You’ve heard the statements and have probably seen the meme images: Follow your dreams, let your heart lead the way! Or, Stop thinking so much and follow your heart. While those statements sound nice and feed our minds with exciting things to come from following our heart wherever it leads, the Bible paints a very different picture. Jeremiah 17:9 calls our hearts deceitful and most versions say our hearts are desperately sick. That doesn’t sound like a very good guide, does it? A sick heart could lead us into some very unpleasant places.
In Proverbs 4:23 we are instructed “above all else, guard your heart”. Guards are for protection over something that has value. All sports have protection of some sort – helmets, pads, mouth guards, and other protective items. The President of the US and other elected officials are heavily guarded. Banks and jewelry stores are protected from theft by guards. But do we put a protective barrier or station a guard at our garbage can? No, because it has no value. In fact, we are very happy when someone carries off our garbage.
Your heart needs guarding because your heart is who you are. It is the core of your being—it’s where all your desires and passions live. It is the part of you that connects with God and other people. It’s the source of our worship, the dwelling place of God. Our heart is the place that our mind, will, and emotions come together. This is why Solomon says, above all else. Not if it’s convenient. Not when you get around to it. Not, “it sure would be a good idea if…” No. Above all else. It should be a top priority.
The rest of the verse states: for everything you do flows from it (your heart). Like a spring of water, the condition of our heart affects everything downstream from us. Our relationships, our choices and eventually our entire legacy.
The guard and protection we have for our hearts is God’s Truth. His words. His Spirit. He is the standard by which we measure all our thoughts, ideas and emotions, and His protection is available to us. What will you choose?
Choose to guard your heart above all, or it will choose the wrong things.
—from Choices Daily Devotional by Robin Meadows