“Keep [guard] your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV).

I was intrigued by the layers of protection surrounding my host’s African home. Ominous-looking barbed wire and broken glass stood atop a wall-fence whose massive steel gates were guarded night and day by armed sentinels. The guards weren’t terribly intimidating, but the message seemed clear to me: This property is well guarded. KEEP OUT.

Those protective measures were needful in my friend’s community, because real and dangerous threats did exist outside their wall-fence. They lived among those suffering the worst possible type of persecution—separation from the God who loves them. Few had any awareness that the God who created them desired relationship with them.

That’s the reason my friends had moved from the other side of the world to live in their neighborhood! The evil and corruption outside their gates didn’t cause my friends to withdraw in fear behind a well-guarded wall. It compelled them to move toward those who hadn’t yet experienced the love of God.

Daily they welcomed unbelievers into their home and into their hearts. My friends’ well-guarded property had been established from a heart of love—not from a heart of fear.

My time in that world of wall-fences and guards helped bring fresh understanding to the instruction in Proverbs 4:23. I’ve begun exploring with Jesus the ways fear is often the motivator for guarding my heart.

I’m inviting Him to begin shifting that focus to one of love. And I’m learning to ask Him who needs to experience today His streams of life that are within me.

I invite you to consider these questions on your journey with Jesus today:

  • When I guard my heart out of fear, what do I notice about my posture toward and conversations about others?
  • What differences and similarities exist when I guard my heart out of love? How might the world experience these differences?
  • What is God’s heart for placing within me “springs of life”?


Written by Carrie Gaul, Liaison for International Outreach and Staff Care with Revive Our Hearts, a brand of Life Action Ministries.