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by Cam Huxford IV
Guard Your Heart
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. - Proverbs 4:23
When I was 10 years old, I almost died. A very serious viral infection constricted my heart and left permanent scar tissue. When I was an even younger girl, my heart was damaged in a different way; early childhood sexual abuse left me scared, alone, and ashamed. The resulting scars left their mark also.
Our hearts are a precious organ. There is a physical and spiritual component that simultaneously make it the very center of our life. Hearts are easily damaged, crushed, and broken. From our own experiences of heartache, we make vows that our hearts will never be hurt again.
We try as little kids to protect our hearts from fear of the dark. We try as singles to protect our hearts against letting someone break it. We try as spouses to protect our hearts against worshipping our husband or wife.
We try, with all our might, to shield ourselves from pain. We control, manipulate, protect, and build walls to keep hurt or sin at bay. If we could just be more careful, aware or diligent, we could guard our own heart against both sin and Satan...
The reality is, we will have no more success in protecting our hearts in a spiritual sense than I did to control the infection of my physical heart. We are helpless to protect our own hearts.
The Best Offense Is a God Defense
Paradoxically, what we must do is hide. Sheltered in the shadow of the Cross, we find true and ultimate protection for our hearts. Immersed in the righteousness of Christ, we find covering for our sin and new identity as his precious children.
- God is our Physician: he heals our wounds in his perfect timing.
- God is our Protector: he is the defender of our identity and our purity.
- God is our Redeemer: he forgives us of our sin and transforms the ugliness of ash into the beauty of redemption.
Training Our Heart
Once we relinquish control and humbly trust God for protection, we have a responsibility to train our hearts. Just as aerobic exercise is healthy and wise for the physical functioning of our ticker, so spiritual disciplines strengthens our spiritual heart for life and godliness. Keeping our hearts with vigilance means we:
- Let God define us; no relationship should define a person more so than his or her relationship with the Savior.
- Fear him; one who fears the Lord has his heart in the most precious and safe place there is
- Fight lies; believe truth.
No, you are not abandoned by God. No, your sin is not too much for him. Yes, he loves you even though you’ve been sinned against and have sinned grievously. Yes, he forgives you and will redeem you as his child.
Know God's promises to you in Scripture; he is the ultimate Keeper of your heart.