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How do I guard my heart?

Paula Hendricks

Paula Hendricks | 08.25.09
Twitter: @PaulaWrites678

31 comments

A verse that people have often quoted to me regarding my relationships with guys is Proverbs 4:23:

heart in cage“Guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life.”

I’ve never known exactly what that meant . . . just that I was somehow supposed to steel myself against the very thing I wanted most.

Now, I’m not going to go into the nuances of the Hebrew words—but I do want to share a couple of things God impressed on me as I was walking through a cherry orchard talking to Him about this recently:

1. Guarding my heart does not mean protecting myself from being hurt. There’s no way I can insulate myself from any possibility of pain. Pain is a regular part of relationships in this broken world.

2. Guarding my heart does mean allowing no one access to that most central place of my affections but God. It means keeping the first commandment first—and loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5).

If I can keep Christ central in my affections, if He is my dearest friend, if intimacy with Him is my number one pursuit, then my future husband will be one blessed guy. And, if I never marry, I will have already allowed Jesus to fill the empty places in my heart.  

How about you? Are you regularly spending time sitting at Jesus’ feet getting to know Him (Luke 10:39)? Do you have a plan for pursuing intimacy with Him?

Comments

  1. About 4 months ago I heard a sermon about facing the troubled times and being prepared to go "through the fire". As i sat listening to the minister, I knew in my heart that I was not prepared to face any real difficult time. I mean the day to day stresses of life often keeps my tummy in knots.

    So I decided right then and there that I would seek to know the Lord in a better way - to love Him and know Him the way He desires for me to know Him. I stopped eating lunch at work and I went to the chapel to read the Bible and pray. I haven't been able to do it everyday but most days, you will find me either in the corner of my office or in the chapel with an open Bible and a pad and pencil.

    It's been a journey...I'm now in the book of Proverbs and have found myself almost on a daily basis, asking God for wisdom and instruction. It is my ultimate goal to spend the 1st hour of everyday and the last moments of everyday. with the Lord.
    posted by Jodi
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 7:55 am
  2. I know that you have written wisdom. I always did have a specific plan that I followed to seek the Lord, but I have allowed the urgent of life to crowd out the most important thing I can do... seek HIM. Thank you for this reminder.
    posted by CG
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 8:55 am
  3. I ordered Seeking Him last year during the Saturday prayer/revival series. I recently opended it and began truly SEEKING HIM! I've been blessed by this series and ROH. I have allowed the revival to start in my heart. I have been praying about a situation in my life for the past three years and the Lord spoke to me and said "SEEK ME" How awesome to sit at His feet early in the morning and dailyto know that I van trust Him for all things at all times.
    posted by AJ
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:27 am
  4. These thoughts are not only helpful in regards to male/female relationships, but also for our ever-fluid friendships with women! I am trying to walk my 10 year old daughter through the deep waters of her little girl friendships - and some are fickle! My challenge is how to communicate these truths to her so young and my hope is to see her draw nearer to Christ through it all. He alone will satisfy.
    posted by Karen
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:38 am
  5. KAREN, THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL, THAT YOU ARE WALKING WITH YOUR LITTLE GIRL THRU HER FRIENDSHIPS. THAT IS A GIFT THAT WILL MAKE HER EVER THANKFUL FOR WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MOTHER YOU ARE. i TOO HOPE TO SHARE THIS WONDERFUL MINISTRY WITH THE DAUGHTERS IN MY LIFE...MY GRANDDAUGHTERS AGES 15 DOWN TO 4 YRS OLD, MY OWN DAUGHTER AND NIECES WHO ARE ADULTS AND MY GREAT NIECES. REVIVE OUR HEARTS IS A WONDERFUL MINISTRY AND I AM SO INSPIRED BY NANCY LEIGH DEMOSS AND HER DEVOTIONALS ON THE WAY OF WISDOM
    posted by Ginny
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:04 am
  6. Thank you for that article! As a single young lady i have wondered so often how in the world i was to guard my heart... that is what everyone tells me to do but i always thought HOW?! Thank you for that encouragement and help!
    posted by Jolene
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:24 am
  7. Thank you for the powerful reminder, Paula! That verse has often come to my mind and this definitely helps make it more applicable!
    http://www.heiressintraining.com
    posted by Aaress
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 11:20 am
  8. EVERYTHING in my life flows out of my intimate time with the Lord in the mornings. Last week we started school at my house--I homeschool my six children. I set an alarm at 5:40am, but have asked the Lord to wake me early. He has consistently awakened me earlier than I set my alarm, sometimes a whole hour before that! I so cherish that quiet time in my closet before anyone else in the house awakens. HE knows how much I need Him and His Word each day. There have been times I've struggled to get up in the past and I know those times will come again because my flesh is so weak. But right now I am so thankful He is waking me up and giving me the grace to get up to meet with Him. I know how absolutely crucial it is--it is my lifeline!
    posted by Vivian
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm
  9. Thank you for sharing that! That is a verse that I look to for encouragement and also one that I pray. I love how you described what it IS and is NOT.

