“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23 NIV
I see a knight of the round table, adorned with chain and iron, helmeted, and sword in hand. He’s stationed at the entrance of my heart. Trespassers be warned, you are not welcome.
In these days of rioting, injustice, and fear-mongering, our hearts are under siege. The enemy of our souls has a fierce array of soldiers ready to plunder that which Jesus has rooted and planted inside us as His Bride.
“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Are the gates of our hearts guarded from the impending attacks?
To live in the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice and redemption, it is imperative that we guard our hearts. Because as the proverb above reminds us, everything flows from there.
Everything. Our joy. Our hope. Our peace. Our strength to stand in the midst of heart-ache and attack.
So what does guarding our hearts really look like?
Let’s continue the metaphor of the stationed knight, and also expand on it with Paul’s reference to the Armor of God in the final verses of Ephesians 6. The exhortation in Proverbs is that we are the guards of our hearts. And in Ephesians, we are the ones implored to be clad with the Armor of God.
An effectively armored knight will excel in his duties.
To stand firm and forceful at the gate of our hearts, then, we need to be belted with the truth and covered with the breastplate of righteousness. Truth is a precious commodity these days.
Smudges of truth, prettied by cultural conformity, is often easier to come by. Preferred, even.
But to guard our hearts, our intentionality needs to be set in Truth, secured by the righteousness that comes from Christ alone. This is implied with our helmet of salvation, too. Our minds are settled in our status as the Redeemed Bride of Christ, which means an avid dispelling of lies that would arouse doubts or questions.
Our feet are fitted by the readiness of the gospel of peace…a lovely way of saying that ultimately, we know who the real enemy is. Not our fellow brother. So love each other, serve, and turn the other cheek, knowing that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross has not excluded anyone while we live under the Covenant of Grace.
An attitude of love toward our fellow man, rather than wrath and contempt, will ultimately keep our hearts guarded from the sin that can quickly spill over from anger’s roots.
Our knight also needs the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. His defense and offense for the moments when the battle gets real…
Our faith is our firm foundation, built on knowing the Truth of the Word of God. To adequately guard our hearts, shielding its gates from the arrows of storming troopers, our faith needs to be rock solid. Developed. It gets our attention, more than the distraction of internet or television. (wink wink)
Our shield of faith ultimately blocks the blows so that we can wield our sword of the spirit, the Word of God. How can we wield the sword? By knowing the Word! How can we know it? By spending time in it!
We won’t have our hearts properly guarded if we aren’t spending time in the Word.
Is the world distracting us with its news of chaos and uproar, and virus case-counting?
It’s time to get our knight properly suited up so he can stand guard well.
Only then will we see victory this side of heaven.
Only then can we live from a place of fullness of joy, truly alive and free, despite the circumstances of growing strife around us.