We all value something. Some things we value and some things we aspire to value. What’s the difference? The difference is how we guard what we say we value. For example, one might say that he values prayer while never putting aside the time to do so. This is an aspired value. What we value, we guard. When we pay for insurance for our belongings, we are backing up the claim that we value our stuff. When we set aside time and invest in communicating with God, we back up the claim that prayer is valuable to us.
What’s Important to You?
So what do you value? Do your actions reflect the things you say or think that you value? Scripture cries out for us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:20-27. This is such an important passage that can shape our future and cause us to become more Christlike…if we allow it to.
Proverbs 4:20-27 sets the foundation for us to live a God-centered life by showing us the loyal guards of our heart: eyes, ears, mind, mouth, and feet. Our hearts are safe as long as our guards hold the line, but it’s our responsibility to train and nourish these guards. If we are to live a God-centered life, these guards must work together to hold the line. One crack in our defense is an opportunity for the enemy to get in and we must realize that our enemy is real and out to get us. But a united front doesn’t allow the enemy in. And a united front advances the kingdom it fights for.
The Placement of Our Guards
These guards are placed strategically and should only allow the good in.
Ears: Ours ears let in the noise of this world. Information, entertainment, and conversation all enter our soul through this guard. Romans 10:17 makes it clear that hearing is key to our faith. In a world of noise, we need to train our guard to filter out the noise of tv, social media, modern cities, abundant music, and corrupt speech. We must nourish this guard by hearing the Word of God and the sounds of Heaven in communication with God (prayer).
Eyes: As our ears let in the noise, so our eyes let in the light. In an increasingly visual world, we must take the initiative to train this guard with diligence. To not train a guard is to malnourish it and weaken our heart’s defense. Matthew 6:22 shows us the extraordinary impact of our eyes on our soul. When we let in the light, our body is full of goodness. When we allow the darkness in our body is full of darkness.
So what are you looking at? When you lose perspective, pause and look up. Train your eyes to get God’s perspective and let in the good.
Mind: The mind is powerful. We are constantly thinking, planning, scheming, etc. What we think about has tremendous impact on our emotions and actions. Paul, seeing the importance of the mind, wrote in Philippians 4:12 to think on what is good. Train this guard to know what is good and what is unacceptable. Again, Paul speaks to this issue in 2 Corinthians 10:5, urging us to take every thought captive, allowing the good and banning the bad.
Mouth: The mouth is an exit for the overflow of our hearts. What our guards let in determine the contents of our heart. And the mouth naturally speaks what the heart contains. We read in Luke 6:45 that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. When we begin to intentionally listen to our own words, we can see how well our guards are guarding our heart. This is crucial because our words sow seeds, lifting up or tearing down the lives of those they touch.
Feet: The feet set up the other guards. In tennis and golf, a good shot is not completely based on your swing. The placement of your feet is crucial to make a good shot. The feet also determine the direction. In John 14:6 we see that we must intentionally head toward Jesus in order to stay loyal. If not, we set up our other guards to fail.
Hold the Line
There’s a great line from the move Gladiator that we must learn. When Maximus is leading his troops to battle, he commands them to “Hold the line!” In others words: do your part, work together, don’t let the enemy through. This is exactly what we need to tell our guards! Hold the line! Stay in formation!
Train Your Guards
- Check your heart. Do you check your heart as much as you check your smart phone? Make a habit to check your heart when you check your phone.
- Let the Holy Spirit show you a bad habit and replacement. Take time for this. Listen and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
- Pick up your weapon: The Word!