7 Ways You Can Guard Your Heart
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
The role of a prison guard is twofold: they aren’t to let anyone in and not to let anyone out. As believers we are have the same twofold mission in guarding our hearts. We have to be careful of what we let in and out. Many times we are like sleeping or negligent guards and our enemy, Satan, uses it to his advantage. Guarding our hearts is necessary because everything we do is a reflection of the condition of our hearts. We must take heed to the 7 ways to guard our hearts:
#1) Guard your heart in prayer.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).
As we pray to God, we have the opportunity to intercede for others as well as ourselves. We know that our prayers open the doors of heaven to move on our behalf. Praying everyday keeps us alert and on guard for the temptations that would draw our hearts away from God. Our prayers give us the strength to guard our hearts even in times of distress.
#2) Guard your heart with knowledge.
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way” (Colossians 1:9).
Knowing our weaknesses is the biggest step in overcoming temptations. We guard our hearts with knowledge of God’s word and our response to it. Studying the Bible as a lifelong practice will equip us with all the knowledge necessary to guard our hearts and minds. The word of God is our greatest defense weapon for the heart.
#3) Guard your heart with wisdom.
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you” (Proverbs 4:6).
Wisdom is the application of knowledge that we’ve received from God’s word. Wisdom from the Bible protects us from the deceitful traps of our enemy. As we walk in wisdom, our hearts are trained to recognize truth from lies so that we avoid entanglements with sin. A wise man or woman will know in their spirit how to guard against sin.
#4) Guard your heart with the words you say.
“Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Proverbs 4:24).
Speaking only what is necessary and good for others to hear is a discipline for those who’ve grown up spiritually. When we learn to resist the temptation to speak our minds freely, our hearts are protected from the onslaught of regret over gossip, slanderous, and exaggerating words. On the same matter, speaking words of truth and encouragement builds up love for people in our hearts.
#5) Guard your heart with what you watch.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” (Proverbs 4:25).
With the prevalence of sensuality on the Internet, TV, or billboard advertisements, there are many opportunities to stray with our eyes. Making a covenant ahead of time to not let our eyes fixate on the sensual will guard our hearts from falling into sin. We determine to divert our vision immediately when the Holy Spirit gently convicts us. This faithful practice will keep our feet from falling into sin.
#6) Guard your heart with what you think.
“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26).
Many believers have fallen into the traps of sinful behaviors because of an unrestrained thought life. God cares about what we entertain in our minds and an overactive imagination will need to be reined in. The careful meditation and reflection of God’s word can help guard our thoughts and keep us from falling into sin. Our resistance to sinful thoughts is built up when we speak or think over the passages of scripture at the moment of temptation.
#7) Guard your heart with your actions.
“Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:27).
Without the restraints over our eyes and thoughts—we most assuredly would follow through with sinful actions. We must always question our motivations before we do anything. We are led to do everything as to God. Our actions reveal the truth about our hearts even when our words may say differently. Doing the right thing is an act of obedience that will keep us from many grievous consequences.
Are you on guard?
Staying on guard has the responsibility of constantly pulling yourself in line with God’s word and the direction of the Holy Spirit. Those who give into the cravings of the flesh may find themselves in places without any spiritual protection. We trust in the Lord to lead us down the right paths as we surrender and follow His will. God gives us the strength and courage to guard our hearts as we put our trust in Him.
Article by Crystal McDowell
Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.
Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.