Guarding Our Hearts

Guarding Our Hearts

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. —Proverbs 4:23

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace . . .which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6–7

I like to connect the verse from Proverbs with Paul’s words to the Philippians. We read that God tells us to guard our hearts—to watch over them carefully. But what does that really mean? It means to be alert or watchful about the ways of the enemy. It’s easy to become careless about guarding our hearts and being alert to Satan’s subtle tactics when things are going our way and God is pouring out His blessings on our lives.

All of us face struggles from time to time, but when we diligently stand guard over our hearts, we become more aware that God’s plan is for us to overcome.

Instead of using the word guard, I like to think of it this way: We need to post a sentinel around our hearts or, as it says above, “garrison and mount guard.” Think of what a guard or sentinel does—he’s on duty. He watches for the enemy to attack. He’s not just ready; he’s actively watchful and prepared to resist all attacks from the enemy.

That’s how we need to live—with a trustworthy sentinel. It doesn’t mean we live in fear or constantly have to check to see if the devil is sneaking around. Think of it more as posting a sentinel to do that for us.

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What kind of sentinel do we need? I think of the two most obvious ones: prayer and the Word of God. If we pray for God’s Holy Spirit to guard our hearts, He will honor that request. When the enemy creeps up, the sentinel calls out, “Thus saith the Lord,” and the enemy flees. (The devil really is a coward and won’t openly fight us.)

 

Read Paul’s words again. If we push away our anxieties (which we do by prayer and supplication) and fill our heart with thanksgiving, God’s peace stands guard over us. God helps us resist any charge of the enemy.

We also must not minimize thanksgiving. That’s such a simple way to keep ourselves alert to Satan’s devices. As we give thanks to God through our words and our songs, we are guarding our hearts. As the old hymn says: “Count your blessings—­name them one by one; count your many blessings—see what God has done.”

It’s more than just singing a few words, however—it is actually pausing on purpose to remember all the good things that God has done in our lives. As we rejoice over past blessings, we open ourselves to more blessings in the future.

Another ally we sometimes overlook is other believers. When we’re aware of our weaknesses, we can agree in prayer with other believers. We can ask them to pray specifically that we won’t be misled or attacked by the enemy when we’re not as alert as we should be. Other believers can intercede for us—just as we can for them. What better guards can we post than those who cry out to God on behalf of others? The devil doesn’t like hearing such prayers.

Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me be alert against any attack of the enemy by posting the sentinels of prayer and Your Word at the door of my heart. I praise You for showing me how to guard my heart, and pray that I will have a continuously thankful heart. Amen.

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