"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23
More difficult than guarding your finances, more difficult than guarding your home, more difficult than guarding your health, is guarding and protecting your heart.
It's as if everything else takes a backseat. If this isn't handled properly and executed with consistent accuracy than destruction awaits.
The Christian life is filled with testing and trial and this should not surprise us (I John 3:13, I Peter 4:12) and at the core of every battle is the heart. The heart is the seat of the affections and the affections are given to what we prize and treasure the most. Now this makes this command daunting and seeming impossible, doesn't it? "Guard your heart!" In a world that cries out for our worship how do we protect the vital furnace that burns within? Sex, money, family, toys, status, sports, ego, entertainment, food, fashion, self, even religion, compete to steal away our hearts affections that that belong to our Father.
This task is paramount. All other facets of the Christian life flow from this and if this is not attended too then we will make shipwreck of our lives. Without guarding our hearts and nourishing them, all our good deeds, even if done in the name of Christ, are worth nothing. Without guarding the motives and affections of the heart, the "why within us", we will find that our church attendance, reading, missionary work, preaching are all rejected by God, because the source is corrupt. If the "why" is wrong then the "what" does not matter.
Then how do we guard the heart? How do we fuel the fires of our affections for God and see our lives transformed daily to the image of Christ? We must daily go back to the place where it all began. Look to Christ. Daily we must "see" Him afresh, reminding ourselves of the great treasure that we have in Him! One glance, one look and all the world fades in it's supposed "glory". We guard the heart, not by simply abstaining and resisting, but by embracing and filling it with the One true source of life. Psalm 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
It is easier to guard a city than to guard the heart. It is easier to guard our wealth and health than to protect the heart. Just as saving faith and salvation are initiated, given and brought to fruition by the unmerited grace of God, so it is with guarding the heart.
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26