Good morning my precious friends

Proverbs 4 verse 23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

In the human body, the heart is essential for living. I am not a doctor, but what little I know about human biology I know that when our heart stops we stop. The beat of the heart is proof and evidence that we are still alive. The first thing that the paramedics do when they arrive at an accident is to check for a pulse. No pulse, no life. This shows how important the heart is to human living. As Christians we don’t just have a human heart that produces physical life. We also have a spiritual heart that produces spiritual life.

Proverbs 4:23 shows the importance of the heart by instructing us to guard it. Let us look at why it says so.

When the Bible speaks about the heart, it is not talking about the physical heart that beats. It is referring to the mind, the will and the mind and the will are the places where we make our life decisions.

Everything we do flows out of our mind, so it makes sense to put a hedge or guard around it so we can protect the things we do. There is an old computer adage, called GIGO. It stands for garbage in, garbage out. The heart works exactly the same way. Our decisions and choices are a result of the things we feed our heart or your mind. If you put the right stuff in you will get the right stuff out but the reverse of this is also true. Guarding our heart is making sure we keep the wrong influences out because these things will ultimately affect the decisions we make.

With our heart at the center of our decision-making, Proverbs reminds us that everything we do flows from it. Making good decisions and choices is enough, but here are some extra motivations as to why we should want to guard our heart.

One of the greatest motivations is because we love God. Loving God and maintaining close fellowship with Him should be the driving factor behind guarding our heart. Why would we want to fill our heart or mind with anything that can drive a wedge between us and God? In one of my previous jobs I travelled around the Western Cape quite a bit. Whenever I travelled there were certain guards or protections, I put in place to protect myself and my relationship with Margaret. I did this because I love her and didn’t want to hurt her in any way. When we are motivated by our love of God it will force us to create guards or hedges. This is not done begrudgingly or because you “have to”. We do it because we want to. That is the motivation of love. You don’t want to hurt the one you love so you put the necessary protections in place to prevent that from happening.

Another reason is that there is a plan and a purpose that God has for us. Everything you do flows out of your heart. This means that even fulfilling the plan God has for you flows out of your heart as well. Everything that God wants to accomplish in our lives comes down to our decision or choice. The difference between walking in God’s plan for your life and not walking in it is the choices you make. Nothing is more satisfying on this earth than doing God’s will, so we should do everything we can to keep in line with what He desires us to do. This is why we should guard our hearts because everything we do, even accomplishing God’s purpose in your life hinges on it.

Another motivation is so that we can finish strong. At the beginning of a boxing fight, the referee goes over the rules with the two fighters. One of the things he tells them is to protect themselves at all times. A fight can be 10 or 12 rounds and each round is scored. If there is no knockout in the fight, then at the end of the fight whoever is ahead on points wins the fight. However, you have to get to the end of the fight to be declared the winner. There have been instances where boxers were ahead on the scorecard but got careless and got knocked out. It didn’t matter that they were ahead on the scorecard because they got careless, they got knocked out. They forgot the last rule of the referee: “Protect yourself at all times.”

The same is true in our walk with God. We want to finish strong. How we finish is just as important as how we start. Often people start off well. They guard their hearts, surround themselves with the right influences, depend on God and trust Him for everything and protect themselves at all times. Then somewhere along the way they get a little sloppy and let their guard down. They stop protecting themselves at all times. So instead of finishing strong they get knocked out. But God wants you and me to have a strong finish.

Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14 "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Paul recognized that the work wasn’t done and he wanted to make sure he finished strong. To do this Paul had to guard his heart. We must do the same. The road will be challenging and there will be some battles along the way but if we guard our heart we will finish strong.

Let us pray:

Lord our God, thank You that we are not running this Christian race on our own. You are with us by Your Holy Spirit. Please guide us and help us to guard our hearts and minds and to be spending much time in Your Word to show us to know Your will for us. Help us each day to look to You Lord Jesus as You are the Author and perfecter of our faith. Amen.

Much love from Maurice and Margaret