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"Above all else, guard your heart." We usually hear this with a sense of "Keep an eye on that heart of yours," in the way you’d warn a deputy watching over some dangerous outlaw, or a bad dog the neighbors let run. "Don’t let him out of your sight." Having so long believed our hearts are evil, we assume the warning is to keep us out of trouble. So we lock up our hearts and throw away the key and then try to get on with our living. But that isn’t the spirit of the command at all.

It doesn’t say guard your heart because it’s criminal; it says guard your heart because it is the wellspring of your life, because it is a treasure, because everything else depends on it. How kind of God to give us this warning, like someone’s entrusting to a friend something precious to him, with the words: "Be careful with this-it means a lot to me."

Above all else? Good grief-we don’t even do it once in a while. We might as well leave our life savings on the seat of the car with the windows rolled down-we’re that careless with our hearts. "If not for my careless heart," sang Roy Orbison, and it might be the anthem for our lives. Things would be different. I would be farther along. My faith would be much deeper. My relationships so much better.

My life would be on the path God meant for me . . . if not for my careless heart. We live completely backward. "All else" is above our hearts. I’ll wager that caring for your heart isn’t even a category you think in. "Let’s see-I’ve got to get the kids to soccer, the car needs to be dropped off at the shop, and I need to take a couple of hours for my heart this week." It probably sounds unbiblical, even after all we’ve covered.

Seriously now-what do you do on a daily basis to care for your heart?

Okay, that wasn’t fair. How about weekly? Monthly?

(Waking the Dead , 207-8)

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