Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
The gate has been installed. There is not a day that I see it that I have not been directed to this verse. I decided to ponder a little more on this gate… the reason it had to be put there, I was not fully on board to have it. After all, it hinders me walking straight through the breezeway carrying groceries or what have you. Sometimes when I am on the inside of the gate it feels like I am being “locked in” It has taken some time for me to get used to it being there.
It is there for one purpose… for safety.
I don’t despise the gate, but I have yet to get used to it. It constricts my view of the field out front.. cars passing by and the pear trees.. bars. a lock.
It has already proved to be efficient, so I know how much it was necessary.
I often think of the phrase… “what is in the well, comes up in the bucket.” A simple reminder from my childhood, drawing the water bucket up from a deep well and finally the icy-cold water we drank from the dipper. We knew what to expect – water and it was extremely cold on a hot summer day. We also knew the importance of keeping the well clean.
The same goes for keeping our hearts guarded.. .clean…protecting it from anything that would make it tainted or unhealthy. I was reminded of this very verse after a conversation with my daughter…
If you want to know what is in your heart, just listen to what escapes your mouth. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
So there it was… and I stare once again at the gate.
I am warming up to this gate.. little by little as I start to see it more as an object of keeping things out as opposed to keeping me in. I have never taken a liking to being locked in, crowded out, or confined to a small space. I can manage it, but I do not like it. Same as with the dark, I am not afraid of it, yet I prefer light… lots of light.
My thoughts rewind to this past winter. We needed that gate. It would have saved us a whole lot of trouble in the months to come. It would have prevented an almost tragic accident.
On a very icy morning, a horse got out of a pasture and frantically sped through that very breezeway, only seconds after I had stepped out onto the concrete. The near miss was unnerving enough, only to end up having a spooked horse submerged in our in-ground pool. The end result was a tricky rescue for the equine, a weary and cold group of folks and a destroyed swimming pool that caused me a whole lot of disappointment this past summer.
“An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin
I get it now. Hindsight is always 20/20 and you can’t go back.
If only we had installed the gate sooner.
The pool was materialistic. The danger that was presented to us that day was so much more. A lot of things could have went wrong. Any of us at any given time could have been seriously injured. The horse could have died. Neither happened.
Guarded from harm…
Often time I think of instances that could have been prevented “heartwise” If I had only put the safety measures in place to keep out the harmful words, thoughts, actions… guarded my responses to insult. Guard. Guard. Guard. Yet how many times do we leave the gate “wide open” and “unprotected” an avenue whereby things can be damaged and stolen.
Philippians 4:8 provides a guide for guarding…
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
The gate installation was not a simple task. It required the right tools, the correct measuring and the adequate amount of adjusting. Had we just tried to “wing it” … I am sure it would have been a disaster. Our hearts require these things… using the right tools, using the Word as a plumb-line and being willing to adjust our thoughts and actions to insure the guard is in place and working to our best interest.
Guarding your heart is not mechanical. It takes effort and diligence. It is intentional and on purpose. Install the gate, realize it is there for your safety, protecting everything that comes through it and providing protection from unwanted trespassing. It is not there as a prison gate, a place of being locked away and kept out of touch with the outside world. It is simply a divine safety measure. If you guard your heart… it increases the capability to make better choices, better voices and an effective witness.
Okay… maybe the gate is growing on me after all? or at least provoking my thoughts to something positive. Maybe even a reminder that while I have been guilty of leaving the gate unlocked and wide open, or even partially closed… I realize the importance of its presence and that alone…..is a secure reminder of the grace for the past and the encouragement to keep moving forward in the present and future guarding of the heart.