Summary: Solomon, the world’s wisest man, gives us a charge that we need to guard our hearts above all else.
Guard Your Heart
Spiritual Heart Surgery
Proverbs 4:20 – 27
When I was in junior high, I played on the football team. What position did I play? Well, it could be said that I played three positions – guard, tackle and end. I sat on the end of the bench, guarded the water bottle, and tackled anyone that came near! But, more seriously, one of my positions was to play guard on offense. I had played that position as far back as Pee-Wee football as an eight year old.
Now, some positions in football are not named very well. For example, a tackle is a lineman that helps to block. They do not tackle people at all. In fact, if they do tackle someone, there will be a penalty called against them. However, a guard is a position that is very aptly named. There are two guards on offensive and they play on both sides of the center who snaps the ball. What is a guard’s job? Their job is to keep the defensive players away from their running back and quarterback. They block and pummel the defensive players in order to protect their players and keep them from getting hurt. Teams find huge individuals who are strong, fast and mean, and they do not get much glory; but, they are extremely important because they allow the quarterback and running backs to do their jobs.
The football field is not the only place you will find guards. All armored cars have armed guards. Their job is to keep people from coming in to take the money from the cars. Many businesses have security guards to keep the peace and take care of trouble makers. Your car may have splash guards to keep mud from coming off the tires and landing on the side of your car. Basically, if you have something important, you need to guard it to make sure that it is safe.
Think about your body for a second. What are the most important parts of your body? You might say your brain. You might say your heart. Whatever you think it is, I think most of us can agree that almost all of our most important parts are on the inside of us. Why is that? It is because the skin, bones, and muscles on the outside can protect them. Our outside parts are put there to guard our inner parts which are needed for life. Think about it. You may think your eyes are important, but you can live without your eyes. You cannot live without a liver or a heart. Therefore, these things need to be guarded.
Well, if everything that is truly important need to be guarded, then what do we need to guard in our spiritual life? There are a number of things that we need to guard, but there is one thing we need to guard above all else. We need to guard our hearts. Turn with me to Proverbs 4:20-27.
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.
This morning, we need to take a closer look at the topic of guarding our hearts. Before we go any further, let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
Why Do We Need To Guard Our Heart?
I’ve had my share of heartache in my life. One of the most difficult times was when I had dated a girl for about a year and we were discussing getting engaged and married. We had planned to go through some pre-marriage counseling with her pastor and I was looking forward to spending the entire summer with her as we both were going to work at the same Christian camp. Then, on the first day of camp, she broke the news that she didn’t want to date me anymore. To make matters worse, she had a new boyfriend within weeks, and she used our prescheduled pre-marriage counseling session with this new guy. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that things worked out as they did, but at the time, this was the greatest hurt I had ever experienced. I had a broken heart and it did not want to go away. It did not help that I had to work with her every day for the rest of the summer. I hurt deep down within and it affected my entire being. I became bitter and angry. I did things I never would have done before. I started listening to country music and liking it. I strayed far away from my Christian walk and it took years to restore my heart to the way it was before it was broken. Our heart is a very sensitive place that affects our entire being, and that is why we need to guard our heart.