“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”(Prov. 4:23). That sounds really profound. But is it practical? How do you “guard your heart?” Read a little further (vs. 24-27) and you will see that you must guard your mouth, guard your eyes, guard your steps, and guard your direction.
Guard your mouth: “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” What we say affects more than the hearer. Our words also feed our hearts. It’s a cyclical affect – what comes out of my mouth comes from my heart and goes back into my heart again. David said it this way, “He wore cursing as his garment; it entered his body like water, into his bones like oil” (Psalm 109:18).
Guard your eyes: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you” – watch what you’re looking at, listening to, and absorbing into your heart. And I don’t just mean avoid looking at inappropriate stuff like pornography – I’m also talking about looking at things that just dull our spirits. Are those memes and goofy videos helping you grow more Christlike?
Guard your steps: “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” The world is full of curbs and potholes and ditches that can easily trip us up and Satan is always planting landmines in our path. We need to pay careful attention to where we set our feet – make sure the way is firm and free of danger.
Guard your direction: “Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” – keep going in the right direction. How do we know for sure what is the right way? God has given us His Word and His Spirit. By storing up God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), meditating on the Scriptures (Psalm 19:14), continually, intentionally seeking God with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13), keeping in step with the Spirit (Romans 8:5), and staying in community with fellow believers (Hebrews 10:25), we can stay on the good way.
Guard your heart well, Beloved, and you will guard your life.