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From a young age, I have been taught to guard my heart in my Bible classes and fellowship meetings. But all I understood during those lessons was to stay away from worldly temptations that draw us away from God.
The meaning of guarding your heart sounds somewhat explanatory but it did not make much sense in the real world until I learned the actual meaning of how to guard my heart.
I remember asking my friends, church leaders, and family about the real meaning of “guard your heart?” Does it mean I have to refrain from heart-to-heart conversations with my loved ones? Does it mean I should protect myself so that no one can break my heart?
In this article, I’m excited to share with you the lessons I learned about “guarding your heart” and a few practical ways to do it.
What Does It Mean To Guard Your Heart?
We know that our thoughts control our emotions and actions. When God dwells in our hearts, we think right and our actions line up with God’s will and the teachings of the Bible. But when we drift away from our faith in God, we do wrong and feel hopeless.
Similarly, when the Bible speaks about the heart, it refers to our minds. Our emotional center. Wisdom. Thoughts. Reasoning.
By guarding our hearts, we protect our hearts from spiritual forces in the world. We discern between the truth and lies in the world and stay away from worldly temptations that can damage our relationship with God.
There are many misconceptions about the meaning of guarding your heart. Many people believe that guarding hearts involves cutting ourselves off from the world. As a result, people stop interacting and loving one another, for fear of getting hurt.
The actual meaning of “guard your heart” is making wise decisions, staying away from bad influences, and following ideas and desires that line up with God’s teachings.
What Does The Bible Say About Guarding Your Heart?
The Bible introduces the concept of guarding your heart in Proverbs 4:23 (NIV):
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Solomon, Israel’s wisest king, tells us that it is imperative to guard our hearts as everything we do flows from it. The heart here represents our minds, thoughts, and emotional center which ultimately leads to actions.
In Romans 12:2 (ESV), Paul tells us to stay away from worldly pleasures and be transformed:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
How To Guard Your Heart
Being able to identify and combat the negative influences in our lives is a spiritual discipline. To overcome challenges in life, we must know how to guard our hearts.
Here are 5 practical ways to guard your heart that have certainly proved useful to me over the course of my life.
1. Study The Bible
The Holy Bible is filled with wise advice on how to stay close to God and deal with challenges in life. Scripture assures us that the Lord is with us wherever we go in Joshua 1:9 (ESV):
Prayer is undoubtedly a powerful way to grow in our walk. Pray for wisdom to guard your heart against criticisms and negative influences in this judgemental world. Ask God to make you the gatekeeper of your heart.
To say no to worldly pleasures, one needs to remain vigilant and resist all evil temptations. Prayer allows you to build that confidence and ability to protect your heart.
Submit your will to God and allow Him to guide you according to His will. When God takes control of your life, your walk with Him will transform into a deeper, meaningful connection.
3. Take Your Thoughts Captive
Thoughts come into our minds whether we want them to or not. We need to make the decision to accept the thought or reject it. If we spend time thinking of something, it gets imprinted in our subconsciousness which influences our actions.
We need to line our thoughts up with God’s Word and take our thoughts captive so we don’t get led astray. Knowing what the Bible says is an important part of this. How can we know what to allow in our minds if we don’t know the Bible?
Take the time to study the Bible and focus your thoughts on God, His desires, and his teachings. You need to control your mind in order to guard your heart.
4. Choose Friends Wisely
The people around us have an enormous impact on our lives. If you surround yourself with people who strive to do better spiritually, you will naturally put in extra effort to walk closer with the Lord.
On the other hand, if the people around you go behind worldly pleasures and let their hearts wander around aimlessly, guarding your heart will become a nearly impossible task.
Let us look closely at Solomon’s words in Proverbs 12:26:
“One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
The selfish and wicked people in your life will encourage you to walk in the wrong direction whereas the ones who cultivate spiritual discipline will guide you toward the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Surround yourself with people of good quality, who point you toward Christ and constantly encourage you to become a better person. The Bible says we can identify these people by their fruits.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 17:15-20
5. Run Away From Temptations
Fighting against temptations is not as easy as it sounds. At times we feel that earthly temptations are much easier than following God’s path because God expects us to be spiritually disciplined and turn to Him in repentance. Whereas spiritual warfare tempts us to obey sin’s desires and cultivate ungodliness.
A large part of the concept of guarding your heart involves walking away from temptations. Staying away from ungodliness becomes easy when we focus on fulfilling godly desires in our lives.
Guard Your Heart Scripture
The Bible has many different versions available. The guard your heart Bible verses below are from the English Standard Version (ESV). I listed these guard your heart verses in order of the books of the Bible below.
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Psalm 119:9-11 – How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Luke 6:45 – The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Colossians 3:1-2 – If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Guard Your Heart Quotes
Here are some of my favorite guard your heart quotes.
“You wear your heart on your sleeve. Guard it more carefully, lest others see it and pluck it out.” – Jay Kristoff
“If the seed doesn’t get planted, it can’t become a toxic thornbush. We must guard our minds and our hearts, starting with our eyes.” – Unknown
“Your heart is sacred land. Don’t let just anything enter it. Guard it with your life.” – Yasmin Mogahed
“Guard your heart and mind against double-minded pretentious beings. Do not allow infiltration beyond the surface. If their influence travels on the inside, they become like an incurable disease.” – Amaka Imani Nkosazana
“Everyone struggles to guard their heart from breaking, when they should desire to have a heart that breaks.” – Unknown
“What’s the point of living if you’re going to hate the world? Guard your heart if you have to, but don’t shut it away.” – Neal Shusterman
“Fiercely guard the passions burning inside your heart, so that their flames can safely reach the highest ceilings of success without the eyes of envy. ” – Suzy Kassem
“Guard your heart, mind, and time. Those three things will determine the health of everything else in your life.” – Andrena Sawyer
“Guarding your heart means protecting deepest parts of who you are – both your emotional and spiritual worlds – from anyone who could cause them harm.” – Debra Fileta
“Wall your life, guard your heart, and mind your mind! A life without a wall at least blocks something! A mind without a wall accepts anything at all!.” – Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Are You Guarding Your Heart Above All Else?
Soloman tells us that everything flows from our hearts. He says that we are to guard our hearts above all else because our hearts are extremely valuable. Our heart thinks and processes everything around us.
We need to keep our hearts healthy so the rest of us is healthy. This is true about the physical body and the spiritual body. Our heart represents the foundation of who we are and we need to protect it.
Making the decision to guard our hearts is important and we need to be intentional about it. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Are you guarding your heart above all else?