Heart-Guarding (and other ways to whitewash a tomb)

So there were a couple questions raised on the subject of girls being constantly told to “guard their hearts.” Ok yes, I know that the questions were actually addressed to Lizzie, but I am nonetheless horning in with two of my cents.

First: I’m sure all you girls are tired of hearing the older women say this. But as Lizzie astutely pointed out, once girls actually start listening to the advice the older ladies will no doubt stop offering it. The trouble, however, is that no matter how often people offer you this advice, it doesn’t actually make it any easier to do, does it? That’s where the real problem comes in.

Quick aside: If you don’t actually see the point of all this, if you’re thinking to yourself, “Guard my heart? Why on earth would I do that?” then hark back to the old truism about the tape. The first time you stick a piece of tape to something it’s good and sticky. If you then peel it off and stick it to something else it may possibly still stick. The third time, the corners are probably not staying down. Fourth time it’s only limply clinging on in a pathetic sort of way. Do this too many times and you find yourself with nothing more than a dirty, linty piece of cellophane. Similarly (in case you missed the inference), the more times you give your heart away, the less likely it gets that your heart will be capable of staying put. And it’s not just that something in you gets weakened each time this happens. As a matter of fact, something in you gets strengthened as well . . .  your ability to switch the object of your affection. You have trained yourself to have a roving eye – and that habit will certainly not stop simply because you get married.

Right then. Having thus established my street cred as someone in favor of urging girls to guard their hearts, I am now going to promptly switch teams and take issue with the phrase “guard your hearts.” (I’m fully acknowledging that is a Biblical phrase – I’m not disagreeing with Proverbs here. I’m disagreeing with a certain understanding of this which sometimes creeps in.) Here’s the thing. One of my pet peeves (along with boys in my family allowing their socks to droop off the ends of their toes) is people acting as if a young girl’s heart is a beautiful, innocent, tender, blushing frailty which needs constant tending to keep it from getting damaged or spoiled. Pardon me while I dance around in a fury just thinking about that. A young girl’s heart is actually . . .  we might as well be blunt . . . deceitfully wicked. (Don’t blame me – take it up with Jeremiah.) A girl’s heart doesn’t need to be “guarded” as if it’s a rare and beautiful flower that can’t be jostled. What it actually needs to be is saved, disciplined, rebuked, forgiven,  trained, sanctified.

That said, here’s a bit of a hit list on things you can do to train your heart.

1. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of thinking of your heart as an innocent and beautiful treasure which you will tenderly bestow on some worthy knight in shining armor. That’s just a cop out.

2. Just because you “feel” something doesn’t make it ok. We too often think that when we “feel” a certain way, that somehow validates it. If it’s something you shouldn’t be feeling, make yourself stop. Pray for grace. If your “feeling” is a sin, confess it.

3. Don’t be an idiot about stories. Letting yourself swoon and obsess about fictional characters (or actors) may seem innocent – it’s not. If you have problems with infatuations, take an honest look at what you let your mind and emotions do in books and movies. Your imagination is the training ground for real life. If you have swoony pictures of Johnny Depp up on your wall, go take them down. (Go on – do it now. I’ll wait til you get back. And as a spiritual exercise, once you’ve un-taped it from the wall, try taping it back up again and see how well it sticks.)

4. Don’t focus all your efforts and energies on impressing the guys, or getting admiration from them. As you are getting dressed and doing your hair in the morning, if  all your mental energy is expended on imagining what the guys will think when they see you . . . well I guarantee that you will be unable to guard your heart if and when any of your efforts prove successful. If all your conversations in real life and on facebook are conducted for the benefit of any guys who possibly be listening, you have officially given away the store as far as guarding your heart goes. If you’re constantly casting about in the hopes of male attention, well then I think we’ve pinpointed your problem.

5. If the guy is a wimp, a skeeze, a non-Christian, already married, or otherwise unsuitable . . . then no matter how handsome he is, or how complimentary he is about your eyes, don’t let your emotions go there.

