I read something today that really caught my attention. It said, “When your heart is hungry, it will eat just about anything.”
This made me go into Deep Thought Mode! The phrase was referring to lonely people, men and women alike, who find themselves in relationships that are unhealthy because they find it difficult to be alone. They listen to their heart instead of their head, and decide they would rather put up with a bad situation, and make excuses along the way, just to avoid lonliness.
While I have been in this situation in the past, I can say that those days are behind me. But I still struggle with one aspect of this scenerio – guarding my heart. I was brought up with the idea that, as a Christian, we are supposed to be open and willing to give of ourselves to others, ready to love and be loved, always willing to take the chance on others because, well, that’s just how our life is supposed to be lived. It’s not about us – it’s about them.
Well, there is a minor problem with this concept, and I have been meditating on some Scriptures that refute this way of thinking.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Philippians 4:7 (NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve been mulling these scriptures over in my mind. The first one tells us to guard our own hearts. But the second one says that the peace of God will guard it for us.
But what about Jeremiah 17:9 that says, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” If our heart lies to us, why should we bother to guard it at all? Why does it deserve our attention?
After some thought, I think I’ve figured out why ALL THE ABOVE are necessary for us to absorb. If we are reckless and freely give away love and emotions, no matter how awesome people seem to be, then God is going to allow us to follow our free will and we will face the consequences, good or bad.
But if we actively seek His guidance in relationships and situations, ask Him for wisdom along the way, and be willing to LISTEN to His urging, His Word says the Spirit will keep us in peace and emotionally safe. (Isaiah 26:3)
I haven’t been skilled in this, but I’m working on it. It’s an ongoing process, isn’t it? We love, we fall, we pick ourselves back up, and we learn.
And the reason why we should even bother to guard our deceitful hearts is because of this – If we don’t guard it properly, our heart will not only lie to us and lead us into bad situations, but then it condemns us after we fail! The guilt and condemnation can be enough to destroy an already vulnerable person.
But I’m so thankful I can read I John 3:20 and know, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our heart, and He knows ALL THINGS.”
KNOW vs FEEL…we know things with our minds, and we feel things with our hearts. Feelings lie! But since God knows all things, He knows how much I want to please Him, even when I flub up! By believing His Word, I KNOW He will never leave nor forsake me, and I can lift my head again and keep going.
The need to guard your heart doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. I have had my heart broken over family, friends, job-related situations, church-related matters, and crushed hopes – all because I ran headlong into situations with an open and trusting heart. I didn’t bother to use wisdom or patience, or I didn’t pray about the situation first and listen for an answer.
It takes practice. But look at it this way, you’re guarding something that should belong to God. Not everybody deserves a place there. You’re His son or daughter – not a door mat!
I pray that I learn to stop, think, and use caution and wisdom when it comes to matters that involve my heart!
I pray that God heals us of our broken hearts.
I pray that we learn to guard our hearts more effectively.
I pray that the journey is more peaceful for us in the future.