It was always obvious when our Tiger was angry. Like this cat, his eyes would dilate and his ears would lie flat. That flicking tail did not mean he was any too happy. And of course, the hissing, spitting and odd moaning sounds were a sure indication that he was ready to strike. Sometimes his back would arch and his fur would stand on end. At that point, I did not argue with him but just got out of there!
Today’s verse tells us just how important our feelings are. The strong emotions we feel are the motor behind so much of what we do. That is why it is so important to guard our hearts from emotions that fester, build, and boil over to hurt others or hurt ourselves.
Guarding our hearts is an intentional activity. Like a soldier guarding an entrance, we can be disciplined and vigilant about what we allow ourselves to feel. Rather than nursing a hurt, we can choose to let go and forgive. Rather than feeling envious of others, we can choose to be thankful for what we have. Instead of stoking the fires of our anger, we can seek reconciliation. With the Spirit’s help, we do not have to be the victims of our emotions. Our thoughts can turn to what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and admirable (Phil.4:8). Thinking on these things can guard our hearts from those negative emotions.
I do not share these warning signs with a cat. But I have my own. When sleep eludes me, when I cannot face that person or when my stomach is in knots, then I know my heart is not right.
Make my heart right today, Lord.