But what if he’s not any of those things? What if he’s a great guy? What do you do about your heart then?

A couple things spring to mind. Are you 13 years old? If so then this is not the time to scope out husband possibilities – but it’s a great time for you to be working on training your heart. If he’s a great guy but courting someone else, then now is a great time for you to work on training your heart. If he’s a great guy but is clearly uninterested in you, then now is a great time for you to work on training your heart.

But what if he’s a great guy, and he’s a legitimate possibility? Well I would say that the main thing to keep in mind is that there’s a big difference between being optimistically open to a possibility, and allowing your emotions to gallop away into the rosy horizon of possible relationships. One is being open to something, and one has already closed on something. Incidentally, this one is quite difficult and takes a lot of wisdom. And if you’ve really stunk it up on the above list, it will be next to impossible for you to do this one right.

Lastly, what if you’ve done everything wrong on this list? What if you’re feeling a bit like an un-sticky piece of tape? Well that’s the beauty of forgiveness and grace. You can confess all that, and God will forgive all that. Nothing is hopeless about Christianity – especially not the state of your heart. God’s in the business of giving new ones.

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46 thoughts on “Heart-Guarding (and other ways to whitewash a tomb)

  1. And yet another one for the files. I now have an arsenal of real thoughts to share with my daughter. All things I have thought of and understand completely, but the ability to articulate them – well, you all win the prize on that.

  2. You know, i had never thought about it this way–the heart IS deceitfully wicked. my daughter is only 7 months right now, but I appreciate these articles you are writing–these will be helpful to me down the line!

  3. Well-said!! Thanks for sharing, and you make some often-skipped-over points that would have helped me along the way growing up!

    One question I have that I would love to hear you address is: are we taking this verse out of context when we apply it to romance? From what I can tell, this verse is talking about guarding our hearts from sin, but it is usually applied to guarding our hearts from romance. The justification is often that are avoiding the pain that comes with building relationships and having them change if they don’t work out (I’m not even talking boyfriend/girlfriend here, I’m talking simple church interactions and friendships.) Where in scripture are we instructed to avoid pain? I have seen many young women who don’t act in the church like they should (as a sister in Christ) because they are so concerned that the men are all irresistably tempted when they come around.

    Is there a point where “guarding your heart” can turn into pridefully distancing yourself from people in the body of Christ? Can single women in the church serve single men? Can they encourage, exhort, or show Christian love in practical and visible ways (I’m not talking about physical touch, here, by the way!)?

  4. I love this post, especially, “One of my pet peeves… is people acting as if a young girl’s heart is a beautiful, innocent, tender, blushing frailty which needs constant tending to keep it from getting damaged or spoiled…. A young girl’s heart is actually . . . we might as well be blunt . . . deceitfully wicked.”

    I have see a lot of examples of the former, and I think it is a major problem. The first picture puts more of a responsibility on the parents to guard a frail hothouse flower, which is a pretty passive experience for the daughter. The second puts on a growing daughter a responsibility to proactively “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Prov. 4:23. And that is a valuable lesson for all of life, one that will not lose its usefulness once wedding vows have been exchanged.

  5. A wonderful example of “guarding your heart” when waiting for marriage is when a couple we know who were courting (in the true sense of it) and the father of the girl asked his daughter about her feelings toward the young man, and she responded, “I will get excited when you say it’s o.k. to be excited.”
    Keeping emotions in check is a truly difficult thing to do but obviously this young lady had been well trained and faithfully worked out her training.

  6. Only one comment on this article:
    The verse about the heart being desperately wicked does not refer to Christians. We have been given a new heart (and mind).

