Protecting Your Heart
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)
To keep means to protect or guard, so this is telling us to protect our hearts. The question is how do we do that? It begins with a decision to guard our heart. We must watch over our hearts like watchmen would watch over a city in the Old Testament. They kept guard over who was permitted entrance into the city.
In the same way, we must be watchful about who is granted entrance to our hearts. People must qualify to have access to our hearts. We cannot just open up our hearts to anyone and everyone. To qualify, people must show they can be trusted. This takes some time and observation.
Pay attention to how people act and the words they speak. Out of the abundance of the heart a person speaks, so words tell a lot about someone. For example, if someone tries to talk to you about other people, you can be pretty sure they would talk about you to others as well. That is obviously a person you do not want to grant access to your heart.
We know people by their fruit, or what they produce. If someone regularly produces strife, unrest, worry, fear, deception, or other negative things, that is a red flag. That is a clear sign to keep your distance.
This scripture tells us to be diligent about keeping our hearts, meaning it is a continual activity in which we need to remain engaged. Do not let your guard down. The word issues in this scripture speaks of boundaries. We need to set boundaries about how far we will allow people to go with us. Issues also speaks of forces- things that flow through your heart like love, joy, peace, etc. We need to guard our hearts so we do not lose these valuable things. And issues also speaks of controlling functions- only God should control our lives, not people.
Obviously, we need to minister to people, so I am not saying to cut everyone off. And we need other people- God created us for relationship. However, God expects us to use wisdom in our interactions with people in order to prevent heartache, strife, and other negative things from entering our lives. Be diligent in protecting and keeping a watch over your heart to block the devil from accessing your life through the people around you.