Misapplying “Guard Your Heart”

{Well, this is the post that I worked on all Monday afternoon and it disappeared somewhere into the big cloud in the sky.  It of course was much longer than this one.  I can’t remember what I’ve left out.  The digital age is frustrating!}


Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Misapplying “Guard Your Heart

1) Inability to interact with others

I’ve seen this happen several times.  A young man walks up to a young lady and simply says “Hello“.  The young lady ignores the young man and walks away.  She is “guarding her heart“!  That “Lady in Waiting” maybe be waiting a long, long time.

2) Fear of being hurt

Most of the people I’m around today see children as a blessing.  However, when I was younger and working outside the home I did hear women express the idea that they didn’t want children because they couldn’t bear it if their children were to go astray or to cause them too much emotional pain.

Others use the concept of “guarding their heart” to keep from being vulnerable and open with friends and family.  Now, of course, you shouldn’t share everything with everyone (Proverbs 11:13), but being reluctant to be open in close relationships is a selfish self-protective misuse of this verse. We should never just “look out for #1” while in a relationship.

This also doesn’t mean that there aren’t boundaries in our vulnerability with others.  Boundaries are important and should be developed according to the particular relationship.  Two friends will have a different sort of boundary than a courting couple.  Yet courting couples will have different boundaries than a married couple.  In a marriage there should be very few boundaries.

Love hurts at times.  Think about Christ and His love for His Bride, the Church.  Christ’s love cost Him dearly, yet aren’t we glad He loved us?  Love does hurt, but it is well worth the pain it can cause.  We are not to build a wall around our hearts so high that we cannot let anyone in.

3)  Negating emotions as unimportant

This is a very tough concept to explain.  No one ever should be ruled by their emotions. Emotions can be very dangerous.  Since the Fall our emotions often want to run away with us and lead us into sin.  Our emotions reveal our hearts.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

However, emotions are real and must be evaluated according to Scripture.  The Lord gave us emotions to reveal to us some of His character.  Only God loves purely, hates without sin, is kind without selfishness, jealous from a pure heart, etc.  We, as believers, are to keep directing our emotions into more and more Christ likeness.  Even Paul was jealous for the Corinthian believers to remain sincere and pure to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2-3 (ESV)

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Mr. Spock may be very logical but emotions are still important to understanding one another.  The Lord does not want us to live our lives purely on logic and clinical analysis of our emotions.  He gives us guidelines in the Bible in how to hold our emotions in check and yet display Christ likeness.  Empathy, an emotion, is necessary to understanding fellow believers.  The fruits of the Spirit are emotions that believers display through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Guarding our hearts” does not mean emotions have no value in how we live or what we do in the future.  “Guarding our hearts” means we make sure that sin does not sway us into sinful emotions.


Guard Your Heart series


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