Our hearts can be led astray. They can be led down the wrong road in choices about our future and our relationships. When that happens, we can suffer consequences which range from disappointment with the outcome, ourselves and others. Sometimes the consequences are sadness and personal regret. But other times, those consequences affect many other people, resulting in their sadness and upset lives. Because the heart is such a fragile part of our anatomy (emotionally-speaking), there is a proverb that warns us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

So how do we guard our hearts? To guard means to keep safe from danger, protect, watch over, keep under control. In order to keep our hearts out of danger, we must keep away from harmful influences. These influences attack our hearts by penetrating our minds and our eyes with wrong messages and unhealthy images. Avoiding these pitfalls is the first step toward protecting our hearts.

The second step is to reject any incoming dangerous or harmful messages. We can accidentally run into these dangers even when we’re avoiding them. For example, you may avoid negative, critical people as much as possible, but there may be some people you can’t avoid and have to be in contact with. At times like these, it is important to be prepared for the assault, and be ready to fight mentally, even if it’s to give yourself positive self-talk. With the Internet, we may try to avoid negative input, but unwanted images might sneak through. Take a stand by blocking any unwanted, illicit or harmful sources.

Another way to guard your heart is to “fill” it with good input. Seek good friends, wise counsel, uplifting information to read and fix in your mind. The Bible says we should think about things that are good, pure, and lovely. Filling our minds with good things keeps the bad from having a place to rest.

And finally, think about the possible outcome if you allow yourself to be drawn down a potentially hazardous path. Ask yourself before you make a decision -where will this path take me? Will it take me someplace I want to go? How will it affect my life tomorrow, next month, next year? How will it affect my family or friends? If none of those answers are good, put up a big “Stop” sign and keep those dangerous thoughts away.