“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
I love passionate people. You do too.
Our favorite people are usually people who are passionate about what they do. Regardless of what they are doing, doing it with gusto is more appealing, more entertaining, more satisfying.
But just a little bit of honesty has to admit that not all passions are worthy of our focus!
I want to spend the next several posts thinking about this issue. The Bible gives us some amazing advice for guiding our hearts into pursuits that ultimately honor God, increase our own joy, and overflow in blessing to others.
Here are several important principles about our hearts:
This might come as a surprise to some folks, but God is the author and not the opponent of heart passion!
He wired us for pleasure and passion. That’s right. It was His idea. God made our hearts in such a way that they can help us take great pleasure in the activities we engage in. Our hearts are like the sails on boats. They are capable of being greatly moved. Of harnessing great energy.
But if you’ve ever tried to navigate a boat on a lake on a windy day without a rudder…you know how hard it is to keep it on course. The boat wants to run away under the direction of the wind. Our hearts have great ability to harness passion…but are also very gullible.
The world around us often says: “Trust your heart…” “Follow your heart…”
By saying this people usually mean: “Be passionate. Take risks for what you care about. Don’t let fear stop you.”
Hopefully we can all agree that this is far better than: “Always play it safe, even if it means living a life you don’t enjoy…”
The Bible agrees with this: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart, as unto the LORD…” (Col 3:23)
The part at the end of this verse is VERY important: “…as unto the Lord.” For it assumes there’s a “rudder” guiding the passion! It’s not just, “Be passionate about what you do.” But, “Be passionate about what you do, remembering your relationship with the Lord is the supreme goal.”
Yes, the writer of Proverbs is saying something much different than simply, “Follow your heart!”
My paraphrase of Proverbs 4:23 would be:
“Keep a careful watch over your heart. If you guide your heart into pursuing the right things, you will experience an overflow of blessings, peace, and joy.”
Most of us wouldn’t feel right about instructing our children or our best friends to, “Just follow after the wind!”
That’s because we know the wind changes from moment to moment. The wind is NOT reliable. But our hearts are like sails that can easily be blown in many directions. There is real excitement in surrendering to the winds of emotions and pleasures. Many folks have surrendered to a night of partying…only to wake up in the morning to face some alarming problems as a result!
If you follow the wind…you will end up aimless. You must not “follow your heart”, UNLESS you have guarded it and made sure it has become passionate about the things that are in keeping with God’s highest purposes for your life!
More next time.