Guard Your Hearts

 (Part 2 of “Innermost Hearts”)

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

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Guard Your Heart”…that expression has always seemed very wise and good, but until recently, I had no clue what it really meant! I didn’t know how precious each of our hearts is to God. He doesn’t want to see our hearts get crushed or abused and He doesn’t want anyone else in charge of them but Himself. When our hearts are firmly set on Him, and therefore perfectly prioritized, it doesn’t matter what else we come against in our lives…

we remain safe, secure, and at peace.

Our hearts hold our hopes and dreams, our identity and morals. Ok, of course I see why we need to guard them now! I wish I knew this back in middle school!

The world teaches that life is about risk and excitement. Just do it!  Be a risk-taker! You never know until you try! Wouldn’t you like to be as happy as ________? At an early age, we buy into this and jump into non-stop dating fiascos and heartbreak, obsessions with stars and hobbies, trying everything because we wouldn’t want to miss anything! Our hearts become victim of the world’s trial-and-error games.

Strangely, we hear little about the accompanying lows, which by the way are 100x more powerful and last 100x as long. Once we get up from the brutal punch we received, we hear, “just get over it”, find that next high! Be bold, be crazy! Careful people are considered losers. Moral people are considered prude and mocked. Wise people are considered stupid.

Well, it doesn’t take long and the truth becomes apparent.

Life hurts.

It’s disappointing. To live this way is to give everyone and anything complete access to our hearts and hope they treat them well. I wouldn’t say that’s impossible, but genuinely kind and safe people are few and far between. And even they are not qualified to be in charge of our precious hearts. So, without God in the equation, we quickly crash and burn. We lose ourselves while we try to find ourselves. It’s a story that ends poorly for many people, sometimes literally.

The thing is people are designed to be head over heels, passionately in love with God, first and most! You will find some amazing people, and everyone is a treasure to God. But, you’ll always be disappointed because every person is just as broken and desperate as you are.  No one person has the answer for you or will meet every need you have.

Life with Christ at the core is one of soaring because it’s a love affair with no downside. God won’t change his mind about you for someone else. He is completely invested in your relationship with him and knows everything about you. So, really it’s giving up the lows. Realize that thrills are temporary but life with God is both exciting and meaningful. As you develop a taste for God’s amazing love and protection, you find there’s nothing better. Your heart is perfectly guarded and ordered.

You’re safe and absolutely loved and cherished.

It’s no longer what happens in your life that makes your day, but that you experience every moment with the God that adores you. You can face years of wonderful circumstances or years of difficulty and you’re ok either way.

What does this type of life look like in daily life? Wisdom in making decisions, listening to wise people and trusting their input. It’s analyzing what the world says to do and not needing to say “yes” unless you feel it’s the right thing to do. “No, thank you” to dating early and finding out how fickle and superficial other kids are. “I’ll pass” to people and entertainment that is vulgar and inappropriate. It’s being selective in who we spend most of our time with, because most likely we’ll begin to act similarly to them. But most of all, it’s risking giving our hearts completely to God, where we can be valued, respected, and adored. It’s His opinion that matters. Whatever labels the world puts on us don’t crush us because we know we are standing apart for the right reasons.  And it’s an excitement to share God’s love with those around us when they are ready to hear why we are so different.

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