One of my favorite verses is Prov. 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life.” Protect what’s deep within you, because that’s where your life begins. I believe this passage gives us at least 3 charges:
1. Our heart is the source of our purity. We must protect it from sin.
Our hearts are in the process of sanctification and transformation by the work of the Holy Spirit. If we have any desire to grow and become more and more like Christ, we should keep ourselves away from sin:
• The lure of internet pornography or hidden affairs
• Shaving the corners of our integrity in how we handle company resources
• Suppressing strong feelings until they erupt in a volcano of anger onto those we love
• Numbing the pain of life by pursuing addictive behavior
This Proverb is telling us, Stop it! That stuff is killing your heart, and that’s where your very life comes from.
2. Our heart is the source of our joy. We must protect it from depletion.
Acts 14:27 tells us that one of the signs of God’s work in our lives is that He fills our hearts with joy. Many of us, perhaps all of us, experience settings, or know people who deplete us. Guarding our heart might mean:
• Setting boundaries on our work hours, or saying No to certain obligations
• Setting boundaries on destructive relationships until we can repair them
• Setting boundaries on our unrealistic expectations for ourselves.
• Setting boundaries on the lies of the Enemy that we listen to, and consent to.
This Proverb is telling us, Stop killing your hearts! You need joy in your lives. Draw boundaries around those matters that deplete you.
3. Our heart is the source of our passion. We need to unleash it for impact.
Sometimes we men are broken when we think of the word “passion”. We immediately go to hot and heavy thoughts of women, rabid excitement over our sports team, or else we don’t go anywhere at all. That’s because we have learned to ignore and hide the feelings and emotions that God gave us.
The fact is we men DO have emotions. We just need to look in the right places. Here are some signs:
Who are the people that tug at your heart?
• A homeless man?
• A child living in poverty?
• A young girl sold into prostitution?
• Single moms trying to raise their kids alone?
There’s a clue in that tug.
What moves you to tears?
• A piece of music or artwork?
• A sunset over a lake?
• A character or a scene in a movie?
• A story of a person being rescued or served?
There’s a clue in your tears.
What brings a smile to your face?
• A hike through a forest in the early morning?
• A moment of honesty between two friends?
• Teaching a child a new sport
• Telling someone for the first time that God actually loves them
There’s a clue in your smile.
What is a value you’d be willing to fight for, even die for?
• Bringing justice to those who are mistreated
• Teaching spiritual truth to those who are simply lost
• Serving those who are ignored or hurting
• Leading with integrity no matter the cost
Yes, there are deep clues here, too.
Guarding our heart means realizing it is the source of our passion. It’s where our deepest beliefs and most profound hopes reside.
Men, as we consider the priorities of this year, I urge you to ask the Lord,
• What lines do I need to draw to protect my purity?
• What boundaries do I need to establish to protect my joy?
• What action do I need to take in order to unleash my passion?
“Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life.”
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.