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Guard Your Heart = Don’t Flirt?

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

For years  I have heard women during a chick-flick cover their eyes and say, “Guard your hearts ladies!” Or when a girl has a guy friend or a crush she may say, “I’m scared to talk about X because I want to ‘guard my heart.'” And even though I don’t think that is wrong to say – I’ve often felt that Proverbs 4:23 goes way past emotional purity with the opposite sex. I’m sure that’s not a unique assumption, but I have never heard this verse used outside the context of lust and emotionally connecting with the opposite sex.

I battled with this verse a lot while dating Danny. We dated for over a year before we got engaged and I could not understand how to “guard my heart” with a man who was not my husband and yet was naturally learning the more intimate parts of my life. I asked myself, “How can you date someone for a long time and still guard your heart? And more so, do only the unmarried people need to guard their heart? What am I guarding my heart from or for?”

I think it is best to first address what you should be keeping your heart for. I enjoy how the ESV translates this verse,

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Our heart is the center of our being; its our core. And according to this verse everything we do flows from this core part of who we are. So, when we guard our heart we are guarding the center of who we are, but we are also protecting what flows out of us – life. Another reference to this is in Proverbs 14: 27 which states,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

This verse states that a spring or fountain of life is to actually fear God. So, the reverence and awe of the LORD comes from one’s heart and therefore the heart must be protected. The Bible is showing a link and correlation between the condition of one’s heart and their life, which for the Christian is their worship of God. So, your heart is being protected for the sake of you fearing the LORD.

Now, what must we protect our hearts from? What would harm our reverence to our God? Well, anything that steals our reverence to God is some sort of idol (Hosea 2:13, Romans 1:25, etc). The terms “guard” and “with vigilance” are insisting an effort is being made. One will not fear the LORD on accident – it is a result of protecting one’s center from lesser loves.

Although flirting is probably a result of not guarding one’s heart, this verse can be applied to far more in life. Why is being too emotionally attached to someone unwise? It can steal your reverence to God. Guarding my heart didn’t mean not to share personal matters with Danny; it meant to enjoy Danny, but to worship God.  I think this verse is primarily cautioning us to protect ourselves from idols, because the more that our heart is invested in idols the less inclined we are to fear the LORD. More so, if our heart is enthralled with God everything we do will flow from our worship.

Categories: Bible, Relationships Tags: , ,