“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life,” (Proverbs 4:23 NASB).
The second half of this verse shows us that the condition of our hearts will direct our lives, emphasizing the importance of our ability to guard our hearts. If we have anger in our hearts, then anger will be the driving force behind almost everything we do. If a fear of rejection is rooted in our hearts, then we will spend our lives striving to earn man’s acceptance. The list could go on and on.
This truth should lead us to ask the question, “How do I guard my heart?”
Many people think this involves building high walls around their hearts so they can never be broken or disappointed. They think they have built the walls for protection, but in reality they have built their own prison. However, those who do this are being controlled by fear and the Bible reveals the exact opposite is to be done.
“For the love of Christ controls us,” (2 Corinthians 5:14a NASB).
Fear builds walls around our hearts.
It shuts us out from the world. It tells us that if we ever let anyone or anything close to us, then we are at risk for failure and heartbreak.
While this is true, it is also true that behind the walls our hearts will become hard and unfeeling, and we will miss the abundant life waiting for us on the outside. A life controlled by fear can never experience the fullness of God’s plan.
Being controlled by love is how we find our calling and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
He lived His life to show the Father’s love to everyone who came around Him. His heart was open to the hurting and the lost. It was even open to the self-righteous people who hated Him.
If Jesus had been motivated by fear He wouldn’t have fulfilled His purpose of dying on the cross. Without His death there would have been no resurrection. So, the love of Christ is the reason we are here today.
The best way to guard our hearts is not to build high walls around them, but rather to open them to the love of Christ. His love will soften our hearts to receive every good thing He has for us. Although it will not prevent us from experiencing failure and disappointment, it will protect us from being shattered by them. It will give us Jesus’ perspective of life and people. His love will show us that failure doesn’t have to be the end, because He will always make a way.
When our hearts our guarded by the love of Christ, then the course of our lives will always be victorious.