  7. Natasha – I completely agree . . . if someone is regenerate then they have been given a new heart. I’m not running with the assumption that all girls are still dead in their trespasses and sins. However, we do know the tendency in all of our hearts towards sin (even after we’re saved.) I just wanted to point out that young girls are not a species exempt from the grueling process of sanctification. The Bible is very clear about remaining sin – and the first step in fighting it is being honest about it. Hope that makes sense of where I was coming from!

  8. Good stuff, Bekah.
    The other day some kind of cool, heavy, dangerous sounding theme music from some movie came on and I caught myself thinking that it could have been your mom’s theme music. (Hope that doesn’t sound bizarre. I think you know what I mean.)
    I love the no-nonsense strength, and joy, that gets written here. I told my husband when I read on here I feel like 1. I’m not allowed to get away with any ugliness and 2. the gospel is radiating out so that I don’t feel heavy and dull and guilty.

  9. Wish I’d known you or been able to hear this advise (along with the past two posts) when I was a young woman. So much pain, shame and regret might have been averted. As a child of alcoholic parents more worried about the drink and the opposite sex I did not have such sage advise available. Maybe I would not have fallen prey to the monster that found me.

  10. Excellent Bekah…
    I liked the– stop-and-go-do-it-now nudge :)
    Appreciate this because unfortunately it rings true.
    I remember what my heart was like before Christ.
    Didn’t need to be guarded “as is”…needed to be TOTALLY cleaned out and that “old me-heart” that still creeps back in from time to time.
    Great post!

  11. Thank you for such a wonderful post. I wish I had known all of this when I was young, but Lord willing, my daughter will!

  12. Good post. This is great for me to begin considering for my two girls.
    I also grew up with the guard your heart mentality, but now do not like the term. And will be teaching my girls differently.

    I think back to how often I was rude or high and mighty to guys thinking that I was “guarding my heart” when I was just insulating my self from the world. Was grace ever extended? Did I take the opportunity to trust the Lord and allow Him to grow my heart? What if I had dated a certain guy and when my heart was “broken” I knew I could run to the God of All Comfort for solace and compassion instead of pretending I didn’t need deeper community. (In no way am I saying I should’ve gone and dated every guy)
    I know this may sound strange but I wish I had been willing to be hurt. I say that because of the place I am in now.

    My husband and I began fostering a couple of years ago and in no way would I want to guard my heart from loving any baby or child that has come into our home, just because they might leave us. Some of my sweetest time with the Lord is knowing I gave my whole heart to a relationship that ended when a child left our family. I understand that a romantic realtionship is far different than and parental relationship, but the guarding of the heart is not different knowing I can run to the arms of Jesus for comfort.

  13. Thanks ladies for these practical posts!

    Now, a question: as a young woman I think I fell in the over-zealous ditch of shrillness and rudeness on more than one occasion. I vividly remember an instance in college where I determined that a Christian young man was being grossly flirtatious by offering to carry my classmate outside if she fainted. Puh-lease. As he was relatively small in stature, I verbally skewered him by offering to do it myself. He responded, “Wow, that was unkind!” Which, technically, it was. As you can tell, I feel a bit guilty over that one. How do you handle a situation where you’ve crossed the line? It’s bound to happen, since these uncomfortable situations don’t give you much time to think about your response. I have never apologized, since a personal and sincere apology seems like it invites even more unwanted intimacy to your relationship. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance,

    Audrey

  14. This is great! I feel privileged, after reading so many comments from grown-up women, that I am only just 14 when I read this. Thank you Rebekah!

  15. Awesome. Where were you when I really needed this in college? Oh, wait! You were with me! A thousand thanks for that.

  16. Amen!

    My parents solemnly exhorted me to guard my heart when I was growing up, and I took it seriously. Although I am certainly not impervious to sin, I can gratefully say that their wise instruction has paid off. By God’s grace, I have never had my heart broken, and my only love has been my husband.

    My fear is that it sounds holier-than-thou to even say, “This worked for me,” among many women who are saying they wish they had heard it before. But…there are some of us out here. It is absolutely possible to enter marriage with your tape still sticky, but it is by God’s grace every step of the way!

