We have a natural desire to be protected. Women like protection. One of the primary roles of a husband is to protect himself, wife and family from all types of danger. The type of danger that is often thought of is physical, like an intruder or robber. What about emotional danger and mental danger? Danger that stems from himself? His own heart?
To guard your heart is not just for the singles in waiting. It’s for all of us; especially in marriage.
When most people speak of guarding the heart it is in the context of dating or courtship, where we are advised to keep our deepest feelings to ourselves, be wise regarding our vulnerable state, and to not fall too hard for someone who is not our spouse. After all, even if you are engaged, you aren’t married. You are dedicated or committed to that person you will pledge your heart to, but you are not one in the sight of God until you are wed.
So why do we spend so much time preparing everyone for the dating/waiting period when marriage is almost 50-100xs longer the dating period?
I hated being taught about how to date “the right way”. By the first year of my courtship with Brian, I was so sick of reading dating books. It was repulsive!
Christian dating culture would like to teach that dating prepares you for divorce because it teaches that if the dates with this person does not go the way you want, you can move on. It teaches that courtship is such a better word because your mindset is “different”. Well what about those whose courtship doesn’t work out because two people aren’t willing to deal with sin? My “courtship” before Brian was heading towards marriage, but there was so much I was not willing to submit to in that man, I couldn’t bear the thought of it being God’s will, which it was not. That courtship came to and end. (I plan to tell that story another day.)
People aren’t willing to sacrifice. They aren’t willing to fight.
The mindset of training Christians to court seems a little skewed as well. Teach me how to be married. Because on the other side of “I Do”, the enemy lies in wait to attack you and your spouse with more them temptation to cheat. The temptation to give up, to lie, to hold back, to attack, to blame, to be unloving, to be unforgiving, to run, to hide, to be selfish all waits for you to give in so that your marriage will cease. Ladies there is a better way. Teach the cross. Teach us how to be like Jesus. He is giving, truthful, comforting, accepting, understanding, loving, forgiving, always present, available, compassionate, selfless, and unfailing. Teach me how to be like Jesus. He perfectly submitted to the Father, so He can teach me how to submit to my husband. He perfectly cleaned up my life, so He can teach me how to clean up a home. He loves perfectly, so surely He will teach me how to love. He perfectly forgave me, so He is the One who can teach us to forgive the biggest offense that hurts the deepest. Teach me how to be like Jesus. Don’t give me a book on biblical womanhood, dating/courtship, or waiting patiently. Give me the Bible.
Teach me how to be like Jesus because that’s how you teach someone to be married.
We are not defined by our titles: female, single, wife, sister, mother, daughter, friend. You are a follower of Christ first if you have been saved. You can learn to be better at all these titles and get the recognition from your circle for being such a great (fill in the blank). But all glory goes to God for being what you are because He has given you the tools to be her or taught you how to be her (Philippians 3). God has given you His word to help transform your life. He has given you His word, the Bible, to transform your heart. God cares about your heart and that’s why he speaks of it so much. Hebrews 4 explains that God has allowed Jesus to be the way in which we enter into perfect rest. It tells us that His word discerns our hearts and will cut to the deepest parts that expose the darkness within that can cause us to sin, cause harm to others, and to ourselves. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:8-9 that ‘the heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it?“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind,to give every man according to his ways,according to the fruit of his deeds.”’
We don’t guard our hearts just from things getting in, we guard them from what could come out (Matt.5:10-12)
Wow! So how can you guard something and YOU don’t even know what’s there? That’s like someone asking you to guard what’s behind a huge door, with no weapons, because if you let that whatever is in there out, you will die. Wouldn’t you want to know what’s behind the door? And possibly ask if there is someone more equipped to guard the door?
There IS someone more equipped to guard you from the dangers of yourself. Jesus sees everything in your heart and in your potential spouse’s/spouse’s/boyfriend’s heart too. You can’t guard your heart. You can obey God, who is the keeper of your heart and do whatever He needs you to do to be where you need to be to resist the temptation of the enemy and prevent you from making a decision that is outside of His will.
There’s more to this thing than we think. See you next week.
Read Philippians 4 and Proverbs 4 and study the passages above until next time. God’s Spirit will show you how they apply to your life (John 14:25-27).