    God bless!
    www.agirlsjourneywithGod.blogspot.com
    posted by Molly
    on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 5:30 pm
  10. Thank you, this has been so helpful. i have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks and now i am enlightened. i honestly was venturing down the wrong path.

    Jodi, i loved your letter- i can totally relate.

    God bless
    posted by Chrissy
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 6:55 am
  11. Dearest Paula!

    I think you are so on the right track in your thinking! I have heard it taught (by Nancy and others), and also experienced it myself, and also seen it in the lives of others -- that what you said is so true:

    "If I can keep Christ central in my affections, if He is my dearest friend, if intimacy with Him is my number one pursuit, then my future husband will be one blessed guy. And, if I never marry, I will have already allowed Jesus to fill the empty places in my heart."

    Wise words! I know of two situations right now where women have lost husbands. Both have experienced deep emptiness. In one case, the woman radiates Christ because He keeps filling those empty places. In the other, the void has caused serious depression (she needs to allow Jesus to fill her again; if you are led of the Lord, please pray for her).

    Yes, I have a plan myself to keep drawing closer to the Lord. We must truly guard our hearts and not give them over to anything or anyone that would draw us away from Christ. I can relate to Vivian above, as my life is similar to hers. Vivian, I am praying for you -- may the Lord bless you, dear one! I pray you and I will both be faithful to arise early and seek our Beloved, who is truly our lifeline!

    "Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
    he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:3)

    In His love to all you true women,
    posted by Leslie S.
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 8:22 am
  12. Thanks for your comments, ladies! I wish I could respond to each one individually, but I’m in the midst of moving, and am just trying to keep my head above water.

    Ginny, have you checked out www.LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com? It’s a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, and there’s a great blog there for your teenage granddaughters . . .

    Jodi, I love it that you’re taking advantage of your lunch break to spend time at Jesus’ feet!

    Leslie, I am praying for your friend, that she will open herself up to receive the comfort that God is so ready and willing to give to her.

    Thanking Him for each of you today . . .

    paula
    posted by Paula Hendricks
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 10:45 am
  13. Great post! I couldn't agree more.
    www.emotionalpurity.blogspot.com
    posted by heather
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 11:08 am
  14. What a great way to describe guarding your heart. I have just said goodbye to a man that I dated for two years and had true hopes of marriage. Early on my friend encouraged me that there is always a risk in relationships and helped me to see that I was not to guard my heart in a way that would not let him in. As I grieve the end of this relationship, I at a good place because the Lord has always been my pursuit and the Lover of My Soul. He is the One who has been leading me through each step so now it is just "us" again. My time with Jesus is a priority and my joy, as a friend had said to me, "you have been courted by the King all these years." I have a regular time with Jesus daily, but also "dates with Jesus" which is monthly Saturday morning at a favorite restaurant (that happens to overlook the ocean). Those times of refreshing are instrumental in keeping love and vision alive. I am a blessed woman.
    posted by Karen
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm
  15. Paula, thank you for your prayers!!
    Heather, I hope you won't mind if I write this to you here -- CONGRATS on your new baby boy! (I visited your website!) I am so happy for you. May the Lord Jesus bless you and your husband abundantly as your raise your boys for Him!
    In His love,
    posted by Leslie S.
    on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 1:38 pm
  16. Dear Ladies (Karen an Leslie S.)

    I so appreciate your encouragement...I have been recently pondering the true meaning of "guarding your heart", as I desire to remain faithful to my future husband (whoever he may be) as Proverbs 31 says, "The heart of her husband does safely trust in her"....I want that to be said of me even as a single woman. And like was mentioned earlier..."if I never marry, I will have already allowed Jesus to fill the empty places in my heart."

