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When I was a kid …
this phrase was the title to a popular song by Tina Turner, the legendary performer who entertained American well into her late 60’s. I remember singing along to the lyrics in the car with my mom on the way to school in the mornings while I was experiencing adolescence for the first time. And after my first heartbreak in 6th grade, I vividly recall feeling an emotional connection to one of the other lines in the song that asked, “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”
Mrs. Turner was singing about a reality that is common to all humanity. God created us with a heart, and much more than just a muscle that pumps blood, the heart is the emotional center of who we are. It’s where we feel things, it’s the engine that drives us to give and serve and sacrifice, and it’s also very tender. The heart is a sensitive thing and often will surprise us by how it will attach to other people and how it can be so easily wounded when it’s hopes are not realized.
God inspired the writer of Proverbs 4:23 to voice a word of caution in regards to this very thing. “Above all, guard your hearts, for it is the wellspring of life.” One translation says that the heart is the “source of all love and life.” Essentially, this verse is telling us what we already know intuitively – our hearts drive us, fill us with desire, are easily broken, and are mysteriously connected with God and others in ways we cannot deny or fully understand. That is why it’s so vitally important that we guard them, that we are cautious with our hearts, and that we don’t dive into and out of relationships flippantly.
The best way to guard your heart is to give it fully, freely, and irreversibly to Jesus. When He has your heart, He also has the highest place in your life. Because He is good and loves you so perfectly, you can trust Jesus with your heart even when you can’t trust yourself. Make your heart God’s home. Remember that He lives in you and loves you as a Father and a friend. Your heart is His dwelling place and He empowers you to serve and love others with the same heart He resides in. Even though your heart my ache and hurt and even break, it was designed by God to be the center of your emotions, submitted to Him as Lord of your life. Trust Him with your heart and guard it by giving it fully to Jesus.
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