    My only regret is taking my heart-guarding TOO seriously. What I mean is, I spent a lot of time agonizing over the status of my heart, and weeping miserable tears over things as simple as finding a guy good-looking. “How could I let myself think such impure thoughts!? Aaaaugh!” Now that I read your critique of the term “guard your heart”, I realize why I might have felt this way. The phrase implies that you never let any young man into your heart – nobody, ever, unless you’re engaged or something. It implies that if you’re struggling with feelings for a man who isn’t “yours”, you’ve failed in your maidenly duty and somehow jeopardized your lovely purity!

    Pfff.

    I think, although I avoided the broken-heart-drama, I created a different kind of drama all to myself. 😉

    Honestly, guys will get in. We all get crushes. We all struggle with jealous or romantic ideas we shouldn’t be entertaining. Our hearts are fertile soil for these kinds of things, so we shouldn’t be shocked or horrified to see them sprouting. The key is to immediately uproot them when we find them poking out of the dirt.

  17. My husband, who is much wiser then me in these issues, has taught our girls about controlling where there attentions go, and to take notice when they find they are having a desire to grab the attention of a particular boy.
    I was quite surprised by what he said. He told them “Can you imagine if I saw a pretty women, and I did not control myself, and I began to talk and laugh with her, and put my arm around her, like I do your mother?” “Well of course I would not do that.” “I would control myself, wouldn’t I.” “And so can you.” That blew me away. As a women who spent most of her young life, giving her heart away, the idea that emotions could be controlled was foreign to me.

    The great news for women like myself is, God can, and does actually give brand new tape for those who humbly repent and ask. And even for those who take years to realize they where that kind of women. : ) Blessings

  18. Excellent posts this week. You ladies are sort of on fire. In the very best kind of way.
    thanks for sharing.
    I particularly appreciate your remarks about:
    “people acting as if a young girl’s heart is a beautiful, innocent, tender, blushing frailty which needs constant tending to keep it from getting damaged or spoiled. ”
    I think sometimes young ladies, who have seen that they have real…even sinful hearts, may tend to fall into greater sin when they see they have no credentials for membership in that imaginary fellowship of sinless maidens who are pure as the driven snow. So, there is then a tendency to capitulate and give in to sin which might have been avoided.
    Excellent post……you have said it very well.

  19. I only recently discovered your website, but I delight greatly in the Lord and seek wisdom like the pearl she is. Whenever I hear wisdom proclaimed I am filled to overflowing with joy, and that is exactly the case whenever I read the words here. The Lord is so kind to me. Thank you for your faithfulness.

    Lisa J.-
    Please know that the Lord bore witness to any crimes that were committed against you in secret, and He will judge them on the last day. He was with you then, you were not alone, you were not unloved, you were not reviled. And for those sins in which you were complicit, He was there as well. And that is why He sent His beloved Son to live and die for you. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There is, therefore, now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. When He sees you, He sees you hidden in the radiant robes of His perfect Son and He loves you. Your past is part of your testimony, or rather how God is working all things for the good of you, who have been called according to His purpose. When you feel that shame’s darkness settle on you like a mantle, I can say with absolute confidence that the Spirit will use the aforementioned verses to cut it from your shoulders. And where your trust in others and even the Lord has been violated, He is faithful to rebuild it. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIm and He shall direct your path. Seek Him first, Lisa. He is such a good God and He has a plan especially for you–trials and all. Rejoice!
    With love-
    Lori

  20. While this is an excellent post, I want to point out, in line with your point about our hearts being deceitful and wicked, that I don’t know a woman who hasn’t, as you say, “really stunk it up” on one of the numbers above. I realize you’re only trying to motivate young women to be emotionally pure and practice self-control, otherwise things only grow more difficult with time. But there’s really no such thing as the perfect romance, the perfect husband, the perfect marriage. It’s just as important to point out how easily relationships become an idol, to unmarried and married alike. For those of us who have really stunk things up, it’s not too late. Where there is serious sin, leave us with something more than regret. For those of us who have been grievously sinned against by fathers, brothers and husbands, leave us with something more than “woe is me, my tape is no longer sticky.” Yes, God redeems hearts, God redeems relationships, and if we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desire of our hearts. But that doesn’t always turn out to be a perfect marriage.

