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Guard your heart: how can you guard your heart? We live in the flesh/body (Gal. 2:20) and in this world are surrounded by sin. So how can one protect his heart from all the garbage around him?
A Biblical definition for the heart
The Bible talks a lot about the heart. It is a small word in the Hebrew and Greek language, but God says a lot about it in His Word—it appears over one thousand times. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary
the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.
However, because of sin, our hearts became damaged or broken. In Psalm 51 one can read that God loves the kinds of hearts that are broken and contrite. Psalm 51:19 (TLV)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
In Isaiah 61 we can also learn that Jesus came to heal this kind of heart. Moreover, we all are eligible for His healing if we admit we need it and ask for His healing touch. Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound
A broken heart
The same word that appears in Psalm 51:19 and is translated with broken appears in Isaiah 61:1. It has the meaning of something shattered, crushed, wrecked, broken. It is the same word used in Jeremiah 19:10 when God told Jeremiah to break the flask he bought from a potter.
You know God can heal a heart shattered into pieces? He is the only One who can do it, because He is the Creator of men—He knows you! And that means He can heal and restore you.
When I was involved in pornography, my heart was defiled by unclean thoughts. My heart was broken because of sin, and it needed healing. I needed a touch from Jesus, and He did touch my heart and began putting all of the pieces of my heart in the right order. Moreover, He still does that and will continue to restore my life even though sometimes it’s hard.
Guard your heart—it is a choice
To guard your heart you need to make a choice. Someone said that we are as free as our minds or hearts are. In Colossians 3:1-2 (TLV) we read
Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
These two verses talk about the mind or the heart of a believer. Then from verse three to ten, the passage talks about the actions of a believer who has his heart set on the things that are above. Colossians 3:5 (TLV) says
Therefore, put to death what is earthly in you—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed—for that is idolatry.
If we fix our eyes on Jesus, our heart will be captivated by Him. However, if we set our eyes on this world and its pleasures, our heart will be captivated by the world. We cannot serve two masters. We need a heart that is undivided. In 2 Chronicles 12:14 (TLV) we read about King Rehoboam
But he did evil because he had not set his heart to seek Adonai.
We can set our heart on the things above and seek the Lord, or we can choose not to do that, like Rehoboam. This is a choice! Proverbs 4:23 (TLV) says
Guard your heart diligently, for from it flow the springs of life.
To guard your heart is your responsibility
It seems to me like this is again a choice we can make and a duty we have. We have to make a decision every moment of our life to set our mind and heart on the things above. If we think of sin, we will be consumed by lust. What we do is what we think.
Your thoughts will be reflected in your deeds. Moreover, as someone said, good thoughts will bear good fruit and sinful thoughts will bear rotten fruit. That is why I wrote the post about the practice of the Presence of God. It is crucial.
Talking about the heart, Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23 (TLV)
And He continued, “It is what comes out of the man that makes the man unholy. For from within, out of the heart of men, come evil intentions, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustfulness, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and make the man unholy.”
Now you can understand better why it is crucial to guard your heart with all vigilance. According to the above scriptures, one can understand that pornography is a heart issue and it needs the healing touch of the only Person who can heal a broken heart— Jesus.
Your heart is like a garden
In Matthew 13 we read about the parable of the sower and four types of soil. The soil represents the heart (Matt. 13:19). It is no surprise to realize that your heart and mine are like a garden (Isaiah 58:11) or a piece of land.
I remember when I had to work in a garden once with my father and I did see many strange things there. Things like pieces of wood, iron, glass, bricks and other objects I had no idea what they were.
It can be the same in your heart. Only God knows what is inside of it. Therefore, you need to ask Jesus to come into your heart and show you the things you need to get rid of. The ‘weeds’ of fear, bitterness, anger, adultery, pride, envy, lies, and all the things listed by Jesus in Mark 7 and on the rest of the pages of the Bible. But what should we do with them? In 1 Peter 5:7 (TLV) we read the answer
Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for you.
Yes, we need to give them to Jesus. Indeed, the above verse is not saying that He will take them without us giving them to Him. Jesus will take them if we give them to Him, by faith. If we hold them dear to us, He will not take them by force but will respect our decision. So, guard your heart by cleaning your heart!
Guard your heart together with the Holy Spirit
This teaching saved my life. Needless to say, I did not know what to do with all the sexual images and thoughts I have had. That is until I learned that I have to keep the garden of my heart clean for the Word of God to produce fruit.
This works with any thought. In other words, I learned that I needed to weed out every image I was not able to get rid of and bring it to and give it to Jesus! After that, I asked for His blood to wash me clean and heal my mind and heart.
It was a process though. I had to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and start taking care of my heart with the help of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, I had to plant the Word of God in my heart by reading and memorizing the Scripture, meditating on the Word of God, and prayer. Indeed, I did spend many moments in worship giving the Lord the dirty things in my heart.
God began to heal my mind when I started to collaborate with His Spirit! The Holy Spirit will renew your mind, but you will have to open your Bible and practice His Word! James 1:21 (TLV) says
So put away all moral filth and excess of evil and receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Guard your heart and prayer
You can neglect your heart, or you can cultivate your heart. It is your choice. Moreover, it is your choice what kind of seeds you want to sow— of the flesh or of the Spirit. You will reap what you have sown. It is your job to guard your heart!
What will you do now? What are those thoughts and images you cannot get rid of? Take them to the Lord in prayer. Give them to Jesus. Do not keep them. I have changed my prayer from Lord, take them from me to Lord, I chose to give them to You (1 Peter 5:7).
It changed my life as I took every thought, one by one, to Jesus. When a sinful thought comes now in my mind, I know what I have to do. I ask for His help, and by faith, I give it to Him. Even though sometimes I also ask God to take some thoughts from my mind that I cannot bring to Him.
To guard your heart is like doing the hygiene of your heart. And you need to do it every day just as you clean your house or brush your teeth every day.
What is your response? How do you plan to guard your heart?
As you saw, in this post I spoke about the importance of taking care of our heart. We need to spend time in the Presence of God and ask Him to search our hearts and point us to anything we need to surrender to Him. We can do that by faith, in prayer, and with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is important not to let the dirty things accumulate in our hearts as this will lead us away from the Lord.
How about spending time right now in prayer giving to Jesus the thoughts and images that are bothering you? Or to invite Jesus in those hurtful memories from your past? Invite and let Jesus heal your heart!
Do you agree?
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I am a blogger, writer, minister, husband to Olguta, and most importantly, a child of God. I am also a certified Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team, and I am helping people reach their full potential.