How do you guard your heart?
Last Sunday, my Pastor preached from a verse in Proverbs that compares the heart to a spring: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life” (Prov. 4:4). He told us that this advice would have made sense to the readers in King Solomon’s day, because they knew the importance of a spring. Water meant life, and springs were guarded, protected, “watched over.” We are told to guard our hearts in the same way, to protect them diligently from anything that would pollute them, corrupt them, or cause them to turn from their devotion to God.
I carried that thought onto my Sabbath hike that afternoon (the pictures are from that hike, in beautiful Malibu Creek State Park), and came to the realization that one of the best ways to guard my heart is to keep it full. When my heart is full and overflowing with enthusiasm for God, excitement about my place in His family, awe of His love for me and my freedom to love Him back, it’s less vulnerable to being turned away to lesser pursuits. On the other hand, when my walk with Him is dry and boring and my heart feels empty, I’m more likely to try to fill it with “stuff” that pulls me away from Him.
I had back surgery many years ago in a special operating room that had a laminar air flow system. It created a high-pressure zone of pure air in the room. Air would flow out rather than in when a door opened, pushing harmful bacteria away from the patient and keeping the operating theatre free of contamination. As the patient, I appreciated that. 🙂
We need to create a kind of high-pressure system in our hearts, so they are full and overflowing, pushing contaminants away. We need to be so in love with God, so excited about Him, so eager to get to know Him better, that everything else pales in comparison and seems foolish. We need to “take delight in the Lord” so that He will make us “ride upon the heights of the earth” (Isaiah 58:14).
I’ve found that Sabbath-keeping fills my heart and delights me in ways nothing else ever has. I’m walking “the ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) and loving it! But I’m not overly concerned with the “how” – there are lots of ways to keep your walk with God fresh and exciting, and you may have a couple of them coming to your mind as you read this paragraph. I’m praying that for you as I write.
My Nike-inspired point is this: whatever fills your heart with love for God, excitement for His mission, contentment with your role in His plan….JUST DO IT! Do it often. Do it regularly. Do it lavishly and with pizzazz! Protect it, cherish it, commit to it. Don’t let “stuff” crowd it out. Don’t do it only when you have time for it – MAKE the time for it.
Keep your heart full, because those “springs of life” are worth protecting.