  21. Great great great! Ditto that you all are on fire. Just keep typing, okay? Bekah, these things on older girls are fab and we want more! I’ll take anything on girls 8 and up. :)

  22. Do you have any practical suggestions for not getting too deep into affections for someone who has not expressed interest in you? I am in my twenties and probably lots of girls could identify with me on this. You are a marriageable age, meet a really godly, Christ-honoring, mature guy. Not only that, you have a lot in common. It’s not just some cute Christian guy, he’s really really a good man (in the psalmist’s sense of “righteous”). You’re just good friends, but he hasn’t expressed any interest or tried to pursue you. You don’t have any reason to think anything would happen, but feelings start to arise–what then?
    We all have some good “tactics” in our toolbelt: not letting my feelings influence my actions, praying for his future wife, praying for my future husband, asking God to keep him from noticing me if I will not be the “help meet” for him so that he doesn’t spend any of his heart on me, and the same for myself, pray that I find my contentment in Christ, etc… At the same time though, there’s not a simple off switch for feelings like that that are not based in sin. Liking boys is really okay. :) So how we marriageable young ladies handle that other than delight in Christ, accept the trial and fight on? Did I just answer my own question? :)

  23. Thanks for this perspective! This is a very important topic. I think that bit about what *kind* of heart needs to be guarded is key. Many in the “guard your heart” camp can suffer from a lot of pride and self-righteousness which provides it’s own brand of heartbreak. We all need sanctification, and young unmarried girls are definitely not excluded! I do think that parents and girls can embrace the sanctification that comes through the relationships God brings to their lives whether it’s being snubbed by friends or in and out of relationships with guys. It should all turn them back to God, the only one who will NEVER break their hearts.

  24. Ok Ladies, would you PLEASE write a book about this??!!! I need if desperately for raising my precious daughters!!!

  25. KB, I was reading something that Bekah’s father recently posted on faith. He said that our faith does not rise out of nothing … it is built on the foundation of God’s faithfulness. We see God’s faithfulness (foundational work) and our faith begins to work (walls rise). What about …. “ask and receive that your joy may be full (yes, that godly cute guy)”? God is not opposed to us asking for what is lawful … which could result in another perfectly placed stone in the foundation of your faith. And then, He may move in another way (yes, display His faithfulness) a different stone, but one that you will come to see as perfect and perfectly placed. Bekah is so right … we need to ask “against what?” are we guarding. Asking and guarding are certainly not antithetical — in fact, we are asking the Guard to go to work.

  26. You know what teaching makes me want to dance around in fury just thinking about it? The teaching that our hearts are deceitfully wicked and that there is nothing good in them.

    Yes, I know Jeremiah said it. But you’re leaving out the part where we accept Jesus as our savior and He gives us a new heart. If any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION. Old things pass away, and ALL things become new. Our hearts are no longer wicked! We are not just “sinners under grace.” We are born again and made new! And our hearts are not just white-washed tombs. According to Jesus, it was the legalistic Pharisees, with their rules and regulations and lack of love for their fellow men, who were as whitewashed tombs.

    Oh yeah, there is also Psalm 37:4- Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. If all of the desires of our hearts are wicked, then why would God give them to us?

    I also feel that you contradict yourself a bit. You use the analogy of sticky tape to explain how, when we give away our heats, they become less “sticky” over time. But then you say the heart is wicked. If it’s so wicked and bad, why worry about protecting it? If there is nothing of virtue in a young girl’s heart, then what exactly is she trying to protect?

