Guarding my heart

Years ago, Solomon wrote: “Guard your heart above all else,  for it determines the course of your life.”

There is a lot of wisdom in this verse in Proverbs 4, although Solomon wasn’t very good at practicing what he preached.

I think most of us would agree with it. Yet, like Solomon, we often don’t obey this good counsel.

As I look back at my decisions – some of them as recent as yesterday – I can see I let down my guard quite often.  Quite often, my wrong decisions flowed from a deliberate decision to ignore what God clearly wanted me to do.

What does it mean to guard my heart?  I think it means resisting temptation and allowing God free rein in my mind, will and heart.

Am I able to guard my heart on my own?  In my experience, the answer is no.  I am more than willing to let my guard down when God asks me to do something I feel will cost me something.

But I realize more and more that I am not helpless.

I can say “Yes” to what God wants me to do and rely on him to give me the strength to do it.  I do have experience in saying “Yes” as well as “No”.

Amazingly, I do feel a settled sense of joy when I say “Yes”.

So, why do I go back to saying “No”?

One reason is that I allow my mind to go to sleep.  I forget the benefits that God has given me when I say “Yes”.  I let my guard down and I think only of the benefits – often illusory – that I will get from saying “No.”

In several places in the Bible, we are told to be alert.  That is my job.  God’s job is to help me out when I turn to him for strength.

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