Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Here’s how life works: You choose what influences you’ll let into your heart. Then what’s in your heart determines the course of your life. If you expose yourself to influences that cultivate greed and materialism in your heart – your heart will set a course to pursue those things.
This past week Ally, our oldest, got sick. So we quarantined her from the rest of the family. We knew that if she got around the rest of us, then what was in her was going to get in us. We had to guard ourselves from Ally.
In the same way – we have to guard our heart’s from being influenced by the values of this world. 1 John 2:15-16 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
I think the best way to guard our heart is to be selective with the TV shows we watch. The average American watches TV four hours a day. If what you’re watching fills your heart with greed, materialism and a desire to keep up with the Joneses – your heart will set a course to pursue all the wrong things. For example, I know a couple that rented a huge house in the nicest community around. They wore name brand clothing and drove a brand new $30,000 vehicle. You would’ve thought they were rich. But it was all a facade. The house was rented and their parents were making the car payments. Why would someone do this? They let culture influence their heart – then their heart set the course of their life.
Now it’s very important that while guarding your heart from the wrong influences, you expose it to the right influences. Every time you read your Bible, you’ll be influenced to develop meaningful relationships (with God and with other people). My pipes burst this past week. So I took out all the bad piping. But I didn’t just take out the bad, I replaced the bad piping with good piping (with the help of my brother). That’s what we need to do with what influences our heart (take out the bad, replace it with good). This is how we guard our heart.