As you progress in your walk, you to begin understand that Christianity is a ‘religion’ (and I use this word loosely) of the heart. Your heart is your most valuable asset because it’s what connects you to the Father; it’s what leads you to relationship with God versus meaningless religion. In life we’ll always have competing interests for our hearts like friendships, relationships, family, and money. God understands this. But there are some things that can take hold of our heart and push us away from Him. That is exactly why in Proverbs 4:23 He warns us to guard our hearts. Here are 7 things that you absolutely, no-questions-asked need to guard your heart against.
1. Unhealthy/ Toxic Relationships
I’ve heard it said that you become most like the five closest people to you and if you put some real thought into it, it’s so true. When we allow people to remain in our lives that are toxic, we not only pick up their bad habits but we are allowing strife and discord into our space that doesn’t need to be there. We also set us ourselves up for bitterness..Jesus died so that we could have life to the full and this includes the benefit of peace. Toxic people present a real distraction to what’s most important in your life: your relationship with Christ and your peace. Let it go.
2. Envying the Girl Next Door
We’re all guilty of this and we all know where it leads. When we become too consumed with the affairs of others, we take our focus off of God and we start second guessing our own blessings. Envy is a slippery slope and the destination is almost always outside of the will of God. Never allow envy to enter your heart.
3. Being Unequally Yoked
Some of you may not like this but when you are in a relationship with someone that does not know Jesus, things get iffy really fast. If you’ve ever been in the situation then you know what I mean. Being unequally yoked with a non-believer is a surefire way to move your focus away from God to suit the feelings of your significant other. This can be true in some friendships too. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable talking about your faith around someone you love.
4. Pre-marital Sex
There are many times that I wish that I would’ve waited for my husband to have sex for so many reasons. No matter what anyone tries to tell you or how society tries to dress it up, sex is spiritual. When you have sex with someone you create what’s called soul ties and until they are broken you carry a piece of that person with you forever. You’ll find yourself thinking of that person when you thought for sure you were over them. And as a Christian, pre-marital sex brings on a shame that causes you to almost hide from the Father. Trust me, this is coming from someone that made the mistake over and over—wait for marriage. It’s worth it.
5. Materialism and the Love of Money
We’ve always heard it said that you cannot serve both God and mammon. Most of us think that since we pray and tithe and we’re not sporting gold chains and luxury cars that this doesn’t apply to us. Materialism and not putting God first in your finances can come in plenty of subtle ways. Money has a way of bringing fear and worry into our hearts and in turn, we start to lose trust in God. Materialism shifts our focus from attaining spiritual growth to acquiring things and it becomes a way of life. God wants our trust and focus to be on Him and we should always be mindful of how we allow money to dictate our hearts.
This is a big one. We get offended so easily and the Bible warns us against this [Proverbs 19:11]. When we allow offense into our hearts, anger, malice, and poor decisions (aka pettiness) are sure to follow.
7. Spiritual Darkness
I seriously cannot stress enough the importance of being mindful of what you allow into your spirit. Sometimes we watch things or listen to things that may not affect out spirit in that moment but a week or so later we start to feel things that we don’t understand. The spirit world is real and Satan wants your heart! Be vigilant and stay far away from dark imagery and things that tap into his realm. Matthew 6:22 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light”. Remember to guard your eyes because they are the window to your heart.
I hope this helps! God wants to create in you a clean heart but it is your job to not pollute it with things that shouldn’t be there.
Is there anything else that would add to this list? What are some other things that are competing for your heart?