Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23, NIV1984).
What is King Solomon urging us to do? Guard our hearts.
Why? Because our heart is a wellspring of life. Another version says that the heart determines the course of your life (NLT). Even another version states that everything you do flows from it (NIV). Our hearts are extremely valuable, worthy of protection as our most priceless treasure. Michael Hyatt says that it is the “essence of who you are. It is your authentic self- the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires and your passions live. It is the part of you that connects with God and other people.”
And how important is it that we learn to guard our heart? Very! It should be considered above all else… it should be a top priority, demanding urgency and intentional action on our part.
If our heart is of ultimate value, then it can be very vulnerable to disappointment, disillusionment and deep discouragement. I have realized recently that when I don’t deliberately set up protective barriers around my heart, I set myself up for wounds of disappointment that can so easily turn into bitterness. I believe there is much to hope for through God’s loving and graceful purpose. So, the act of “guarding” doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a pessimist and always preparing for the worst. It does, however, mean that I need to learn how to appropriately balance my hope with acceptance that things will not always be perfect or work out just in the way I want them to. Learning to accept letdowns and relational grief is a part of protecting my heart. Learning to make wise choices in who I allow to be in my “inner circle” (those people who influence my thoughts, feelings, behavior) is a part of protecting my heart. Learning to rely on the God who crafted my inmost being from the very beginning and created me with intrinsic value is a part of protecting my heart. Learning to show grace, humility and wisdom in my daily life is a part of protecting my heart. Learning to release the circumstances and harbored hurts that I cannot control or heal on my own is a part of protecting my heart. Because if my heart determines the course of my life, I would much prefer for it to be guided by hope and peace as opposed to hurt and bitterness.