Many of us have studied, read and committed to memory Proverbs 4:23 KJV…
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Many translations say “guard”, “keep and guard”, and some variation of the two words. In the greek ‘keep’ is translated as ‘natsar‘ meaning to guard, watch, watch over, keep, to preserve, guard from dangers, observe, guard with fidelity, keep secure, to be kept close, be blockaded, and watchman. Now that is a huge difference from how I know many interpret that scripture to mean. Many times we think that guard means to keep on lock down somewhat like the picture below.
Well the huge misconception is that we must lock our hearts down not allowing people to enter and more importantly not allowing God to totally renovate our hearts so that they reflect His. When we take another look at the definition and true meaning of the word, we see that it merely means to protect. When we protect something we’re keeping a watchful eye allowing the good to enter and prohibiting the bad from entering. Increasingly we can get so caught up and not realize that our form of “guarding” has turned into a full on prison for our hearts.
I know that I have personally been guilty of this type of “guarding” and I have missed out on some great opportunities to get to know some great people. I thought that if I “guarded” my heart really good I could keep people from hurting me but that wasn’t working so well because I wasn’t allowing anyone good to enter out of fear. Fear of rejection, hurt and pain had me so paralyzed that I resisted opportunities out of the fear of being vulnerable. Do we have to allow people to hurt us? No. Will it happen. Absolutely, because people aren’t perfect and they mess up. What we must distinguish is if these are good people making a mistake or people who really are toxic for us and the well-being of our hearts.
We must protect our hearts from all possible danger. Just like a guard stands at the front of a castle to monitor who enters, we must do the same by thoroughly checking out people and things searching for weapons (hateful words, seeds of doubt, seeds of unbelief, temptation, pride, greed, lust, lies, etc.) and making sure those things aren’t permitted to enter.
Entering into relationships with people can be very stressful if we allow them to be. We can remember and be holding on to past hurt and that can ultimately make our hearts toxic and until we release the hurt and pain from the past we cannot move on into new relationships in the future.
Also consider that in order for God to create a new heart in us and purify our hearts we must give Him access! Inviting Christ into our lives is purely voluntary and it’s a decision we must make in order for the true renovation process to take place. After all we have much work that needs to take place in order to reflect His heart!
Scriptures to meditate on:
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
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.