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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jackie Minor

Stand Guard!

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

No one likes to feel vulnerable. No one wants to yield to despair. No one wants to be disenfranchised. Unfortunately, many educators find themselves sinking into one or all of these emotions. While there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, relief may still be months away. This is a harrowing thought for many as the daily grind of teaching during a pandemic zaps what little energy was gained over the holidays.

It literally breaks my heart to hear of the countless educators who have either left the profession or are at least contemplating the prospect of a different career. Who could blame them? Teaching is often not what we expected it would be—especially now. We are presently caught in the middle of a detour, and even though it might not feel like it, the road will wind back! The trick is learning how to navigate the detour while staying focused on the ultimate destination, a return to teaching without fear. That is, of course, easier said than done!

I know I have said this before, but I love God’s Word! The more I read it and mediate on it, the more I realize it has an answer for every question and guidance for every circumstance. One of the verses I read this week came from the book of Proverbs, the book of wisdom. In Proverbs 4 Solomon is compelling his son to cultivate a heart that loves wisdom. I’m sure this verse is familiar to many of you.

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

In light of everything happening around us, this seems like advice worth taking seriously. The enemy of our souls will use every avenue, including a pandemic, to weaken us. If we don’t stand guard, actively protecting our heart, we will experience discouragement and defeat.

Our heart is like a reservoir, and we must do all we can to keep it from being polluted. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of just going through the motions in our daily lives. It is critical to recognize the thoughts and desires of our heart shape the reality of who we are and who we will become. Isn’t your heart worth protecting? When we accept Christ, we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17), but our tender hearts must be guarded above all else with diligence!

God’s Word is full of warnings for a reason. He knows that without Him our hearts are defenseless. We must guard against…

· a double heart (Psalm 12:2).

· a hard heart (Proverbs 28:14).

· a proud heart (Proverbs 21:4).

· an unbelieving heart (Hebrews 3:12).

· a cold heart (Matthew 24:12).

· an unclean heart (Psalm 51:10).

Standing guard over our hearts makes sense, and we know if we don’t we are in trouble. However, what does it mean to stand guard over your heart? Is it even humanely possible? The answer is yes!

We have to be consciously aware that our heart is under attack. I’m not suggesting we become paranoid, but we have to acknowledge that Satan wants us to be distracted by the world. He entices us with situations or theories that sound good but are not Biblical. Our lives are inundated with information through the news and social media. Truth is often watered down, and our hearts can be deceived.

One action we can take is to purposefully stand guard over our hearts by diligently monitoring what we consume. What are we watching on TV? Who are we spending time with? What and who are we listening to and paying attention to on social media? What are we reading? How we spend our time and what we think about directly impacts our heart. We must diligently stand guard!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I’m sure you have noticed Scripture is woven throughout this blog and pretty much every blog I write. One surefire way to guard our hearts is with the Word of God. His Word acts as a shield of protection. There is no better example of this than in Matthew 4. Jesus had been alone in the wilderness for forty days and nights. His earthly body was weak, and Satan saw this as an opportunity to attack (he always knows when we are vulnerable). With every lie, with every temptation, Jesus responded to Satan’s attacks with the Word of God. “It is written…” You know the story, and you know the outcome—Satan departed.

We can do the same. I don’t know where you are feeling weak, but I feel certain Satan does. God’s Word will give you what you need to stand guard and protect your heart. Let’s not stand by and let this pandemic (or anything else) take any more from us. If worry starts to creep into your heart, call it out. Simply say, “No! I am not going to let you in! The Word of God says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

When discouragement starts to tug at your heart, remind yourself there are better times are ahead.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

God’s Word will not only guard our hearts but also strengthen our faith and trust in Him. Guarding our hearts is really a faith issue. Do we truly trust God? Is our security in Him alone? MacLaren’s commentary describes the role we play in unleashing the power of God in us.

The hand that lays hold on God in Christ must be stretched out and must grasp His warm, gentle, and strong hand, if the tingling touch of it is to infuse strength. If the relieving force is victoriously to enter our hearts, we must throw open the gates and welcome it. Faith is but the open door for God’s entrance. It has no efficacy in itself any more than a door has, but all its blessedness depends on what it admits into the hidden chambers of the heart. (1)

When our faith leads to a trust in Jesus, we are guarded by the power of God. It is futile and burdensome for us to solely try and guard our hearts through our own efforts. Our ultimate protection is in God alone, and this belief must be embraced through faith. We have faith, and He does the guarding.

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121:5-8

Standing guard over our hearts must be a priority. Why? Your heart determines the course of your life. The same God who designed and created us is the God who guides us in and through His commands. A heart of wisdom is an obedient heart. A heart of wisdom knows that God only desires our very best. His commands are for our good. Though guarding the heart with all diligence may be difficult and challenging, the overall result is happiness, joy, and peace.

You deserve to have everything God has planned for you. You deserve to live each day victoriously. God desires to bless you! Don’t leave anything to chance. Stand guard over your heart! Monitor how you spend your time and what commands your focus. Speak God’s Word into your circumstances. Have faith in the God who loves and protects you. He will do the rest!



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