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Apr
30

Why I Stopped Guarding My Heart

By

Above all else, guard your heart,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

For heartyears, I’ve been guarding my heart. Carefully shielding it from hurt and harm, barricading it in with stones of self-imposed security, sheltering it with interlocked hands … and posting a bold “Do Not Enter” sign at its door.

It’s time to STOP.

It’s time to throw out my malformed perception of a “guarded heart” and replace it with the purer form.

In my attempts to guard my heart (as I understood the practice), I had formed a hard, nearly impenetrable shell around it. A voice whispered, “If nothing gets in, nothing can hurt you.” And I hid my heart away, afraid to expose it to anything or anyone (bad or good) who could ever harm it again.

Healing is a process, and in recent weeks God has taken me through another phase of that journey – cracking the stone barrier so that my heart can grow. So that I can learn to reach out again. So that I can develop good relationships without fear. So that His love can flow in and through me.

Guarding your heart is not about WALLS. For so long (too long), I thought I had to construct a fortress around my heart to “guard” and protect it. But walls don’t just protect. They also prevent. And that’s what the walls had been doing for my own heart: preventing quality, in-depth relationships or hindering the ones I already had. In addition, I can’t be my own refuge. God alone has the ability and the power to be our One Refuge and Fortress (Psalm 91:2).

Guarding your heart is not about preventing every future or potential hurt. Any relationship, any investment, any venture comes with risks. And along the line, you will experience disappointments and hurts. While those experiences aren’t “pleasant”, they can be purposeful and productive (2 Corinthians 4:17; James 1:2-4).

Guarding your heart is not about being closed off. Our calling on this earth depends on interaction. “One another” verses resonate throughout the New Testament. The very Gospel itself spreads when people meet people and feet go and Truth translates from mouth to soul.

BUT…

Guarding your heart is about resisting sin. Fill your heart with truth and the promises of God. Teach it to walk in His ways. One translation says it like this: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NCV). 2 Corinthians 10:5 expounds on that idea: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Resist the devil, flee from sin, fight temptations.

Guarding your heart is about living the abundant life Christ has made possible. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He didn’t come for us to hide and cower in fear. He didn’t intend for us to so completely sequester ourselves that we have no joy in this world and no influence upon it.

Guarding your heart is about openness with wisdom. Train a guard that knows the difference between enemy and friend. Be an ambassador, but don’t go into the field without protection. Guard your heart not necessarily from people but from poison. Practice wisdom. Learn discernment. Pray with Solomon, “So give Your servant a discerning heart to … distinguish between right and wrong” (I Kings 3:9).

It is time to live and love and demolish strongholds.

It is time to be bold, to be wise, to overcome and to trust my Refuge.

It is time for me to stop guarding my heart my way and start guarding it God’s way.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joy Jochems has been in ministry literally her whole life. While Joy is actively involved with her local church as youth ministry coordinator and lends a hand at CWAHM as devotional coordinator and guest contributor, she recognizes that her primary ministry is in her home, to her children. You can contact Joy at joy@cwahm.com.

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