Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Proverbs 4:23 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 NASB
The Bible tells us, in essence, the heart of man (not our natural heart) is that spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell. Our heart is the seat (center) of our emotions and desires. It is the well of evil for those who live in sin. It is the secret place where the Holy Spirit dwells in the life of a believer.
Life’s circumstances can change our emotions and desires within a moment. There is no human security wall that can be built around us to protect us from life’s winds of change, floods that overflow our mind and storms that shake the very foundations of our beliefs. These have a direct impact on our emotions and desires and can carry us in many directions if our faith lacks deep roots in God.
Peace may fill our heart in one moment and within the blink of an eye, we can be filled with panic by some life-changing event. Our emotions and desires can pull us from a path of integrity and truth toward a path that leads to destruction. We simply cannot trust our emotions and desires to lead us in how we respond to life’s tests and life’s temptations. Our foundation must be the Word of God.
The word “watch” or “guard” here is a strong, active word. It implies keen awareness and vigilance in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.). It is the opposite of easy, carefree, relaxed faith. An excellent, valued and diligent guard or night watchman requires a strong commitment and is primarily defensive; but can become instantly offensive when necessary (shut the door).
We are to guard our heart and watch carefully the influences we allow to shape our life. What we allow into our heart through our eyes and ears have access to the deep emotions and desires that lie deep within our heart. In fact, only God knows the depths of the thoughts and intentions of our heart – we do not even know our own heart. We may not understand our own hearts, but God does. He “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21; see also I Corinthians 14:25)..
Temptation and evil desire are powerful emotions. We must actively resist and close the door immediately to any force or temptation to yield to evil or despair in unbelief in God. Sin brings death. Strong faith in God and obedience to His word and voice is the gate that must guard the outer courts of our life and not allow sin or unbelief to approach the door of our heart, the secret place of God.
Our heart speaks of the center of our life. A godly heart brings forth good fruit and an evil heart brings forth evil fruit (Matt. 12:35 & Luke 6:45).