Day Four of the five-day Bible reading challenge. Proverbs chapter 4 today.

The scripture that made me take pause, that has rattled around in my head today:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

I don’t know about you, but I guard my heart with walls. Painful experience, betrayal, and taking a beating have taught me how to erect those walls.

Expecting that sooner or later every someone will be honest with me?
Believing the worst possible situation will eventually become reality?
Awaiting rejection and criticism?
Anticipating the moment “love” turns into a knife in the back?

You bet.


Short answer: I’ve been burned.

So have you. I’m not claiming special status. It’s simply that the walls became the solution, and eventually became my friends.

Besides. That’s what Solomon said to do. Right?

Nope. Solomon’s description of guarding our hearts had nothing to do with building a walled garden.

Walls are dead and permanent. Guards are active and full of life.

Guarding our hearts—from a scriptural perspective—means for us to be alert to what enters and dwells in our hearts, through the power of Christ within us.

We need to be aware of what we say and do, because over time our thoughts and actions shape the status of our hearts. Our thoughts and actions actually build the mold our hearts get poured into.

Guarding our hearts like the Bible says is about seeking God for direction, conviction and peace.

In fact, there’s a place in the New Testament where it digs deeper into the idea of guarding your heart:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need. Thank God for what he has done.

Or it could be read this way: Don’t worry about getting burned. Instead, pray about your fears, worries, and anxieties. Plainly tell God what you need, then leave it in his hands. And remind yourself of his goodness, and the times he has come through for you before, by thanking him for the things he has already done.

According to the scripture, this leads to a peace beyond anything we can understand, which will protect our hearts and minds—our original goal—as we live in Christ Jesus.

Today, follow the game plan. Let down your walls and empower your guards to protect your life.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.