“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” — Proverbs 4:23
The concept of defence translates to the game of basketball to me. In basketball, defence is just as important to winning as offence. No matter how many points a team can score, if its defence is poor, winning becomes difficult because the rival team can easily score more points.
A spiritual parallel exists for Christians today, and we’re not just playing a game of basketball. We’re playing the game of life where the stakes are higher. At this point in the “game,” how is your defence going?
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 that our defence has to do with guarding our heart. Defending the heart is important because scripture tells us that all we do will flow from it. It’s the source of thoughts and actions. What does that look like at a practical level? And how do we guard our heart? Here are five ways to do that.
1. Seek first God
Many times the first things we might seek are the things that give us convenience, benefits and glory. But Matthew 6:33 reminds us to seek first the kingdom of God. When we look primarily at our own wants and needs, we expose our heart and leave it defenceless. But as we seek God first, we are guarded by God, and He is the one who adds all things to us.
2. Constantly ask yourself ‘why?’
Motive is the core of all that we do. Why do you do the things that you do?
This also speaks of our purpose. When our purpose is centred on God’s will, commands, and desires, we place out heart in the right position. If not, we risk building ulterior and selfish motives, and in the process leave our heart unguarded.
3. Know your values
Matthew 6:33 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Treasures have to do with what values we have. Do we operate in godly values that draw us closer to God’s ways? Or do we follow worldly values that could leave us vulnerable?
4. Live the gospel out
The biggest disease of the heart is sin. When we expose our heart to sin, we expose it to danger and even death. But the gospel—Jesus’ finished work—is the best solution to sin. It reminds us of who we truly are in Christ—sinful wretches but lovingly saved by grace through faith.
5.Love others as you love yourself
The second greatest command God gives us is to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
This entails putting the needs of others in plain view while also not forgetting ourselves. While we are commanded and called to love and guard ourselves, we are also called to love and value others.