I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told to guard my heart. Like sitting in 7th grade Bible, right after having a discussion about how tampons work. No joke. Sorry. Or 8th grade Bible, and Language, and Social Studies, and P.E. and chapel. And then practically every-other chapel in 9th through 12th grade. And it mysteriously came up in every high school Bible class. And in every Christian book I read (fiction and non-fiction).
So, I thought I got the picture. I mean, it’s pretty simple, right? Don’t fall completely in love with a boy until you marry him, right? Simple.
The thing is, growing up, whether or not the speakers were actually doing this, I always heard “guard your heart” in connection with dating and boys. Which isn’t really the case. Giving your heart away is different than guarding your heart.
SO VERY different.
There are SO MANY other things that are going to try to steal or taint your heart other than boys (or girls). Like anything and everything. Literally. Anything on this earth that can be twisted and tweaked so that it can become an obsession that takes your focus away from God. It will steal your heart. Like food. Like Facebook. Like reading. Or watching TV. Or dreaming about your future. Or working out. Or computer games. Or board games (don’t ask). Or coffee. Or a band. Or ANYTHING.
Now, before you freak out on me. Those things I just listed aren’t bad. I promise. It’s when they become more important to you than your relationship with God – when you turn to them instead of God when you’re angry/frustrated/confused/depressed – that’s bad.
Incase you didn’t pick up my subtleties there – whoever /whatever you go to when you’re in a rough spot –t hat’s who has your heart. Wherever /whoever you spend all your free time with – that’s who has your heart.
And it’s no use trying not to “give it” to someone /something, because we as humans are wired to give our hearts away. You’ve given it to something already.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t guard it, or that you shouldn’t guard it. Because you should. Definitely. Crazy thought – you even should guard it AFTER having given it! In fact, hopefully whoever you give it to should help you guard it, and you should help guard theirs.
So guard it! Your heart is the single most precious thing you’re responsible for.
Now, the question I wish someone would have addressed in all those talks I sat through – HOW?!?
I think, as simple (and impossible) as it sounds, the key to guarding our hearts are in our thought patterns. We are, after all, commanded to think about only things that are good, pure, honorable – all that jazz (Phil 4:8). That’s a HUGE part of guarding your heart. Watching / listening to stuff that wouldn’t make you blush if Jesus walked in the room (I know that’s cheesy, but it works) . And that doesn’t mean only watching stuff that is morally-right, or singers that don’t use cuss words. It’s more along the lines of in what condition does that song/movie/show/person leave you in when you’re done listening/watching/hanging out. Are you generally encouraged and challenged? Or are you angry/frustrated/scared. How is your heart feeling? Taking stock of how the world around you affects you – that’s guarding your heart.
Be vigilant*. Be strong. Stand True.
* (I know – old-school word you have no idea what it means – go look it up!)