Are You Guarding Your Heart?
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
Your heart is your will and emotions. Emotions can sway you. I believe you have “Holy Spirit emotions” that give you that nudge to follow God’s plans. You also have hormonal emotions that can lead you to do crazy things. Therefore, your emotions should not be the center of your decisions. You need to guard your heart to keep you on the right path. “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18
How do you do that?
The easy answer is to discipline yourself to read Scripture. The reality is that can be hard to do. I have heard from many women that say it is difficult to find time in their busy schedules. It is hard to focus when many responsibilities are overwhelming their minds. They can’t seem to tune them out even if they do find a few moments to spend with the Lord.
My thought is that we can’t afford not to take time with Him!
If you want to stand strong in the battle of this life, with the enemy throwing his arrows at you, you need to be equipped and strengthened in order to overcome. Life doesn’t get easier if you try to ignore what’s going on around you. You can try to be ignorant, but inevitably, life is going to throw you some curve balls. When it does, will you be ready to handle it or are you going to be shocked and undone by the unexpected?
I struggled with finding time to do daily devotions for years. My parents were great at reading Bible stories to my brother and I before bed. We would sing songs and pray together. But as I got older, it wasn’t something in which I was personally disciplined.
My perspective through my teen years and twenties was that it was a good Christian thing to do. It was something that I could check off my list to “becoming more righteous”. Yet, it never inspired me enough to do it.
However, as time went on, my mind began to change. I was serving in various ministries, keeping the house duties up, and feeling unsatisfied. I knew that I was burning out but didn’t know how to get off the hamster wheel I had created. I began praying that the Lord would help me to desire His word and time with Him each day. I would pick up the Bible here and there. I tried different times of the day to do it.
Finally, while attending a women’s conference in 2015, I felt completely wiped. I was listening to women explain great strategies to disciple other women, but I didn’t feel the passion for it anymore. I didn’t want people to need me. I didn’t want to give of myself anymore; I just wanted Jesus. I realized that I had nothing more to give because I was tapping into my own resources instead of drinking from the well of His.
It was then that I truly and deeply prayed that the Lord would help me to thirst after Him, not just His word. He heard my heart’s prayer and answered.
Beth Moore was the speaker for the last two days of the conference. She spoke on the importance of what Scripture does from Isaiah 55. “For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:10-11
I was encouraged and challenged. I set out on a quest to dive into God’s Word because I knew it would “prosper in what [He] sent it to do”. It was going to really change my heart. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow: it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
In order to do this well, I chose to let go of a couple of ministries with which I was involved. I felt the Lord challenge me to wake up earlier. I am not a morning person, so this was a challenge indeed. But, when you want something bad enough, it is worth sacrificing to achieve it. As I began to dive deep into His Word, I was surprised at how my heart really did start to change.
When you’re obediently seeking the Lord, He has more opportunity to work in your heart because you willingly allow Him access. He doesn’t want to have to fight with you to choose more of Him. He wants you to desire Him. Through that desire, He does great things. I can testify that my heart began to find healing and freedom from past hurts. He’s brought healing to areas I didn’t realize I even needed! He will change your mind and attitude. He will prepare you for the unexpected events in life.
If I hadn’t invested the time in understanding Scripture and strengthening my relationship with Jesus, I could not have handled all the unexpected things that cropped up the last seven years.
He’s not asking us to spend our entire day in the Bible. He only asked me for a half hour more each day. This eventually turned into longer because the more I did it, the more time I wanted with Him. Then it turned into a daily walk with Him. I worship Him throughout the day in little prayers and praises. I worship by listening to praise music and by meditating on the passage I read in the morning. I’m not always great at it, but it is a practice that becomes natural over time. Because of this, I am able to make better decisions and hear His voice more because my spirit is in tune with His.
Please note: This is not something that happens overnight. It takes practice. If you crave a deeper relationship with Jesus, ask Him where and how to have that. If you can, get up a little earlier each day. Trust me, the peace in the morning with Him is a beautiful thing. However, stay away from comfy beds and blankets for the beginning until you get used to waking up earlier. Start off by listening to a worship song or two. This will help get your mind and heart in the right place. (If you can’t get responsibilities and other things out of your mind, write them down and leave them there until you’re done your special time.) Then pick a chapter in the Bible to read through. You can start in Genesis, Matthew, or John if you don’t know where to begin. Or, find a devotional like, Warrior in Training, if you’d like guidance.
I didn’t understand when I was younger that being in Scripture truly changes your whole life. When you discipline yourself to consistently spend time with Jesus, the Holy Spirit works in your heart and makes it more like His. It allows you to find healing. It brings freedom and peace. It strengthens you in the hard times and allows you to love and connect with Jesus more than you could ever imagine. It will help to shape your perspective and priorities to be more in line with God’s will for your life.
If you want to guard your heart and your life, you need to seek wisdom (Proverbs 4). In order to seek wisdom, you need to be in His word. By being in His word, you will find peace.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7