What does it mean to guard your heart?
You’ve probably heard that Christians should guard their hearts; maybe you’ve even used that phrase before. It’s common to say, but many Christians don’t know what that actually means or how to guard your heart.
Guarding your heart is one of the most important things Christians can do. So I want to look at the meaning of “guard your heart” and then we will end with 5 ways to guard your heart.
What Does It Mean To Guard Your Heart?
Proverbs 4:23 is where we get the term “guard your heart.” This verse shows us that our heart is where our actions flow from. In other words, what’s happening on the inside will ultimately control what you do on the outside.
That is why it’s so important to guard our hearts; our actions are just symptoms of what is going on inside of us. Guarding your heart means that you are continually making sure your heart and your head align. It means that what we know to be true is what’s setting the direction of our heart.
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s not something we can set and forget. Guarding your heart is something you need to do daily. The reality is our hearts don’t just drift, they are under attack.
Whether you realize it or not there’s a battle going on for your heart. You are constantly getting bombarded with messages that run contrary to the Gospel. They are trying to erode your faith and cause you to walk away from God. That’s why guarding your heart is so pivotal.
We need to be on a constant watch evaluating what we are allowing to influence our hearts.
There’s so much more to this verse, you can learn more here: The Powerful Meaning Of Proverbs 4:23 (Guard Your Heart)
How To Guard Your Heart
So, how do we guard our hearts?
We get an inside glimpse of how to guard your heart in Matthew 4:1-11 from Jesus. Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan, and he guards his heart from the attacks. These principles below are what Jesus did so well in the desert. Let’s look at 5 ways to guard your heart.
1. Focus On God
I know it’s said a lot and has become a cliché of sorts. But you’ve got to spend time building your relationship with God. And I just don’t know a better way to grow your faith and guard your heart than reading your Bible and praying. We’ve got to keep our eyes on God and there’s simply not a better way.
This is what Jesus modeled for us. Continually throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus slipping away from crowds to be alone and pray. He was guarding his heart, keeping his eyes on his father.
The reason Jesus was able to resist the devil in the desert was because he was so in tune with his father. If we want to have any success in guarding our hearts we have to spend time alone with our father. There’s just no other way.
2. Identify The Lies That Surround You
You are being fed information constantly. Every time you open your phone, scroll through social media, turn on the tv, go to the store, or even drive down the street you are inundated with messages.
Much of this information has an agenda, and that agenda runs contrary to the Gospel. If you aren’t paying attention you will start believing and buying into the lies. Many Christians today have abandoned the truth of the Gospel for what culture says is best and true.
In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus is being tempted, he’s being faced with lies. What he does is identify them and call them out.
We need to train ourselves to notice the lies that surround us. Too many Christians have been influenced by what culture teaches rather than what the Gospel teaches. Guarding your heart means that you identify the lies around you.
3. Reject What Is Not True
Identifying the messages around you is the first step, but it’s not good enough to just know what’s untrue. You need to reject it.
When Jesus was tempted in the desert he didn’t just state the lies, he countered them with truth. Satan would lob a lie, and Jesus would throw back the truth.
To do that you need to know what is true. In other words, you have to regularly be getting alone with God. Again, I know that sounds cliché. Read the Bible and pray more… but there’s just no other way.
You need to know and remind yourself of the truth. Otherwise, you will not be able to know what to reject and what to accept.
Guarding your heart means that we reject what is not true and embrace what is true. That means we need to know what is a lie AND know what is true.
When you identify a lie in your life combat it with truth. That’s part of the armor of God. To learn more about this point check out a recent blog post I wrote about it here: The Powerful Truth About The Armor Of God
4. Remember Your Identity
One of the reasons you should guard your heart is because attacks on your heart are attacks on your identity. Satan wants nothing more than for you to forget who you are and what Jesus has done for you.
In the desert, Satan was trying to tempt Jesus with an easier path. But Jesus knew his mission, and he knew his identity. He wasn’t swayed.
You need to remind yourself of who and whose you are. The world will try to hijack what God says about you. You need to remind yourself of who you are in Christ.
You are loved. You are enough. You are secure. God has given you everything you need to get through whatever is in front of you. On your own you will fail, but with God you will thrive.
5. Continually Remind Yourself Of What’s True
This is similar to the first point, but it’s important to say again in a slightly different way. Guarding your heart isn’t just defensive, it’s offensive.
Have you ever swam in the ocean when there’s a strong tide? You continually drift away from where you started. To counter that you need to find a marker, such as your beach chairs, and constantly be correcting what the current is doing to you. If you aren’t going on the offensive, the ocean will move you further and further away.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. If we don’t have an anchor that we continually look to, we will drift further and further away from Christ.
Make time. Get alone with God. And remind yourself of what’s true. It’s so easy to buy into the lies that are all around us. We need to continually remind ourselves of what’s true.
I know at this point I sound like a broken record. But guarding your heart centers around having your foundation in Christ AND continually reminding yourself of that.
Guarding your heart isn’t a one-time affair. This is something every Christian needs to do regularly.
Don’t give up. Don’t let your guard down. Guard your heart.
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