    Thank-you for this very timely blog, Jesus has used this to encourage me along my path! :)

    In Christ's Love,
    posted by Valerie
    on Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 10:07 pm
  17. Revelation I got from God about my life after returning from Sedona,Az.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I found myself on a mountain at the end of my rope. Before me appeared a much larger rope that led as far as the eye could see. I had been climbing the rope that I was on for so long and it seemed to lead no where. Sometimes the climb was easy,sometimes it was hard,but it never seemed to get me anywhere. After much struggle with the rope I was on,one day I took a leap of "Faith" and grabbed onto the much larger rope. I started climbing and a change came over me. The higher I got, the stronger I got.At the same time,I became more frightened for fear of falling. I stopped a few times to catch my breath but felt compelled to keep climbing. Then I noticed the more I climbed,the less afraid I became. When I looked up, I could see the top of the mountain,I was in the clouds. I had almost reached the top. My heart was pounding my energy was high and I notice there had been a change in me that had taken place. I reach the top and stood up. What I saw, was the most incredible view I had ever seen. My mind was clear and taking in all the beauty around me. My heart was so soft,I wanted to cry. My soul had been changed and I felt like a new person. I would never look at my life the same. I reflected on the rope that I had spent my whole life on and wondered why I thought that the rope I was on would lead me to happiness. After trying to absorb this overwhelming quest, I all the sudden felt a great desire to climb back down the rope and tell others what I had experienced. As I climbed down,I saw other people on the rope. Some were up high and some had just started the climb. But many people were right in the middle not moving. Not going up nor going back down. When I got to the beginning of the rope, I started telling everyone that would listen to me about the rope that led to the top. Most people wouldn't listen to what I had to say. They were so content with climbing their own rope, which I knew would lead them no where for I had been climbing the same type of rope for so many years. Some people saw the rope I was on but were to afraid to make the leap of "Faith". They were afraid of falling. I noticed that while telling people about the rope,the place seemed dark and cold. It was until I saw the light on the mountain top that I could distinguish the difference. The individual ropes that we climb represents us living our own life trying to achieve fame,fortune and success on our own. Living life to satisfy ourselves. The leap to the other rope is the leap of "Faith" when we surrender our lives to Jesus. Give your life and Receive eternal life. The rope of life represents the hand of God.Climb it diligently and always know....God will never let you fall. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus has his hand out. Grab hold of him! The climb represents the struggles that we endure. God will give you the Holy Spirit to comfort you and encourage you on your climb+++ When you reach the top of the mountain,the scales fall off your eyes. You have achieved eternal life You acknowledge that you have been Born Again and you got to go tell someone!!! The people that stop on the rope and become comfortable, represent the Luke warm Christian that God will spew out of his mouth. One is either in the dark or in the light. There is nothing in between. If you are by the door in the dark....your still in the dark. The Lord wants us to have a great passion for him and be on fire for him. When you are in the dark,your eyes adjust. When most everyone around you is in darkness,you don't know your in the dark. It is only when you step into the light that you realize what a dark place you were in. I pray that this will encourage you and others to seek the lord. Love thy Lord God with all your Heart,Soul,Mind and Strength. Please allow me to share with you HOW to love our Lord God with all your heart,soul,mind and strength.

    Ray Baker
    (Messenger)
    followingjesus@comcast.net
    posted by messenger
    on Monday, September 7, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  18. Hi ladies, I'm a first time visitor of the blog and so far, you all have helped me. I have recently broken up with a guy who God has promised me will be in my future. I am trying to do what The Lord demanded and let go of him. :e amongst many other people have told me that I should guard my heart. I want to, I really do but first. I need to know how to fall out of love with the guy and totally love God the way I love the guy plus more. Any suggestions? We both struggled with idoltary and he seems to have fallen out of love quicker than - have. Which is good because I have no one else to lean on but God. Please help.
    posted by Tee Marie
    on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm
  19. Hi ladies, I'm a first time visitor of the blog and so far, you all have helped me. I have recently broken up with a guy who God has promised me will be in my future. I am trying to do what The Lord demanded and let go of him. :e amongst many other people have told me that I should guard my heart. I want to, I really do but first. I need to know how to fall out of love with the guy and totally love God the way I love the guy plus more. Any suggestions? We both struggled with idoltary and he seems to have fallen out of love quicker than - have. Which is good because I have no one else to lean on but God. Please help.
    posted by Tee Marie
    on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm
  20. Hi ladies, I'm a first time visitor of the blog and so far, you all have helped me. I have recently broken up with a guy who God has promised me will be in my future. I am trying to do what The Lord demanded and let go of him. :e amongst many other people have told me that I should guard my heart. I want to, I really do but first. I need to know how to fall out of love with the guy and totally love God the way I love the guy plus more. Any suggestions? We both struggled with idoltary and he seems to have fallen out of love quicker than - have. Which is good because I have no one else to lean on but God. Please help.
    posted by Tee Marie
    on Friday, April 16, 2010 at 12:40 am
  21. This blog about guarding your heart was sooooo helpful. Soo helpful and very clear. Thanks for writing it.
    posted by Michelle
    on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm
  22. Tee Marie,

