Day 4: Guard Your Heart – Proverbs 4

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

My heart will determine the course of my life. Those things I love, long for and desire will give direction to my life. It’s so easy for my heart to fall for and desire things that are not good for me. Sometimes there are things around me that draw me to them, they can easily become something I long for and crave. Sometimes they are simple things like books and TV that keep me distracted and use up my time. If I allow the longing to lead me, then I may miss out on something God has for me.

I think that “guarding my heart” may be one of the most important things I do in life. Being a guard of something isn’t a passive responsibility. A guard is constantly on the watch for danger. They are continuously watching, looking and preparing for the potential and likely infiltration of the enemy. And typically, a guard is needed because there is someone or something of great value that has the potential to be harmed, stolen or destroyed.

What does it look like practically to guard my heart? What can I do to keep it protected?  For me it starts with what I allow myself to listen to, read, watch and interact with.  I recently had this very conversation with my 17-year-old son concerning a kind of music he likes to listen to. He was surprised that I knew some of the songs on his favorite station. He hadn’t realized we had some of the same interests in music. I cautioned him to be aware of how the songs affected his thinking and actions, being aware of their influence and knowing when you’ve had enough.

I’m also aware that stuff will creep in subtly a little bit here and a little bit more there until my heart’s desire begins to shift.  That shift will then begin to affect the course of my life. I cannot let my guard down. There is an enemy who is out to infect my heart through comparison, discontentment and unrealistic expectations and their seeds are planted in my heart through what I listen to, watch, read, look at and give my time to.

Today’s wisdom is that “above all else,” I must ‘guard my heart.” I must be aware and continuously be alert to those things that want to alter my course. Thank you, Lord, for wisdom and understanding. I pray today for an increase in my ability to sense danger. To recognize the subtle attempts to breach the perimeter of my heart. I pray today for more awareness in my life of those things that try to entice my heart to get me off course. Amen.

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