Preaching on the parables this summer – the recurring theme has been watchfulness, self-examination, and last week, the priority of what’s in that spiritual center of all we are and do…called the Heart. (sermon on Mat. 15) Described hundreds of times and in dozens of ways (go ahead – search for ‘heart’ in Bible Gateway), the heart needs our utmost attention.
Let me again highlight the vital importance with 2 verses and a quote from the ‘Church Fathers.’
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Our holy fathers have renounced all other spiritual work and concentrated wholly on this one doing, that is, on guarding the heart, convinced that, through this practice, they would easily attain every other virtue, whereas without it not a single virtue can be firmly established. (St. Symeon the New Theologian, 10th cent.)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
So the first two things we can say: Guarding our Hearts is not an option for the Christian Disciple. And continual prayerful communion with God is the best starting point.
What is the Lord teaching YOU about Guarding your Heart? Share a comment.