Guarding the Heart

I entreat you not to leave your heart unguarded, so long as you are in the body. Just as a farmer cannot feel confident about the crop growing in his fields, because he does not know what will happen to it before it is stored away in his granary, so a man should not leave his heart unguarded so long as he still has breath in his nostrils. Up to his last breath he cannot know what passion will attack him; so long as he breathes, therefore, he must not leave his heart unguarded, but should at every moment pray to God for His help and mercy.

~Isaiah the Solitary

The old emphasis on the vices of the barroom have done a disservice here. We think of guarding our hearts and think of ‘family-safe’ activities, noting what we watch, what websites we visit, what foods we eat, what morals we keep.

Today, though, guarding my heart is not difficult because of encroaching temptations to obvious sins.

The news today seeks to undermine my heart.

It is not lust or gluttony that might get to me. It is politics, leading me to frustration and anger and poor treatment of those I should love. It is the financial news that causes worry and fear. It is the things that most people would say are rational concerns that undermine my hope and stillness today.

So, I must guard my heart. Not necessarily by fleeing and hiding. But, by praying to God for help and mercy.

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