Many of us have heard this scripture or some reference to placing a fortress around your heart. When we hear the word ‘guard’ we think of protection and safety from the enemy. For me, over the years when I heard this I thought of protecting myself from others hurting me or somehow trying to make sure that when it beats it pumps feelings full of joy and happiness and to protect against loneliness and sadness. Things I couldn’t control anyway.
It was about building walls to guard against the outside but I never considered from the inside out.
King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs in the style of a father teaching a son. The book was intended to share wisdom that if followed would guide us through life and if not it would lead us down a path of foolishness, destruction, and despair. In this passage, Solomon is a father offering wisdom to his children in hopes to steer them from “perverse talk and corrupt speech” ( v. 24). He knew that we would become side-tracked with negative words and conversations that were not healthy and unnecessary.
Our heart is the center from which comes direction and guidance. It is a breeding ground and has control over whether our actions are holy or our actions lead to impurity and foolishness.
Let us steer clear of slanderous talk that will pollute our center and blur the vision so that we lose sight of the life that was planned for us.
Let us allow our speech be genuine and pure and provide encouragement to those around us so that we can lift up and not tear down God’s children.
Let us guard from the inside out.