‘Guard Your Heart’

Yael Eckstein  |  January 22, 2021

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
— Proverbs 4:23

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Hebrew Bible known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Whenever there is something wrong with our electrical devices, be it a refrigerator or a computer, I always pray that something minor is causing the problem. As I’ve learned from experience, if it is something major like the motherboard, the rest of the device can’t be fixed.

Our human hearts are like the motherboard of our beings. We can have a problem with our foot, our hand, or even something as essential as our eyes. Yet, a person can still live as long as the heart continues to do its job. However, God forbid, if there is a problem with the heart, the entire body is in danger.

On a spiritual level, the heart is the seat of our emotions, which control our thoughts, which in turn determine our actions. The Jewish sages called the heart “the king of the body,” because it rules over our entire being. Because of its importance, we must take steps to always guard our heart.

Guard Against ‘Heart Conditions’

Just as most of us are born with physically healthy hearts, we are also born emotionally and spiritually healthy. We naturally love, desire to give to others, trust people, and feel generally happy. Yet, as time goes on, we can develop spiritual heart conditions that damage our healthy one. The Bible mentions several spiritual “heart conditions”: a hard heart (Exodus 4:21); a heart of stone (Ezekiel 36:26); a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9); a perverse heart (Proverbs 11:20); and others. Any heart condition has negative effects on the body and the soul.

That’s why I love this verse in Proverbs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” It reminds us that we need to take care of our hearts spiritually, just as we do physically, because in both ways, the heart is the most important organ in our body.

The key to guarding our heart is to recognize that it is, at its essence, pure and good. Our job is to guard it by stopping the negative stuff from getting in and uprooting the bad stuff that has already entered. We must guard against worry, keep out envy, and let go of the hurt from events in the past. Then, we will be left with a heart filled with love and faith, and our actions will follow accordingly.

Your Turn:

Start the New Year off right by helping you and your family learn how to set priorities. Download a sample lesson from my new family-friendly guide, the Generation to Generation Workbook, the companion piece to my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.

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