Guard your heart
We must look to scripture to make sure we approach what we do with the right heart, urges new Aspire leader Leanne Mallett.
I don't know about you but I love to have a good spring clean now and again. There are some stuff we hoard that don't have much use or value , such as, things that have broken, rusted or worn out. However, there are some things in life we value, that we wouldn't discard or get rid of such as precious items,certificates, photographs etc .We often put these things in a special place, surround them with special paper maybe. We protect or guard them.
In Proverbs 4v23 we read, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." It says "Above all else" that means it's pretty important but what does this verse actually mean?
Well, "guard" is a verb, which means it's a doing word, and it means to look after, to protect, take care of and shield.
Although our physical heart is important, I don't think this verse relates to that but let's think about our own heart as an organ. Our heart pumps blood around so that we can live. Without it, we can't survive. With a faulty heart, there are health issues and we don't function properly.
If we value our hearts we need to look after it by exercising and healthy eating but here the bible talks about the heart as being the essence and the core of who we are: our thoughts, our actions, our motives, our conversations, our reactions. It's these things that need guarding.
Reading this verse in a different translation it says, "Above all else, guard your heart.. for it determines the course of your life." How we respond can shape who we become. When our hearts become encouraged or we feel loved or something good has happened it's easy to be happy, to shine, to smile and laugh in response but often if we become hurt or offended, disappointed, discouraged or disillusioned - it's in those times that we need to protect our hearts.
If we do need to respond to a situation, how do we come at it with a right heart? a heart that will speak out of a right place and in a way that we don't become that person who now hurts, who now accuses, who now offends?
Well, I looked to the scriptures for answers and I believe these four P's are keys that help us remember.
In Psalm 18:2-3, it talks about God being our fortress. So let's firstly come to a quiet place and turn to the Lord. We can be so quick to get on that phone to our friends and family but I believe God would want us to just stop and turn to Him.
Then secondly, allow His peace to fill you. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7. It's God's peace that will just calm us down. Focusing on Him rather than what's going on around you will bring balance again.
There has to be a response from us. Let's proclaim who he is - he is our refuge, our fortress, our strong deliverer in times of need. We need to rise up and make that declaration in our hearts and Psalm 91 speaks of this.
We need to protect our hearts. If we want to protect ourselves we need to make the right choices . If I needed to lose weight I wouldn't put myself in a chip shop where the temptation was to buy a big bag of chips and a sausage in batter.The struggle is greater. What would be a struggle for some may not be a struggle for you so don't expect others to protect you as that might not be their battle. We need to make wise choices for ourselves and put our own barriers in place.
Your heart is precious. Who you are is precious. There's only one of you so let's guard what comes in and out of our hearts. What pleases God is what matters.
"For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7