Guarding your heart
You were bought with a price, and it costed everything. We will never be able to pay Jesus back for that, and He doesn’t want us to. All He wants in return is your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” What does it mean to guard your heart? It can be different for everyone, but as a general guideline, it means that your thoughts control your actions. The choices you make and the way you walk with Christ all depend on your attitude and inner thoughts. As Christians, this is why we are commanded to guard our hearts. It is so important to lean on the Lord instead of ourselves or others.
When we are reading the Word and being built up in our community, our thoughts and our hearts are at peace, and our actions flow from that. It is much easier to be Christ-like when you are aware that God has everything under His control, not yours. Personally, I am a much more upbeat and calm person if I have been guarding my heart in a way that gives it to Jesus. I can roll with life’s punches that much easier, and offer grace to others when they are undeserving (because surprise, we’re all undeserving!).
When we don’t guard our hearts, we let the world slip in. We allow ourselves to be angry, anxious, distracted, and definitely not at peace. It’s absolutely okay and encouraged to feel these emotions! This is not a bad thing, and you are not a bad person if you feel that way. You don’t have to squish down and ignore these feelings. Jesus has done away with your guilt and shame. It’s the way you act on those feelings that can dictate whether or not your heart is guarded. When everything you do flows from your heart and thoughts, a hard heart can turn you into a hard person.
If your thoughts are unguarded, take a moment to step back in prayer. Picture a gate of some sort in your mind. It’s not an angry gate with barbed wire and guards; just a barrier between your thoughts and the world, a stopping point to think before you act. Any thought is able to get through, even if you are upset or angry. But it’s the way those thoughts get through that dictates what your actions will be. They cannot barge through, ready and aimed to hurt someone in the heat of the moment. They also can’t slither their way under or between, to secretly dig under somebody’s skin or sneak behind their back. The only way you let those thoughts through that gate is if they are: truthful, prayed over, and going to build a person up in Christ’s love. This gate also serves to only let the good stuff in. It keeps the world at bay so that you can focus on who you are in Jesus. If you slip up in either direction, forgive yourself. You have already been forgiven by the Creator - there is no reason to beat yourself up over this. Humble yourself to ask for somebody’s forgiveness if that’s something you need to do. Forgiveness is a whole other devotional I would love to write about, but for now, just know that once you ask for it, it’s in God’s hands.
We are all daughters of Christ, and when our hearts belong to Him, our life flows freely. Pray for a guarded heart in a way that your actions will loudly proclaim. Pray for the power to have
control over your thoughts and how they’re allowed to leave your gate. Let everything you do flow from His love and mercy.