Remember summertime when you were a kid? Remember staying out in the backyard past your bedtime and tumbling in the grass? That’s one of the reasons I still love summer. Not only is it an amazing time to be outdoors and enjoying life. It’s also full of so many memories.
This summer has been a particularly incredible one here in the Pacific Northwest, and my backyard is thriving! It makes me so happy to see my kids running through the grass in the evening, kicking the soccer ball around, and making their own memories.
It’s got me thinking about what goes on inside our hearts. When you think of a perfect backyard, what comes to mind? Are there trees? Maybe a swing? What is the grass like? It’s probably green and rich and something that your bare feet don’t need to be afraid of. The thing is, beautiful backyards don’t happen by accident, and neither do beautiful hearts.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For our of it spring the issues of life.
Have you ever met a person who just had the most beautiful heart? I am so blessed to have a people like that in my life. Their smile, their words, their actions just made me want to sit back and learn more about God’s goodness. Even a quick conversation with them is healing, and not just any kind of healing. It’s a lemonade-on-the-back-porch kind of healing! They didn’t just wake up like that one day. They have been tending to their heart with all the diligence of a prize-winning gardener.
Some translations of Proverbs 4:23 say to “guard” your heart, and any good landscaper knows, there’s a lot of guarding involved in gardening. You have to guard against weeds, harmful insects, weather, and your own forgetfulness.
Guarding our hearts takes diligence and attention. We have to protect what should be growing and keep an eye out for what shouldn’t be growing. We have to deal with the thoughts and influences that threaten the good things God wants to grow. We have to remember their importance, even when our circumstances throw us.
No one can do that work for you. Your heart is yours to guard, yours to pull the weeds from, and yours to root the rocks from. The Holy Spirit of God inspires us and helps us in this process, but he invites us to be a part of it. He gave us our heart that we might take good care of it.
Every day is an opportunity to guard your heart against the issues of life. Life will still be full of issues that we can’t control. But when we put in the work to guard our heart, we can control our response.
The Scriptures are filled with analogies of fruitful and healthy plants, and that’s the kind of life God wants for us. He wants our faith to be a well-watered, well-guarded place where he can dwell. He wants to see us bearing the fruit of his Spirit. When we live like that, our heart becomes a wellspring of refreshment to us and those around us.