Does God want you to be more trusting or less trusting? Should you always open your heart to people? The answers to these questions depend on whether you are among friends or enemies.
However, sometimes your friends can act like enemies, and sometimes enemies can act like friends. An enemy, or a friend acting like an enemy, can harm your heart. The wound can take a long time to recover from. Many times, the wound won’t completely heal until the next life begins in heaven.
Wounds are costly. So what can you do? Read further to understand your heart and how you can protect it.
What is Your Heart?
Your heart is the core of your identity. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to know who you are. In many ways, it’s like a mysterious black box. Perhaps we can know some of what is in our hearts, and understand some about how it got there, but we probably have no clue how God makes it all work.
We know that Jesus is significantly concerned about our hearts (Matthew 15:18-19; Matthew 23:27-28). What a person says or does has its origins in the core of that person. The condition of a heart is an accurate representation of the whole person (Proverbs 27:19).
I suspect all of us could benefit from admitting that both of the following are true:
- The heart contains more corrupt motives than any of us realize because we haven’t fully experienced the depths of its sickness (Jeremiah 17:9).
- God has designed our hearts to contain amazingly beautiful features that we haven’t been able to appreciate because no one has recognized them yet (Proverbs 20:5).
Why Is Your Heart Important?
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Most believers want to know God’s will for their lives. We want to know if our existence is significant. We want to know how to succeed in life.
Proverbs 4:23 provides the answer. Your heart will determine how your life turns out. It’s like a compass for your life. It will decide the direction you take. Without a well-functioning center, you will be lost.
Fortunately for us, God doesn’t leave us helpless. He gives believers a new heart that can respond to His correction and love (Ezekiel 36:26).
Guard Your Heart: Discern Your Enemies
While you can be courageous because God is with you (Joshua 1:9), God also commands you to protect your most valuable possession.
The enemy, and sometimes the people influenced by him, can cause great harm to your heart. God expects you to protect it from evil.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8 NLT
“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”Matthew 7:6 NLT
At the same time, to understand who you are, you must expose your heart to yourself, to God, and to others. As you allow God to search your heart, He will find sick parts that need Healing but also treasures that need to be put on display (Psalm 139:23-24).
The more you trust others, the more you are letting your guard down. You allow yourself to be known. Most of the time this will produce favorable results, but it can also end in rejection.
What level of risk is worth taking, given the possible rewards? As you become better at guarding your heart, your risk goes down. Guarding your heart means protecting it, but it also means nurturing it so it can thrive. What does your heart tell you today about the course of your life?