“Guard your heart"
By Brendan Woods
"Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life."
- Prov 4:23
In ancient context, the heart was seen as the point of our most basic orientation, encompassing our will, mind, emotions and even spirit. From the heart of a person come their desires, affections, thoughts, motivation and direction. The heart is so fundamental to the life of a person that we are given the command to guard it.
Notice we are not told that someone will guard it for us, this is an active task, and the text even uses language drawn from the concept of guarding a prisoner, which would imply the task of guarding is not casual, nor is it optional.
While a good many things are likely to cause damage to the heart, I suggest one worth considering for 2018 is media consumption. You see, there is a battle waging for your eyes. If someone can get your eyes for a moment, they can plant an image or idea in your mind, positioning you to buy whatever they’re selling. Your heart values and motivations are deeply affected by what you consume, often it’s subtle, but we’re all susceptible and our heart values begin to shift based on what we consume.
Interestingly the actual outcome of shifting values is often disappointment. Disappointment in what we own, the way we dress, the car we drive, our job, house, spouse, kids or church. When our heart moves away from what God has for us, from His standards and perspective, we become lost in the shifting sands of popular opinion, marketing and pop culture. Inevitably our existence becomes one long disappointment, that never manages to keep up with what our heart sees as important.
Consider that everything that you watch, read and listen to, is altering your heart either for positive or negative. Maybe guarding your heart in 2018 involves deleting Facebook, binge-watching less, going a day a week without your phone. Any actions like these that protect your mind from the nonsense that often fills a screen before our eyes, will go a long way to guard the most important thing you own: your heart.