What Does “Guarding Your Heart” Mean?

Proverbs 4:23
“Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life.”

Guard your heart.

That is one phrase I have heard so many times in my life yet haven’t really fully understood. I mean, I knew I was supposed to guard my heart for my future, especially my future husband, but I’ve never really got exactly HOW I was supposed to. What exactly does this passage mean? Yes, I have saved myself for marriage (whenever that may be) and haven’t dated anyone, but does that mean I’ve successfully guarded my heart? What does it look like to actually guard your heart? This verse shows us just how important it is (it determines the course of your life), but how are we supposed to guard our heart when we don’t really know how to?

These questions have been on my mind on and off for the last few years. I’ve rolled around different answers and different thoughts, but each time I never really found a conclusion… until a couple days ago. I was reading through a Bible app on my phone when I came across Psalm 119:9 (ESV).

“How can a young man (woman) keep his (her) way pure?
By guarding it according to Your Word.

I am pretty sure I have read that passage hundreds of times, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that I really got what it said. We guard our hearts according to God’s Word. We hide it deep in our hearts and meditate on it day and night.
(Just a quick side note: I’m not sure we’ll ever fully understand how exactly to guard our hearts. We can do our best to do what Scripture says, but life and mistakes happen. Know it’s okay if you aren’t successful and end up giving your heart away to someone who doesn’t deserve it. With God there is always healing, redemption, and multiple second chances. He is able to create new and and make pieces whole. From here on out there is hope for you. Start here and start new.)

So, what exactly does Scripture say? How exactly do we guard our heart? And can we guard it without completely walling ourselves off?

Well, first of all, know God has your best interest in store for you! He’s not going to ask you to do anything that will give you second best, worsen your life, or cause you any harm. He has the best future for you, the best man for you (and guys the best woman for you), and the best guide book the world has to offer: the Bible. When we know His Word, we know His voice, and when we know His voice we can have a relationship with Him. When we have a relationship with Him, we have a better understanding of His will and can make wise decisions about our life. You will know if He says, “Nah, that’s not him.” or “Just trust me with him, I got this.” or “Yeah, go for it. This is the guy!”

Second, know who you are in Christ. Know your worth, the wealth of your heart, and own it. You are a treasure and a prized possession! You are someone worth waiting for!
I am currently going through this book right now by Christa Black (God Loves Ugly) that is changing my life. In one of her chapters (8), she deals with her struggle with men, feeling unloveable, and the truth of who she truly is. She pointed out in one part that she only attracted exactly what she believed she deserved: nothing (p. 163). Later on she expands a little by saying, “You will attract what you believe you deserve. If you believe the guy you want will never want you back, then he won’t. If you believe you’re worth being beaten up on, you will continue to attract the same lowlife who will hit you. If you believe you’re always going to be the friend and not the lover, then you will continue to be the friend. If you believe you can’t get a guy to love you unless you have sex with him, then you’ll get sex and not always love” (p. 166).

Third, one of the best ways to guard our hearts is to stay away from anything harmful in our lives (sometimes this requires painful sacrifices, but God always has our best interest in mind). 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” This passage is not sugarcoated. By flee, Paul means FLEE. Don’t flirt with the idea of something “bad;” just stay away from it (in other words, draw a standard of purity and live above it). “The body isn’t the only thing involved when two people are having sex. The heart is also affected in some way, even unconsciously, because the heart and soul are affected by every single thing we do” (God Loves Ugly, p. 175).
In Philippians 4:8-9 he instead instructs us to pursue what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. He also tells us to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
If you’d like any examples of what I mean about what kind of standards to set, here are a few:

  • Look for someone (and become that someone) who’s #1 priority in life is Jesus. They has to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. If they do that, they will know how best to honor and cherish you.
  • Look for someone who is respectful, humble, honorable, loving, etc.
  • Waiting to have sex until marriage (huge!)… but don’t just do everything BUT have sex. Set a line and live above it. Don’t do everything you can before you cross it, because trust me, you WILL cross it at some point.
  • Have a curfew (mine is 9:30pm).
  • Have a chaperone. If you don’t trust yourself with your significant other, don’t be afraid to have someone with you…
  • Or group date!
  • Don’t go or do something that will compromise your character standards

Also, know “He has made everything beautiful in His time…” (Ecc. 3:11). One of my favorite quotes says, “Do what you love and you will find someone who loves the same thing. Do not look for love, beg for love, or suffer for love. Just live.” When we delight ourselves in the LORD, He gives us the true desires of our heart… in His perfect timing. I know this is SO hard to do. I’m in this process myself with a guy I’m super interested in. But again, God has our best interest in mind. I find whenever I surrender areas of my life to Him, He always somehow makes things work out WAY better than I ever could in my own power.
A friend of mine spoke recently about sacrifices she had felt God ask her to give up. She shared example after example of how through those sacrifices God had asked of her, there was always a sweet surprise at the end. If you feel like God is asking you to trust Him with your love life, do it! You’ll never regret it! There is always something amazing at the end of it.

And last… keep seeking Christ, reading your Bible, and lifting your future up in prayer. God will give you wisdom on what standards to set (don’t be afraid to aim high!), how best to guard your heart, because trust me, it’ll be worth it! One of these days you will be grateful you made a stand to live a life of purity and to guard your heart. Remember, where your heart and desires are… there your life will follow.

I hope this was helpful for you! Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, whatever. Either comment on here or email me: womanofpurity@gmail.com

Many blessings to you,
~Woman of Purity

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2 Responses to What Does “Guarding Your Heart” Mean?

  1. Amy says:

    I don’t see how this proverb (Proverbs 4) or the verse that everyone loves to pluck from it (v. 23) has anything to do specifically with marriage or romantic relationships. It is a father talking to his son telling him to seek wisdom and avoid evil…. yet, somehow we as Christians use this to tell girls to not feel romantic about a man unless they’re ready to marry. What?

    • You know, that is a very excellent point that I’ve kind of wondered but haven’t had a chance to fully process. Let me get back to you on that (mostly because I wrote this post a long time ago and can’t remember what I said haha). Thank you! :)

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