I once made the mistake of running a pair of my son’s pants through the washer and dryer with several other articles of clothing. The problem? Rather than zips or snaps or buttons, the fly of these pants closed with a Velcro strip. Because I failed to protect the rest of my laundry by closing the Velcro flap, I ruined a silk blouse, a pair of pantyhose, and several other articles of clothing while peeling them from the Velcro’s fierce grip.
Our hearts can be just like that Velcro strip. If we leave them unprotected, we make it easy for our hearts to latch on to everyone we are attracted to. Because of this, it is not enough for women to guard just our minds against sexual temptation. We also need to guard our hearts against inappropriate or forbidden relationships.
While the need to love and to feel loved is a universal cry of the heart, the problem lies in where we look for this love. If we are not getting the love we need or want from a man-whether or not we have a husband-we may go searching for it. Some look in bars and others in business offices. Some look on college campuses and some look in churches. Some women look to male friends while others look to fantasy. When love eludes them, some women seek to medicate the pain of loneliness or rejection: Some take solace in food; others in sexual relationships with any willing partner. Some turn to soap operas; others to shopping; and still others to self-gratification.
If you have tried any of these avenues for long, you have likely come to a dead end. Your pursuit has left you longing for something greater, something deeper, something more. If this has been your story, I have good news for you. God has a better way. You can seek loving, healthy relationships and guard your heart at the same time.
God told us to guard our hearts above all else-above our lives, our faith, our marriage, our pocketbook, our dreams, or whatever else we hold dear. In Proverbs He tells us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (4:23). Why is it so important to God that we guard our hearts?
I believe the answer is in the word wellspring, which can also be interpreted as “source.” The heart is the source of life. When God created us, He made our hearts central to our being — physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Physically, the heart is at the center of your circulatory system. It pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body. If there is trouble inside your heart, your entire body is in danger of losing its life-giving flow of blood.
Spiritually, your heart is the place the Holy Spirit dwells when you invite Him into your life (Ephesians 3:16-17). You receive salvation through not just head knowledge of God, but through belief in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
Emotionally, your heart leaps for joy when you find delight in something or someone. It also aches when you experience disappointment with or loss of something or someone special.
The heart is literally and figuratively the core of all you are and all you experience in life, so when God says to guard it above all else, He is saying, “Protect the source of your life — the physical, spiritual, and emotional source of your well-being.”