    I understand that not everything we desire is good, and we do have to resist temptation at times. I’m not at all suggesting that young girls should just give their heats away to whomever comes along, or just “do what feels good.” Believe me, I hate that teaching just as much as the other. But teaching young boys and girls that everything in their hearts is bad is EXTREMELY DAMAGING. I’ve seen countless stories of young people who ended up feeling like everything that made them who they were was bad, because it came from their “wicked” heart. None of their feelings could be trusted, even those that legitimately came from God.

    I know this kind of teaching has become fashionable of late, though it’s really nothing new- look at the Puritans, the Calvinists, etc throughout history. But I can’t believe how many people are agreeing with this. We should be teaching young boys and girls to value themselves as children of God and not to cast their pearls before swine. But telling them that everything in their hearts is wicked is not the way to do it.

  27. KB, I am also a single, twenty-something, and know what you’re talking about! Here are some things I do… #1. Pray for God to guide my prayers! #2. Pray for a husband who is most suitable for me. #3. Pray that I would become the kind of woman who will be an excellent Christian wife and mother. #4. It helps me guard my heart if I keep my prayers general. If I meet a good man like you described, I pray for God to mold my feelings and my will to His will.

    I hope I don’t sound like I think I’m so smart–I just appreciate the camaraderie! :) I am so glad for this forum where I can learn from the broader body of Christ.

  28. Ladies, wow! When I was a teenager I struggled with this concept. I kept hearing people say “you need to guard your heart” I would ask ” How ” and nobody could give me an answer. I was prone to becoming too emotionally involved with the young men I met. I led me down a dark path. I want better for my three girls. I also want to teach this concept to my son so he can keep eyes out for the girls he has contact with, and have him learn to protect these young girls from themselves if necessary. I really wish I had learner these things sooner. Please do write a book. It is desperately needed.

  29. Such a good topic to be hashing through, thank you Lizzy and Bekah for addressing it.

    I too was of the generation when the idea of guarding your heart was a hot topic in our circles. (I’m 33 now.) I’m so thankful that my parents and other were willing to struggle with and address this issue in order to try and help guide me and my peers away from thoughtless dating, silliness about boys, etc and towards some new ideals. The fact is my husband was the first man I ever dated/courted and we entered our marriage having a very rational bases for our partnership….besides being “in love” as well, which we were :)

    Although lots of good fruit has come out of the heart guarding school of thought I will whole heartedly agree with some of the others above that this also came with maybe the proverbial pendulum swing too far in the other direction. I was certainly a prideful little snob at times! I had too high an opinion of my own “purity”. However, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. I hope that our generation can teach the next (I have two young daughters now) to guard their hearts without the pride and snobbery that many of us had. I would hate for us to swing too far back the other direction and be so afraid of the snobbery and unkindness that we won’t teach our daughters to stand strong and firm for themselves (see Lizzy’s first article).

    That’s what sanctification is all about for us the church, right? Learning and growing together as a body and applying the good and bad lessons learned to the benefit of the next generation.

  30. Thanks, Rebekah! I so needed to hear this as a teenager. My problem was most definitely infatuation and I got so tired of hearing “guard your heart! guard your heart!” because I could never figure out what that meant or how to do it! But by the grace of God I was shown (in the knick of time I might add) that it was truly about training your heart, trusting God, and always conducting myself in a manner pleasing to Him. That was my responsibility. I never did and never would have control over finding a husband and no amount of conjuring up ideas, false relationships, or wishful thinking would make it happen! What a waste of time! My daughters are very small right now, but my hope for them is that I can adequately convey these thruths to them so they don’t go through the pain and heartache that comes along with this sort of thing. Thanks for putting it so bluntly and truthfully! I love your humor-always a blessing!

