“Guard your heart.” That’s wisdom from King Solomon. He was a smart guy who knew a thing or two about life. The whole verse reads: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) In the Bible, the heart isn’t just the core of our physical being but the ruling centre of our whole being. It’s part of our spiritual make-up that drives our emotions and will. Why should we guard it?
- Our heart is vulnerable. There’s a reason why we talk about being ‘broken-hearted’ because it can easily happen. When we love others, or when we give ourselves to some project with great passion, we become vulnerable and risk being hurt. Some people are more robust than others but we all have a tender spot that can easily be hurt. We shouldn’t build defenses that keep people out, but we need to know that life is going to include some suffering and we should be prepared for that. We should exercise wisdom when sharing with others.
- Our heart is a valve: everything you do flows from it. There was a major breakthrough in medicine with the invention of the stethoscope. What the stethoscope helped discover was that someone who looks healthy on the outside may actually be ill on the inside. By listening to the heart, a doctor can tell whether someone is healthy or hurting. A healthy heart leads to a healthy and productive life. A damaged heart can channel our desires in directions that can lead to more harm.
- Our heart is valuable. Last weekend, a coffee shop in California began offering a special brew at $75 a cup. That’s a little rich for me. At those prices, the coffee shop is going to need a security guard. Most coffee shops I know don’t need security because we don’t protect things that aren’t valuable. But our heart is valuable. Solomon says that this is the priority: above all else, guard your heart. It’s not optional. We must guard our hearts from sin and evil that seek to kill and destroy.
It’s important to pay attention to our heart and to the issues of the heart. For if we lose heart, we lose everything.