Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Our heart – an organ that pumps out blood and sustains our lives, yet we ascribe to the heart the ability to feel or to choose righteousness. The word, “libbecha” (Hebrew for heart) in the Scripture above is translated as pertaining to that “inner man, mind, will or heart” (Strong’s). Our soul cannot be found on any anatomical chart, though it is evident in our mind. Much like the phrase, “the very heart of a matter”, refers to the main point of something, so the very heart of a person is the inner core of that individual. What defines the person is based on their actions or decisions which are in accordance with their convictions.
So what does it mean to guard our heart? Ironically, guarding our heart, which is the embodiment of our emotions, includes taking captive emotions that are not biblical. Protecting oneself from sinful tendencies or temptations is another practical application, but what is interesting to me is that what flows from the heart – issues of life. What are these issues?
Jealousy, the poison of bitterness, hurt, pain, feelings of abandonment, insecurity, betrayal, and the list goes on and on. Drama is a fact of life, but guarding our heart is applying God’s word when drama happens. Our feelings cannot go unchecked – even if they feel so authentic and accurate. We cannot perfectly judge another person’s heart, either. Actions can be an indicator, but people can also respond out of their hurt and we can presume falsely.
Recently, the LORD showed me another application of this verse. Sometimes when we have been so wounded by others, we can shut down and build walls. We just don’t want to be hurt again. We can hide under the Scripture that says we are to guard our hearts, but ultimately this hiding is not safety at all when we use it to shut people out. Locked up in our hurt, we begin to lose the capacity to show our feelings and emotions.
So how do we handle people who have harmed us? Common sense wisdom dictates that some people have to have limited access or no access to you, but faith in the living God sets us free to trust Him that He will enable us to overcome any hurt that lies down the road. Guarding our hearts does not have to equate to keeping our love from others. Boundaries can be applied in faith, and free us to reach out and love others with the love of Christ. He’s got our back.
Lord, help us to guard our hearts from ungodly influences but to love the ungodly and recognize our need of You, too.