Guarding our heart on a daily basis should be our number one priority. When I say we should “guard our heart” I am not referring to our physical heart but to our spiritual heart. Our spirit ultimately defines who we are. What we watch, what we listen to, and who we interact with has an impact on our spiritual life. Additionally, whether we like to admit it or not, what we say, what we choose to listen to or look at, and what actions we take reflect the state of our heart. Here are some examples from the Bible that show this:
- Mouth – “Evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them” (Matthew 15:18), “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
- Eyes – “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), “If I have strayed from His pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen…” (Job 31:7)
- Other decisions – “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired…” (Romans 1:24).
As Christians, we are told that we should not conform to the world in which we live (Romans 12:2). To elaborate on this Scripture for those who may not be familiar with it, not “conforming to the world” is referring to staying away from what God has deemed sinful or wrong. From personal experience I know what it is like to feel distant, get caught up in the world, and know my heart is not where it should be. But let me reassure everyone, getting our heart back to where it should be can and will happen if we seek after God because it is something God wants for us. Furthermore, we will see the heart change in ourselves and we will know that it is God directing this change.
Throughout the Bible, Scripture tells us that our heart is the well-spring of life and it needs to be protected (Proverbs 4:23). To protect our heart we must hide God’s Word in our heart so we might not sin against Him (Psalms 119:11). Our bodies and hearts are a temple for the Holy Spirit which God has given to us (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we should be aware of what we are doing to the temple.
How do we right our hearts with God? The first thing to do is confess to God that we need to get back on track. Praying that we want to be on the right path and admitting we are not where we want to be is crucial. For when we pray this with our mouths, which reveals our heart’s intentions, God says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). Another thing that will help is cutting down on secular music if we tend to listen to a lot of it. Getting into the habit of tuning into the local Christian station or shuffling our Christian playlist on our phone fills our ears and heart with a Christ-centered message. A Christ-centered message will change our mood and soften our heart. I promise this, a song we need to hear will always play while we are listening. How do I know this? I know this through personal experience and I know this because Scripture tells us that God does not withhold what is good from those who are earnestly seeking Him (Psalms 84:11). Furthermore, if we are struggling with watching something or doing something we should not be, we should put restrictions on ourselves. We can put restrictions on our phones or computers or stop hanging out with a certain group of people to avoid the temptations we may struggle with. If need be, we can and should find another person that we can talk to that can help hold us accountable and help give us advice when tempting situations arise.
Above all else, we have to get back into reading the Bible. The Bible teaches and convicts us at the same time. We will learn something new from it and it will show us where we are not living up to God’s standards. If we read God’s Word and do so on a consistent basis it keeps our heart in check and it makes our struggles easier to handle as we are comforted by God’s promises and commands.