Guard My Heart

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
The other day I wrote about being refreshed by God’s unfailing love, and in that post I decided to focus on doing ten things this week that bring me joy. So I posed the question to my friends on social media, “What are 10 things that bring you joy when you do them?”
Their answers varied, although every list had one special thing in common that my friends said brings them joy. Essentially, it is doing something for others that in turn brings them joy. Whether it is family game night, baking with our kids, volunteering in the classroom, serving in the nursery, or surprising a friend with a gift on their doorstep, the fullest way to bring joy into our lives is to bring it to others.
I thought about how that idea had made its way onto everyone’s lists. Bringing joy to others. And I thought about how easy it is to actually do the opposite. Don’t we often tend toward doing the thing that feels good to us? Isn’t it human nature to do what is good for us sometimes at the expense of others?
Sometimes it feel easier to guard ourselves against others because we want to protect ourselves. Maybe for fear of being hurt, rejected, or taken advantage of. I read this quote recently: “Being afraid of wounds from other people might cause us to forfeit the capacity to love.” (Read it here
But when we are guarded we unknowingly shut out the very people God has sent to show us his love. Instead of guarding our hearts against evil, we erect walls around ourselves, making enemies of those whom God intends for usto love.
Yet, in my friends’ responses I was seeing the proof that joy is manifest in our lives when we open ourselves up to others. God never designed us to keep his love to ourselves. Love is relational, it must be shared. So when we live by God’s design in sharing love, then we fulfill the law of Christ (see Gal 6:2).
Guarding your heart means you give over your worries and cares to God and receive his peace (Phil 4:7). It means you put on your spiritual armor against evil that tries to steal your faith and joy (Eph 6:16). Guard your heart against the things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God’s love: like pride, self-pity, worry, or mistrust. Guard your heart because it belongs to Christ.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for more authentic relationships, no guards up. Are you ready to tear down the walls that keep you from receiving true joy and love? Let’s be willing to be honest and vulnerable, open to listen and receive others. When we do we give ourselves the opportunity to give love and joy in return.

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