What Does it Mean to Guard your Heart?
At Gramercy this year, our theme verse is from Proverbs 4:23, which says, “Above all else, guard your heart from out of it flows everything you do.” We chose this verse in part because we recognize that, as a Christian school, we run the risk of becoming overly focused on simple behavior modification, forgetting that the religion Jesus taught was about sincere heart transformation (Matthew 15: 8-9). Of course, this is not only a problem for Christian schools. It’s a problem for all people in all areas of life. As a parent, for instance, I have often focused too much on what my child is or is not doing instead of directing my attention to what is happening in their hearts that is causing them to act out. Usually, when I stop attempting to only discipline symptoms and actually take the time to address the real heart issue, be it jealousy or anger or fear, I am able to help them resolve not only the symptom, but the actual problem as well.
Young people today are literally inundated with the false idea that their own hearts are their best guidepost for life. In fact, a recent blog from a nationally recognized source said the following, “Your heart speaks the truth. It’s as simple and sacred as this. No one knows your heart better than you do.” As Christians who believe the Word of God as the most fundamental and final truth regarding the universe and mankind, such a thought is highly problematic. In fact, it’s contrary to what the Bible teaches. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can know it?” Interestingly enough, even adults who are inclined to agree with the modern idea that we ought to trust our own hearts above all else will likely admit that over the years their heart has not always “spoken the truth.” In fact, most adults I know, whether they believe the Bible or not, admit that their heart has gotten them into some pretty serious trouble at times.
Still, the idea is pervasive. Take, for instance, the lyrics to the theme song Dreams Come True from the animated children’s film, Cinderella II: “Who’s to say the rules must stay the same forevermore? Whoever made them had to change the rules that came before. So make your own way. Show the beauty within. When you follow your heart, there’s no heart you can’t win.” Although this may be a sweet thought and a lovely tune, it’s just untrue. Unfortunately, when young people buy into this particular lie, it can lead them astray in many and multiple ways, which in turn can lead to disappointment, disillusionment, and even destructive behavior.
The biblical concept of guarding your heart means an honest understanding that God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3:20) and He knows things we are simply too finite or too frail to fully understand. For that reason, we need Divine Guidance. We need a firm foundation of objective truth that is separate from our own changing thoughts and feelings. At Gramercy Christian School, it is our mission to partner with parents in developing young people who have solid biblical truth as a foundation for their lives, and hearts that are sincere, peaceable, wise, and well-guarded.