So the Bible, in Proverbs 4:23, tells us to guard our hearts, for “it is the wellspring of life” (NIV). This is an awesome verse, and it is super important for us to be careful what goes into our hearts. I know that what I watch on TV, listen to on the Radio, and read during my free time soaks into my mind. Probably because we live in a media-saturated generation, and probably because I am an extremely verbal person, what goes into my mind severely affects my heart. I can’t read several books in a row with explicit language without that language coming into my mind when annoying things happen. I can’t listen to an entire Evanescence album, no matter how much I like their sound, without getting depressed. What we put in affects us.
This verse has been applied to dating relationships more and more lately, though, and that trend is starting to worry me. Should we be careful of who we let into our hearts? Yes! We just did a great series at church about the power of friendship and the importance of being wise in who we ally with. Your heart is important! We need to be wise and guard against things or people who will turn us away from God and his will for our lives.
We as Christians have gotten a little obsessed with guarding our hearts. Who has seen this image on Pinterest? Or Instagram? Or Tumblr?
Honestly, this picture scares me a bit. Rather than seeing a heart protected from harm, I see a heart that cannot be opened to new friends, to new love, or to new revelation from God. It reminds me of a J.K. Rowling Tale about a man who hides his heart in a treasure chest so it can never to hurt, only to find it hard and useless when he wants to love. And it makes me so sad!
The Bible, with constant admonishment to be wise in what we take into our hearts, also warns us against hardening our hearts, where we no longer heed God’s words and we have no love for our fellow man. If we over-guard our hearts, we close ourselves off to love, which is not what God wants us to do at all! (for more of those thoughts, check out Emily Maynard here).
Perhaps the image would better illustrate what God wants if the heart had a shield or clearly removable armor rather than being entirely sealed. Or if it had other hearts around it, because we are supposed to love and protect our friends right?
So what do you think it means to guard your heart?