Why Guard Your Heart?

During my college days, I would attend movies that I knew my parents would not have approved of. I was away from home, and it was easy to justify doing some activities. I wasn’t interested in the Holy Spirit’s uncomfortable presence. And you want to know the consequences of that willful behavior? I’ve always remembered that time. I thank God that He forgave me, but He left the memory. But I thank God for the memory because later, it informed my decision to be careful of my media intake. He left that responsibility to me, and He left it to you too.
Guarding your heart is more than media intake. Are the people closest to you striving to guard their hearts too? God cares about the company we keep(I Corinthians 15:33). He cares about our attitudes in every area of life, from how we care for our bodies to how we treat others. Additionally, I have several articles on this site about the importance of a morning quiet time with God. And other articles on scripture engagement. These kinds of activities help us guard our hearts.

The heading of Proverbs 4 is “Get Wisdom at Any Cost.” With that heading, we can know God cares about our hearts. It is an understatement to say that from a physical standpoint, our heart is vital to our life. I think God looks at our spiritual hearts the same way. We must intentionally care for it. It is vital to our spiritual life.

Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Sometimes adults believe they can watch, read or do whatever they want because they are adults. Societies determine a legal age to do certain activities, and some Christians adopt this way of life, thinking if an action is considered legal, then it is ok to do. The Bible doesn’t teach this. God commands us to guard our hearts.

Why guard your heart? Obviously, because the Bible says so. A few others are listed below, and you might have one to add. Please leave a comment to share if you do.

Reasons to Guard Your Heart:

  • To intentionally choose purity. You want the Holy Spirit to be at home in your heart(Matthew 5:8, Psalm 51:10).
  • To have a greater desire to meet with God. This desire increases when darkness decreases(Psalm 42:2).
  • To have godly wisdom to pass on to your children and grandchildren, and friends(Proverbs 1:8-9).
  • To be a good example. If you are a Christian, then you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians and lost people need a good example.
  • To have a beautiful mind, plus, thinking about “these things” is easier(Philippians 4:8).
  • To use your time wisely since much of the harm to our hearts comes by way of media affecting our eyes and ears (Matthew 13:15).
  • To decrease anxiety because what we read, watch, and listen to impacts our spirit(I Corinthians 6:12-13, Matthew 6:22-23).
  • To fellowship with God because whatever is filling your mind has your attention. You can’t enjoy God and His presence with distractions(Psalm 16:11).
  • To have a filter for what comes out of your mouth. If you aren’t guarding your heart, then your mind is not the mind of Christ(2 Corinthians, chapter 2). If your mind is dark, then your mouth will reveal it(Matthew 15:18).
  • To have a strong mind since your mind is supposed to be used to understand God’s will. It is renewable. The sooner you guard your heart, the sooner you will know all that God has for you to know( Romans 12:1-2).
  • To have more peace by allowing the Holy Spirit to permeate your mind. Your anxiety level diminishes and your joy increases(Romans 8:6).
  • To lose the desire for the things of this world. Greed will decrease. Your eyes will be opened to all God gives to you straight from His loving heart materially and spiritually(I John 2:15-17).

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. I Corinthians 6:19-20

Think about what you let in. In children’s church, we sang a song with this line, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see.” The internet is wonderful and beneficial in many ways. Like a library, it has great content, but just like a library, it has sinful content too. The words to the music you listen to in your car (even if it is from your high school days)may be causing your mind to linger in places that keep you from God. Are your podcasts filling your mind with God’s truth or with the world’s solutions? Are they fueling anger or cynicism? There are so many wonderful books in this world. Find books that cause your mind to be in beautiful places and not fantasize, crave violence, or encourage careless speech.

We will never be perfect until Jesus comes again, but we are to strive to be more like Him each day and to bring glory to Him with our lives. Everyday choices show that we care about our relationship with Him. Think about your choices. Without comparing yourself to your friends, ask yourself, “Am I doing all I can to guard my heart?”

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How to use this article:

Personal Bible study – Look up every verse and write it, say it, pray it. Decide what you can do more to guard your heart.

Go over it with any new believer or with your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews etc. Discuss more ways to guard your heart.

Memorize some of the scriptures.

©Valerie Rumfelt

How You Can Be Prepared for God’s Plans

When was the last time you thought about a beaver? Me neither, but these interesting rodents recently came to mind when I pondered being ready for whatever is coming. Curiosity led me to research these non-hibernators. Beavers have a method of gnawing on trees and branches near a stream. This begins the process of building a dam and a home for themselves called a lodge.

These creatures choose a shallow body of water. Choosing this protects them later from a build-up of ice in the winter. The build-up would slow down their ability to go to and fro in their engineered paths for food. They strip away from the trees and bring along other limbs, twigs, stones, and other plants for this intentional endeavor. The result; survival. In addition to this fundamental need, the dams serve as protection from those who seek to devour them; predators.

