IS YOUR HEART ON GUARD?
I mentioned a verse earlier found in Proverbs 4:23, about keeping your heart. The NIV version puts it this way: “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” According to Webster’s, guard means “to protect; to watch over so as to prevent indiscretion.”
I did an indepth word study of the word guard, and I got so excited at the various meanings and ramifications that I want to share them with you. Envision yourself in picturesque San Juan, Puerto Rico, about to go see the fort El Morro. You just flew in and checked into your hotel, ready and raring to go sightseeing.
Let me set the scene in our daughter Jennifer’s words. She lives there with her husband, and this is a portion of a letter of hers from several years ago:
Hello to all from sunny San Juan! Today is the most beautiful day here. The sky is so blue with not a cloud in sight, and the flamboyant trees look so green and lush with their tropical red-orange blossoms dotting their foliage. The flamboyant is our national tree.
Last evening, we took our nightly bike ride through old San Juan. Let me set the scene: Old San Juan was founded hundreds of years ago, with its narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful ancient churches with colorful icons shining brightly from their windows, and two-and-three-story homes and apartments all connected together for miles, each with pastel fronts and romantic balconies overlooking the Caribbean.
Onward to El Morro, one of the forts in the old city. Here is where we ride.
Beyond the wall with a drastic drop to death lies a centuries-old cemetery—such an old romantic cemetery with so many stories to tell...
...bright white marble angels...
...a beautiful marble Mary holding baby Jesus.
Beyond all this is another wall and then...
...the dark forbidding ocean.
Can you picture it? The moon full and high, shining down on the marble cherub children making them glow and maybe...dance?
What a great word picture. Thanks, Jennifer.
With a fort in mind, let's look at the derivatives of the word guard.
1. Guarded means “cautious.” We need to be cautious. With good ol’ Ben, I had a cautious reluctance toward him from the outset.
2. Guardian means “one who guards; protector.” We need to protect our feelings and emotions. With good ol’ Ben, I staked my territory and protected my heart.
3. Guardrail means “a railing for guarding against danger; a barrier placed along the edge of a highway at dangerous points.” We need to erect guardrails in the areas we're most likely to fall. With good ol’ Ben, I had built a barrier long before he came on the scene by keeping my relationship with my husband fresh and up to date.
4. On guard means “defensively watchful; alert.” We need to be alert to the temptations around us. With good ol’ Ben, the moment he--gasp--rubbed my leg, I was defensive of my territory. The word defense, according to Webster’s, comes from the Latin defensa, meaning vengeance. I reacted with a vengeance when he got on my turf.
5. Off guard means “in an unprotected or unsuspecting state.” We shouldn't be unsuspecting. We are able to sniff out danger. With good ol’ Ben, I knew what he was up to, and I let him know right off the bat, I ain’t buying what you’re selling, Bud.
I hope these helped someone.
Would anyone like to share how you've guarded your heart?
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