What a precious heart you have. Treasured because it was hand-made by God. Valued because it was counted worthy of redeeming by Christ. As such a priceless gift, you know that you are to “guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

If everything you do flows from your heart, you need to be sure that what flows out isn’t poisonous or contaminated. At the same time, the wellspring of the heart is vulnerable. There are many who try to step in and quench its supply.

Be prepared. Set up two guard stations: one for the threats from without and the other for the threats from within.

1. A guard station by the entrance

Known better to most of us, the guard stationed at the entrance of the heart determines what gets in. It’s this guard, the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” that protects the heart from succumbing to the temptations and trials of this world (Philippians 4:7).

Sometimes called self-control, but also certainly attributed to the Holy Spirit, it’s this guard that warns us not to watch this or go there because all that we will reap will be evil (2 Timothy 1:14). This guard stops untrue words from entering our souls fully armed. ‘Protects from sin in the world‘ is at the top of this guard’s job description.

2. A guard station by the exit

Also called self-control, the guard that stands at the exit of our hearts is the one that keeps contamination from flowing out. It’s this guard that stops untrue and ungodly words from exiting our hearts fully armed.

I said to myself, ‘I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.’” Psalm 39:1

Here we rely on the stronghold tucked inside: God’s word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). In the reading of and obeying God’s Word, that inner guard is strengthened in discernment and might. It can test the waters that flow from our hearts to see if they have been contaminated by our flesh.

Fortunately, as we try to guard our hearts, we also know that the Lord is a safe stronghold and refuge, watching our six, and four, and ten, and two. And more.

Isn’t that comforting? We aren’t always vigilant about being on guard duty. Often more gets in and out of our hearts than we’d like to think. But we can stand firm, be diligent, and trust in the one whose protection is perfect!