  31. So, because I disagreed with you and pointed out a contradiction in your article, my comment doesn’t get posted?

  32. Sarah’s comment was insightful. Here is another, (perhaps unhelpful) but assuredly complementary, angle on a certain type of “guarding” — could it be at times under the cloak of “guarding” is really a resilient pride that refuses to be vulnerable? As I look back on that season, my twenties, I see God building much needed (and still much needed) humility and dependence on Him. Not all self-protection is sin, but I am sure there is a strain of it that is not healthy. From C. S. Lewis’s The Four Loves: Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”
    To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

    Those familiar with C. S. Lewis’s life know what he thought of his own type of guarding.

  33. AAnderson, I agree. I suppose this answers the dilemma of guarding vs. risking better than anything “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack WISDOM, let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Wisdom is the key, and you can’t make a checklist out of it. :)

  34. Maybe I’m missing something but shouldn’t this apply to boys as well? Having raised one daughter and two sons, I can tell you that instilling “guard your heart” in them was just as important(if not more so)for my boys as it was their sister.

  35. Hamdinger,

    It may have already come to your attention, but just in case it hasn’t, I thought I would copy-paste for you below a previous reader’s comment and the author’s response.

    God bless you,
    Lori

    Natasha
    May 1, 2012 at 8:55 am
    Only one comment on this article:
    The verse about the heart being desperately wicked does not refer to Christians. We have been given a new heart (and mind).

    rebekah
    May 1, 2012 at 9:28 am
    Natasha – I completely agree . . . if someone is regenerate then they have been given a new heart. I’m not running with the assumption that all girls are still dead in their trespasses and sins. However, we do know the tendency in all of our hearts towards sin (even after we’re saved.) I just wanted to point out that young girls are not a species exempt from the grueling process of sanctification. The Bible is very clear about remaining sin – and the first step in fighting it is being honest about it. Hope that makes sense of where I was coming from!

  36. PMD – I actually think that is a terrible example. I would be scared for my sons to fall in love with any young woman who waits for permission from her father to “feel excited” about seeing him or talking to him or spending time with him. That is not a young lady “well-trained” but a robot.
    I speak as the mother of 5: one married daughter and one engaged son who were taught there was no point to exclusive pair up with anyone until they were “spiritually, physically, financially, and emotionally ready to marry”. But God forbid, we presumed to tell them when they were allowed “to feel excited” about the man/woman God had prepared for them.

  37. @KB: About guarding yourself against unrequited affections (or infatuations), I’ve definitely been there many times. I second Erin H.’s points, but would go one further: instead of simply praying for the Holy Spirit to renew your thoughts, actually give over those feelings of affection, infuatiation, etc, to God. And keep giving them to God every time they rear their heads again. This way, you’re actively deal with those feelings before they get a chance to take root and get a stranglehold on your thoughts — uprooting the weeds in the good soil of your mind, while also asking the Holy Spirit to replace them with good seeds. I’ve realized that if I can’t let go of those infatuations and imaginations of Christian fellows that lead to nowhere (or worse, to a place of stumbling), God can’t bring a new person to me since I’m holding on to the old things!

  38. I thought this bible verse about ‘guarding your heart’ was in reference to guarding it form sin, not people? Have I misunderstood? Many thanks for your practical post though!

  39. WOW! I absolutely LOVE this article! This really spoke to me, especially the part where you asked if the reader was a 13 year old girl…I am! My two older sister’s are constantly trying to help me guard my heart while reminding me that it’s also a sinful black pit. It’s really hard. But my Mother, sister’s, and articles like these will help me allot! THANK YOU!

  40. I have a question…how do you guard your heart once in a relationship?? I am 22 and dating/courting (whatever you want to call it) a godly young man and this is something we have talked about a bit…what does it mean to guard your heart when you are in a relationship and trying to figure out if you want to marry the other person…what’s the balance between opening up and letting the other person in, entertaining the idea of marrying them and still guarding your heart?

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