Proverbs 4:23! I have heard it a thousand AND one times. It says, “Above all else, Guard Your Heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
But what does it mean to Guard Your Heart?
Let’s start with what it does NOT mean. Guarding your heart does NOT mean Closing off your heart. It is NOT the same thing. The Holy Spirit has really been teaching me this lately, and the devil has really been wanting me to get the two confused. You see, I have had my heart closed off for quite a while now while using the excuse that I was “Guarding my Heart.” Sure I would let a guy take me on one, two, maybe three dates. But after that, I would hardcore friend zone them. I normally wouldn’t have a good reason for it other than I was scared to get close to anyone because I was scared they would end up breaking my heart (poor me…like everyone doesn’t go through heart break at some point). I would use the excuse that I don’t want a relationship right now or that I am not ready to be in one at the moment (which was probably actually true)! I find this to be true in not only my life, but many other’s lives as well. It is especially easy for people who have been hurt in a relationship before to do (girls or boys). They are scared to start another relationship in fear that it will end badly as a previous one did. I also find it to be more common in girls as boys have a bad stereotype of being no good cheaters (sorry guys…I’m rooting for you all and really believe there are good guys out there…it’s just not fair…there are no good cheating girls in this world, too)! The devil deceived me by placing this fear in my life that kept me from opening up my heart to anyone. He was so good at it that he made me think I was doing the right thing…”Guarding my Heart.”
Oh, but God! Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to this truth lately! He has been showing me through the very life of Jesus in God’s word that this is not how we were created to live. Just look at Jesus’ twelve disciples! Jesus knew that Judas would betray him with a kiss, but he opened up his heart and shared his life with him. Jesus knew Peter was going to deny him, not one time, not two times, but THREE TIMES, yet he chose him to be one of the men that follow Him for three years of ministry. Jesus knew Thomas would doubt that he was risen and would have to touch his very scars to believe it, but He chose him as one of His disciples and to be one of his closest friends for the next three years. Jesus did not close off his heart in an attempt to avoid being hurt. Jesus knew that Love is worth the risk of being hurt. Let us all follow in Jesus’ footsteps and not close off our hearts. We were made to share our lives with one another (1 Thessalonians 2:8) and to love one another (John 13:34-35)!
So what does Guarding our Hearts look like when it comes to relationships?
First of all, I am no relationship expert and do NOT know the complete answer to this question (no one does)! But through reading God’s word and the wisdom of those who have gone before me, I have been blessed with some very good tips, and here they are:
1. You should never date anyone you wouldn’t consider marrying. Marriage was not created just for two people who have chemistry to live together forever and build a family/home together. God created marriage to be a picture of the gospel. (Read Hosea)! This means that choosing the right person to date/marry can make or break our Christian witness. We shouldn’t just be looking for a good godly girl/guy, but we should be looking for the girl/guy that makes us more like Jesus! When you find someone who makes you more like Jesus when you’re together than when you are alone, you might have just found the person you should consider dating!
2. You should NOT date ANYONE until you’re content with being single. If you are not content with being single, dating can be very dangerous. It makes it really easy for you to make your significant other an idol. Your significant other should NEVER come before Christ. If you start to love them/think about them more than Jesus, it is time to let them go before it is too late. That is how you Guard Your Heart. You have to keep Christ on the throne of your heart. No guy or girl (no matter how amazing) is worthy enough to take that seat (Exodus 20:2)
3. Set boundaries! Even if you think you don’t need to because you and your guy/girl would NEVER cross that line. Just do it. And verbalize them…even if you think it is obvious. I’m not going to pound you too hard on this one because I’m sure you get it from your grandmas already. Just remember, the Bible says to flee from Temptation and youthful lusts…not to see how close you can get to that line without crossing it (2 Timothy 2:22). Be Holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16)!
“Follow your heart!” The world says.
“Your heart is more deceitful than all else!” The Word says. (Jeremiah 17:9)
Guarding Your Heart is VERY important. But as seen above, it is important to go by what The Word says and not what The World says. We shouldn’t always follow our heart. It can be deceitful. That is why God tells us to Guard Our Heart. Instead, follow the Spirit. Let Him lead you to the right person at the right time. Don’t rush into things. Be prayerful in all things!