along the way.
The truth is, I can’t remember.
How is it possible that I have made it this far along life’s journey without understanding the severity of this warning?
“Above all else, guard your heart . . .”
Above all else? That’s pretty strong language. I am certain I have put many, many priorities above guarding my heart. You know, important things like making sure all my files are neatly labled in the same font size, or making absolutely certain there are no expired items in my pantry.
Today I went before the Lord and asked Him about this heart thing. I needed to know why such a high importance was placed on guarding my heart. What is my heart, anyway? How do I guard it? What does it mean that my heart is the wellspring of life?
It turns out, my heart is key. My heart is the core of who I am. It is the source of my love, my creativity, my strength, my convictions, my personality, and my beliefs. My heart is ME – the wellspring of my life; the essence of my existence. My heart is “command central”. It is vital. No wonder the scripture urges me to guard it with vigilance.
Well that explains a lot.
When my heart (the core of who I am) becomes infected, contaminated, injured, broken, deceived, damaged, or worse – destroyed – I cease to be ME. And since I am created in God’s image, I cease to be a reflection of God’s own heart. It is tragic. Hence, the warning.
Jesus put it this way, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’. ” Mark 7:21-23.
He could have gone on to add depression, insecurity, fear, shame, rejection, resentment, abandonment, and anxiety to the list. Because let’s be honest, aren’t those evils so often found in our un-guarded hearts as well?
On the other hand, good things (treasures) come from the heart too: Love, hope, truth, confidence, compassion, dreams, talents, values and potential. No wonder Solomon says the heart is the wellspring of life – it is the place from which the essence of my life flows. Good or bad, success or failure – it all comes from what is going on inside.
It is apparent I have a lot of work to do. Realizing I must vigilantly guard my heart is only the first step. The next step is uprooting all the harmful lies I have allowed to be planted in my heart. Lies about myself, lies about God, lies about my past, present and future.
A divine cleansing. Reclaiming my heart. Actively replacing all the negative with the truth of God’s Word. Embracing His love for me and allowing it to take root in my heart. Walking in it. Living it. Experiencing it every day.
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