Vigilance is defined as the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. That’s exactly what God calls us to do with our hearts. We are to pay extra attention to our hearts and watch them closely. There will be dangers and difficulties we will for sure face in this life, and we should be ready.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
Jesus has done everything for us. Literally, everything. We are forgiven for all of eternity. What He did on the cross and how He rose from the dead was enough and will always be enough. And now as followers of Jesus, let’s remain loyal and faithful to God in everything we do.
The springs of life…where someone does all thinking, feeling, and choosing doesn’t come into our hearts from external circumstances, but rather flows out of our hearts through the Holy Spirit. At the end of the day, what you do reveals your heart.
Here are 7 ways to guard your heart:
1. Protect Everything That Comes In
Everything is competing for our time, money, and resources. Just turn on the TV or go anywhere and you’ll quickly be hit with anything and everything that wants your attention. Music, videos, sex, books, language, power, money, and pride are just some of the many examples.
We need to use wisdom in what we allow into our hearts. We only have a limited time each day to make much of God, so what are we being influenced by, listening to, or looking at?
Train your eyes to look away from lust. Listen to wisdom instead of folly. Protect yourself from harms way and a culture that is anti-God and replace it with things that are Godly. Your heart will then remain protected.
2. Persevere In The Face Of Difficulties
Difficulties are going to happen in this life. They have to. That’s the product of a sinful world filled with sinful people. It’s not a coincidence that God lines out multiple things for you to do while following Him. Reading the Bible…daily, praying consistently, sharing the Gospel with others, and spending time in solitude with the Lord are just some of these.
There will be times that you don’t feel the Lord’s presence or feel like He is listening to your prayers. Persevere! Trust that He is always completing a good work in you. Believe that the Lord will prevail, in all things. As you persevere, you will continue to grow in Godliness and your heart will be strong.
3. Follow What The Lord Is Leading You To Do
Everyone is different. We all have different skills and desires and that’s a good thing. God has made us different, intentionally. He calls us to follow Him in so many different ways. Some of us will be pastors, teachers, EMTs, stay at home moms, musicians, mechanics, writers, or baristas.
What is God asking you to do? What do you desire and just can’t stop thinking about? How do you want to serve the Lord with that desire? Chances are, that’s the thing God is calling you to do. Trust Him and go for it! The longer you quench that desire, the more strain you are putting on your heart.
4. Cultivate An Atmosphere Of Community
When we are adopted as sons and daughters of the one true King, we come into a family and are sent on mission. This involves people. There’s no way to follow Jesus in isolation, it flat out doesn’t even make sense. If Jesus says by following Him, you’ll be a part of the Church and you’ll make disciples…that does not translate to – just have your personal isolated relationship with me and you’ll be fine. We need people. We need community.
Your heart needs people constantly pouring into you, and you need to be pouring into people. There’s a constant flow coming in and out as you love and serve others. People need to hear about Jesus and you need to grow in the Lord with your family that you’ll be with for all eternity.
5. Keep Priorities High And Do Not Compromise
There’s wisdom in keeping our priorities. Of course, those need to be the right priorities to begin with, but nonetheless…keeping them is a big deal. What can happen (and its happened for me many times) is that we let the day dictate our priorities instead of our priorities dictating the day.
God, our family (spouse, children, etc.), work, and so on is an example of an order of priorities to keep throughout the day. What we might be tempted to do is to lower one throughout the day or elevate one too high. God might be the last thing on our list (we may not say that, but the way we live declares that), or we might elevate our kids to “god status.”
Yes, we love and serve one another, but not to the extent of compromising the priorities and values the Lord has given us. Once you make a little compromise here or there, you begin to add toxicity to your heart. The good news is that if you keep them, your heart will grow in wisdom.
6. Trust The Lord With Rest
We live in a culture that is so fast paced, chances are you might have spent about 30 seconds on this page, and then you’ll be off to the next one. Productivity is elevated above all else and people are praised for getting things done. While we run around like crazy, we often forget this is bad for our hearts. We are also telling God we don’t trust Him in the process.
When we rest in the Lord (including taking a full day off), we are declaring our dependency on Him. We are admitting we can’t do life on our own. If you think about it, your body needs sleep for a third of the time you are even alive! Not only that, how do you think you fall asleep or even wake up in the morning? That’s only because of the Lord.
Whether you need to start observing the Sabbath, or just need to take a deep breath and let the Lord do the work instead of you, be encouraged to trust Jesus and rest. Let your heart rest. The yoke is easy…the burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
7. Preach The Gospel To Yourself Each Day
This last one sums up everything above and couldn’t be more important. The Gospel isn’t just a “one time” thing and a ticket to heaven, but something we all need each and every day…really every minute. The second we take our eyes off of the cross we forget who we really are. Our hearts need to be reminded that while we still sin, we are forgiven, redeemed, and are children of God!
As you start your day with this truthful reminder, you’ll have no choice but to glorify God in everything you do because you’ll find it so ridiculous that you get to do anything at all!