Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Everything we do, everything we say, our actions, and our thoughts flow from the heart.
Through medical science we know the physical heart is a 4 chamber organ that pumps life sustaining blood to all parts of the body, nourishing every living cell. Though some people have been called “heartless”, we cannot actually live without a heart. It is the life source of the human body.
Because this organ keeps all other parts of our body generated, we must put the utmost importance into protecting it. You can scarcely watch the news or pick up a newspaper without seeing an article on exercising, cutting your cholesterol, and lowering your fat intake. Fatty foods (the good tasting stuff) will harm the heart and surrounding arteries, leading to other diseases in the body.
We power walk, we jog, we bike, play tennis, and swim, to keep this vital muscle in optimal shape. Makes good sense doesn’t it?
With all the yummy food temptations (nachos with cheese, chocolate cake and ice cream just to mention a few of my personal favorites) out there it is sometimes hard to make healthy food choices. In “matters” of the heart, it comes down to a “matter” of discipline; choosing what we know is good for us verses what we know is harmful.
For the most part we know when we have made a poor choice. Oh, we’re aware when we’re downing something “sinful“. But are we equally mindful as to what we feed our spiritual heart?
For centuries the heart has been said to be the seat of our thoughts and emotions…”for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs4:23)
Did you ever wonder why your mom didn’t want you to watch a scary movie before you went to bed? Or why your parents were so bothered by the music you listened to, or the friends you hung out with? So far as that goes aren’t you giving the same warnings to your kids? We monitor what our children see and hear because we know it affects how they think, feel and act. Shouldn’t we be monitoring ourselves for the same reasons?
Just like the kind of food you feed your body affects your physical heart, the thoughts and pictures you feed your brain changes the way you think and feel (your spiritual heart) and therefore has an effect on the way you act.
Do you remember the song we all sang as kids? “Be careful little eyes what you see…be careful little ears what you hear….I’m saying, be careful “big” eyes and “big” ears. When God said we should guard our hearts, He wasn’t just referring to little children.
Oh I see, because you are an adult now you think you are immune to the negatives out there. Yeah right, you can handle it. The bad language, gossip, brutality and violence …doesn’t impact you. You are all grown up and you’re TOUGH. You can block it out. I’m hear to tell you that if this is your mode of thinking, you are sadly mistaken. Your brain is like a computer. It is storing everything you input by way of what you see, feel, touch, taste and hear. What you feed your senses is constantly making an impact on your mind and heart.
New research shows that having a relationship with a negative person greatly increases the inflammatory process in the body which we all know can lead to pain and disease. There is no mistaking, God created us with a mind/body connection and He clearly cautions us in His Word. Proverbs 14:30 says, A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones. (NIV)
Take this five day Guard Your Heart challenge and see what kind of difference it will make in your life.
For the next five days, don’t allow yourself to watch anything violent or negative on the television (I know that just means turn the tv off and you may have to).
Be in tune to the people you are with and whether they are negative or positive. See if you can turn a negative conversation into a positive one. Limit your time with naysayers. This will be a fun challenge!
Start and end your day with thankfulness.Write out 10 things you are thankful for and give thanks to God before you go to bed and when you rise in the morning. I hope you think of more than 10 things to write down.
Read something inspirational before you retire in the evening. I bet you’ll sleep better and wake up happier.
Carve out 10-30 minutes a day just to pray or relax and meditate on what is good and true, noble and right.
Take an inventory of what you are saying to yourself. Don’t be your own “Debbie or Dougie” downer. After all, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139)
Write a scripture verse on a 3×5 card and keep it with you, looking at it and reciting it several times a day. You might even memorize it! That would be an extra bonus.
After five days, I guarantee you will be smiling more (an overflow of what you have been feeding your heart).
I know it is impossible to avoid every negative situation just as you can’t avoid every poor food choice (hot dogs at a ballpark, yummy ) and that’s okay. Look for progress not perfection.
You can start today building a good foundation and taking the Guard Your Heart challenge. It’s not a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of the heart.
If the heart is really the window to your soul-
Then make sure you don’t need to keep the