Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)
“Follow your heart”, this is a mantra in today’s world. A cliché that has been popularly promoted in the songs we hear, the movies we watch, and the books, magazines, and articles we read. It is not a surprise if it is also the most common advice we will get from our sphere of influence. The problem is this quip is not found in the Bible.
This is what the Bible says about our unregenerate hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” gives us two reasons not to live our lives by following our hearts.
First, it is the most deceitful in all of creation because of its sinful nature. I remember reading an article that if we follow our heart, we follow an unreliable guide. Second, it is desperately sick. It is an incurable disease because it cannot be understood. It is impossible to cure something that we do not understand.
It is a fact that we are wired with our hearts. Our emotions flow from it. Physically, we need it. It keeps us alive. Yet, it is impossible to dislodge our hearts so we won’t follow it. So what do we do? Inspired by the Holy Spirit, King Solomon, the wisest king ever lived, commands in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts.
Together with my husband, we are passionate in intentionally teaching our children not to follow their heart but instead to guard it because it will determine their course in life.
In our weekly family devotionals, we tackled this verse. After opening in prayer and reading the verse, we discussed it with a supplementary activity.
Here are the materials you will need:
For our activity, I printed out a big heart and cut out a set of words.
They should identify the cut out words if that should be in their heart or not. If they think that word should be in their heart they are to stick it inside the heart. If not, they should stick it outside the heart.
That is a heart-full!
The question is, “How can we guard our hearts?”
Guarding our hearts doesn’t mean to seal, to bar, or to lock our hearts so that none can come in and break it. In the Hebrew, to guard or to keep means to literally “set a watchman over it” and that watchman is God.
Yes, God because in our own strength, we can not keep watch over our own hearts.
The task is simple: We are commanded to keep ourselves in His Word, and He keeps our hearts. We filter our emotions, desires, thoughts, and responses through the Word of God.
We taught our children how to guard their hearts through a game. We asked them to do the “Bird Box Challenge” – we blind-folded them to cover their eyes. Placed on ear plugs so they can barely hear. This was just to illustrate that we guard our hearts by being careful in what our eyes see and what our ears hear.
Before we ended in prayer, we taught them two songs to remind them what it is to guard their hearts. YouTube links below:
Guarding our hearts is just not for young kids or teenagers but it is for all of us. The command to guard our hearts is for every human being.
Be the watchman of our hearts. Keep it for You as we meditate on Your Word day and night. Let Your Word be the sword that will protect our hearts from all evil so that what flows out of it glorifies Your Name alone.
In Your Name we pray, Amen!