Throughout Scripture we see a woven thread that points us to a need for God. In the Shema, the Israelites were told to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. They were to talk about Him with their children and keep His commandments before their eyes and on their hearts. They were to bind them before their eyes and on theirs hands, to reach for them first thing when they wake up and before bed (Deut. 6:4–9).
We move to Proverbs and we learn that the words of God are the key to guarding our hearts. These instructions we find in God’s Word are the foundation for a heart that is set on Christ, and from that, everything else flows (Prov. 4:20–27).
We come to the letter to the Thessalonians and we find that we are to be praying continually, rejoicing always, giving thanks in every circumstance. This is God’s will for you in Christ (1 Thess. 5:16–20). It’s right there—to keep our hearts focused on the Lord so that our response will be christlike and God-honoring.
And when we don’t know how to pray, Christ gives us a perfect example. He teaches us to come daily and align our hearts to God. We seek to do His will, we ask for His daily provision and we focus our will with His, forgiving as we’ve been forgiven (Matt. 9:6–13).
There’s a theme here that involves setting our gaze on Christ and aligning our hearts to His. This is where everything else about us flows from. Where you heart is set, there will your treasure be (Matt. 6:33). Where our heart is set, from there will we respond to anything that comes our way. The heart has a lot of power over our lives.
So how do we guard it? I believe this day and age it has a lot to do with what we take in and how we spend our time. Because we become what we think on all day long. I recently saw a quote about exercise that said, “If you work out for one hour a day, that’s only 4% of your day. No excuses.”
This got me thinking. If we spend 30 minutes in God’s Word, that is only 2% of our entire day. Two percent. Now, imagine going into your day with your phone battery charged at 2%. Your phone would probably be dead by 9:00 a.m. Even with 4%, you wouldn’t make it to lunch. And yet, we want 100% of our lives to honor Christ and be pleasing to Him. So how can we operate on 2% (if that) and expect 100% of our day to be heart-guarding and Christ-honoring?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to coast on past experience and pull from prior knowledge to get me through the day. I can quote Psalm 23 and Philippians 4 and John 3:16, so that should be plenty to get me through the day. If I’m busy and I forgot to read my Bible, what’s the big deal? I know I’m forgiven—it’s fine!
But what if we were intentional to truly guard our time and our hearts with a fierceness and dedication? What if we spent time throughout the entire day inviting Jesus into our rhythms and routines? There’s not one cure-all for guarding your heart, but I think it’s an ongoing and daily surrender of our wills to God’s. We see from the beginning of Scripture that the heart was the key to honoring Christ, and that is the call of every believer. It’s not a one-and-done thing where we surrender and move on, then we’re covered.
While we are definitely covered with salvation in Christ, we need to daily surrender our wills and our desires and our hearts to the Lord. We need to clear out the clutter that we’ve been taking in and make space for Him to root out the gross stuff and replace it with His righteousness.
Guarding your heart may look like placing limits on social media, phone usage, or television. It may mean cultivating space for conversations about the Lord with your kids or spouse around the dinner table. It could be as simple as playing worship music in the car, praying aloud while you clean the house, setting a scripture card on your desk at work, or just simply taking time throughout the day to thank the Lord for what He has done for you and ask Him to reset your gaze on Him.
You don’t have to be the next Beth Moore or over-spiritualize every decision. But you do have to be intentional to invite the Spirit into your day and open up your heart to His will. You have to create space to meet with Him— more than 2%—if you want the other 98% of your life to honor and dwell with Him. Today, guarding your heart means protecting the time you make for Him and taking the thoughts you have captive to Him, day after day. It means cultivating a routine or rhythms that include Him, for more than the 20 minutes you spend sipping your reheated coffee.
Let the Lord be the goal that you set your heart and life upon. Keep chasing Him. Don’t rest on prior knowledge or experiences to get you through the day when you have the invitation to come and sit with Him right now.