    I see that you have posted 3 times. I have prayed for you and will continue to do so. :-)
    posted by Michelle
    on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm
  23. Tee Marie,

    I am going through the same struggle right now. I broke up with my bf of 3 years because I felt that God was not centred in our relationship. I knew that we were both turning into people that we didn't want to become. It's been a hard jounrey but just remember our God is so faithful. He has made bold promises to us. He has our mightly creater and He will never forsaken us. Hold onto his love because it alone satisfies.
    posted by Elizabeth
    on Monday, October 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm
  24. Thank you for reminding me that I need to set a specific time to study the word of God. I pray daily, but I haven't studied my bible for a while.
    posted by Sharon
    on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm
  25. Hi, I am a first vistor to this blog. I happened to come across this blog and have found it to be encouraging.
    I desire to live my life for Christ, and trust his plan.
    I am trying to understand what it means to guard my heart. I believe that the Lord is trying to help me to see that my worth & value is this is determined by Christ who is the lover of my soul. Please keep me in your prayers.
    posted by Miriam
    on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm
  26. We are glad that you found us and our site has been a help to you! Continue searching the blog and consider listening to Nancy DeMoss teach the Scriptures at www.reviveourhearts.com. You will learn much about “guarding your heart”.

    Welcome to our blog community. May you experience continued encouragement in the faith. I have just taken time to pray for you, Miriam. God bless you!
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm
  27. fOR THE LADIES THAT HAVE BROKEN UP WITH THEIR BF. BE HONEST WITH GOD AND LET HIM INTO THE PLACE WHERE YOUR BF WAS. GOD SHOULD BE AND WANTS TO BE THE CENTER OF OUR JOY. BEGING TO PURIFY YOURSELF WITH THE WORD OF GOD. SATURATE YOURSELF WITH THE WORD, WORSHIP, AND PRAYER. GOD WILL DWELL IN THOSE PLACES TO HEAL YOU AND GIVE YOU A DESIRE FOR INTIMACY WITH ONLY HIM. THAT IS UNTIL HE SENDS YOUR MATE. AND IF HE DOESNT YOU WILL BE FULFILLED IN A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THRU CHRIST. THIS PREPARES YOU TO LOVE PAST YOUR EMOTIONS AND FEELING, TRUE LOVE AND LASTING LOVE IS MORE PERMANENT THAN FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS.
    posted by TORAY GREEN
    on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm
  28. Hi everyone, Thank-you for all your comments! Last night the LORD told me to guard my heart. I didn't know entirely what that meant, and was wondering about it now. I found your blog right away and felt to read it. It witnesses to me. Last night a girlfriend and I were listening to Kennith Copeland preaching on a CD about fear. I suffer from fear right now and I fear for my marriage, my business, my ministry and it is crippling me. I do not sleep. I have not slept 2 consecutive nights well in a month. I previously been on antidepressants but I refuse to go that route this time. During those years of my life, about 4 years ago I suffered from a horrible family betrayal. I have been struggling to pick up the pieces since. I need your prayers!! I also need to push in with a deeper intimate relationship with Jesus. Thank-you again for your simple, real teaching on guarding your heart!
    www.honeyandlocust.com
    posted by melissa botma
    on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10:42 am
  29. @Melissa...We are so glad God led you to this blog. So sorry about the troubles and fear you are facing. But, as you said, it is opportunity for you to press hard into Christ and find the fulfillment of your life and future in HIM! He will not let you down; His promise it to give you abundant life in Him (John 10:10)!

    For the fear, a very practical guide to handling fear and overcoming it is Linda Dillow's book "Calm My Anxious Heart." I pray you can find peace through its pages as you learn to trust in Him for all things!

    I have prayed for you today. God bless you.
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm
  30. Thank you for this simple but important reminder. I'd always felt torn between loving someone and then thinking that I was to protect my heart against hurt as per the scripture. Looking at it like this is freeing, thank you.
    annyonline.com
    posted by Anny
    on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:39 am
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