Guarding Your Heart Against Unwanted Invaders

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Driving past the lake one cold, wintry morning, I noticed a sign placed at its edge: Stay Off Ice. I thought how tempting it would be for children to venture onto the ice, longing for an exciting winter experience: I hope they see and obey that sign; they won’t be able to tell from the look of the lake if the ice is dangerously thin or not!

My thoughts then turned, however, to the necessity and benefit of signs and boundaries in general, especially as laid out for us in the Word of God as it relates to our relationship with God. Whether to keep us off of winter’s “thin ice” - that which is life-threatening - or to keep us from summer’s “lush grass” - where ease and laziness can set in - boundaries are always for our good and our benefit, whether we can discern the danger ahead or not.

But have you considered another type of boundary, one not imposed from without but rather from within; the one that we are to erect? Arguably the most important one of all? The one not placed around a frozen lake but rather around our hearts?

Proverbs 4:23 tells us that above all else, we must guard our hearts. We are to watch over our hearts, guarding against dangers from without and temptations from within.

I am reminded of a declaration made by David in Psalm 55:9-10, where we read that the “real danger” is what’s happening within: within a nation, a city, or a single heart.

However well the wall is patrolled, it does little good if the city is overrun by wickedness.

Likewise, however many boundaries and “Stay Off Ice” signs I erect or adhere to in my life, if they only address outward behavior, my heart will be vulnerable to attacks and susceptible to temptations, and great will be my downfall.

While external boundaries are prudent and necessary, we must not neglect the guarding of our hearts, minds and emotions. This is where the battle will ultimately be won.

What does this look like, practically speaking? Over the next five days, let us consider the acronym

G-U-A-R-D.