This morning I woke up with a heavy heart. This is unusual for me as I am a morning person and I am usually excited to wake up to a splendid new day. Yet today I did not feel my usual chirpy self. Last night a friend of ours was attacked and stabbed on his way home from church. This senseless act of violence saddened me and I tossed and turned most of the night. Coupled with all the depressing news we are bombarded with on a daily basis, it is small wonder that we find ourselves heavy-hearted. Then as I did my morning reading I came across this verse:
"Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it."
It is interesting that in the King James version of the Bible the word heart is used approximately 826 times. The heart of man is very important to the Lord. This word in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word "leb". It is rarely used in the literal sense of heart, meaning the physical organ, but rather metaphorically as the center of our being, the inner man, the heart of our understanding. Yes, our thought, ideas and beliefs. When we are told to guard our heart, it does not mean that we must harden our hearts against love, or not feeling sympathy for other people. Neither does it mean that we should be wary of people trying to take advantage of us. No, to guard your heart is an inside job.
The very next line of the verse gives away the clue: "..for everything you do flows from it." We must guard our hearts, our inner being, there where first of all our thoughts originate. It is what happens within our thoughts. We have to guard our thoughts at all costs, because these thoughts are the origin of every word we utter and every action we take. That is where choice also starts. What do I choose to fill my mind with? Thoughts of joy, thoughts of gratefulness or thoughts of fear, hopelessness and worry? I have to guard my heart against negativity and anxiety. What our hearts are filled with will flow from our lips and will manifest in our actions.
It is what is in our hearts that has a direct effect on the way we view all of life. If our hearts are filled with bitterness, anger and fear we will be unable to see the beauty and grace our lives are filled with. These negative emotions will suck all the passion and enthusiasm out of you. We will suffer under an unbearable burden, our steps will be weary and our hearts will feel heavy and overwhelmed. We were never intended to live lives of misery, fear and anxiety, but to live life abundantly. This we read in John 10:10(b) "... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Therefore guard your heart against these cumbersome and negative thoughts. Focus on your blessings. It is amazing what you can find to be grateful for once you start looking. The funny thing is that once you start focusing on your blessings, it is impossible to be miserable.
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