Beavers offer some analogy for us as humans. At times in our lives, we may choose to let go of unnecessary things, just like animals shed their fur to stay cool. This is good. But more often than not, it is God who orchestrates processes to cause this. The “letting go” can be in many forms and can come quickly or over time. This process is to get us prepared.

Some choose to cooperate with God in this process; others dig their heels in.

Who could have predicted an unseen, worldwide pandemic and all its ramifications? Remember when Covid 19 shut down gyms for a while? Was this a routine in your life? How did you adjust and prepare for the new season? Did you get creative and find other ways to stay fit? This is an everyday example. But twists and turns that require our adjustment come, and we must be prepared. We won’t always have time to get prepared.

Consider the following scenarios: a tragedy of some kind, a natural disaster, the death of a close loved one, a financial collapse, incarceration, a move to an unlikely place, a call to ministry or missions, a terminal diagnosis, or being the caregiver for a vulnerable person. It could be God is calling you out of your comfort zone, and you need to prepare for your next assignment. Or the surprise of a godly man or woman entering your life as your future mate.

But back to the beaver: Eventually, the dam or the lodge is built. Its functions and purposes are in place, and the beaver begins life in its new ecological home. Survival in a new season instinctually led the beaver to build a shelter.

In contrast, we can often ignore or procrastinate when action is needed. We spend more time than required asking why. We complain. We need time to process, and we wish things would go back to the way they were. We have no interest in being challenged or surrendering to God. Beavers? They do what’s necessary for life and living and survival. They do these acts of survival year around. I know I can learn some things from these nocturnal, busy, and intentional creatures.

Our God is sovereign, and He is powerful, and nothing that comes into a Christ-followers’ life is unplanned. There are no surprises to God. Since this is true, then why does it take us so long sometimes to get on board with His plan? The beaver knows what is required and gets about doing it. The result is efficient, prepared, and ready for whatever may come. We can do the same. God is not interested in us being ill-equipped or unprepared for life. We can adjust ourselves to God.

Our ability to adjust seems related to our ability to trust our Heavenly Father.

So just like the beaver, we can build our earthly life efficiently, with preparation, and live in the reality of what is, instead of what we wish it would be.

We can grow no matter how old we are, no matter the situation.

We can be ready for what God has. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fear or anxiety, but I humbly submit when I incorporate specific disciplines and habits, my response improves when the challenge comes and when life is changing. 

I also know the enemy is prowling, and he preys on those who are idle and unprepared. Christ’s followers are in the Lord’s army, and we must have a soldier’s readiness. We don’t want to cooperate in any delay of God’s plan, do we?

Here are some practices and disciplines I’ve learned which help me. I’m still growing, and I need God’s mercy and help every day of my life.img_0438

Tips to be Prepared for Life:

Memorize and meditate on scripture – The Bible is God’s Word and the roadmap for life. As followers of Jesus, He expects us to obey it. The more scripture you have inside of you, the better your foundation for action when the plan comes.

Pray – Prayer is meeting with our Father. We are talking and listening, but mainly we are in His presence. If you want to feel close to God, intentionally set times aside to pray. When the plans begin to change, you will be at peace.

Keep your mind clean – Just because adults can view it or listen to it doesn’t mean you need to. Be discerning and be vigilant to guard your mind. Your mind is a camera, and every word and image is inside your brain. Jesus tells us to love Him with our minds. You will be better able to love Him with a clean mind.

Exercise and care for your body– We tend to feel better about ourselves when we do this. Giving in to every indulgence is not useful for building yourself for service to Him. Discipline and self-control are all close to God’s heart. He writes about the body in His word. It’s essential, and you will be ready for any new plans coming when you care for your body.

Love the Church – Beavers stay in groups and care for one another. God has given us the church body to love and serve. Attend your local church, serve your local church, love other believers. Live in unity with every believer.

Be weak – God cares, and He can perfect those weak and faithless places in you. Weak people depend on God. Our faith hangs by a thread sometimes. He is your dearest friend and loving Shepherd. Humbly seek His help and ask Him to make your faith strong.

The next time you sense your life is about to change. Consider how you will respond. Ponder one of God’s most unique creatures, and have a winning response. Success in life is when you walk hand in hand with Jesus. Faithful to Him.

The beaver is prepared. It ends up with shelter, an efficient way to get provisions, and a fun and safe place to play in the water away from predators. Jesus is our shelter, our safe place, and He desires us to live in the joy of His presence.

God is the God of ‘right now.’ He doesn’t want you sitting around regretting yesterday. Nor does He want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what He is saying to you and putting in front of you … right now. Priscilla Shirer

©Valerie Rumfelt

*photos by Google 

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