What Does “Guarding Your Heart” Mean?

Proverbs 4:23

“Guard your heart above all else
for it determines the course of your life.”

If there is one phrase I have heard so many times in my life yet haven’t really fully understood, it would be this:

Guard your heart.

I mean, I know I am supposed to guard my heart for my future, especially my future husband, but I’ve never really got exactly HOW I am supposed to.
What exactly does this passage mean?

Yes, I have saved myself for marriage and have only dated a handful of times, but does that mean I’ve successfully guarded my heart?

What does it look like to actually guard it?

Proverbs 4:23 shows us just how important guarding our hearts is, as it determines the course of your life, but how are we supposed to guard our heart when we don’t really know how to?

I’ve rolled around this thought and came across different answers throughout my years, but each time I never really found a real conclusion… until a couple days ago. I was reading through a Bible app on my phone when I came across Psalm 119:9 (ESV).

“How can a young man (woman) keep his (her) way pure?
By guarding it according to Your Word.

I am pretty sure I have read that passage many of times, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that I really got what it said:

We guard our hearts according to God’s Word.


(Just a quick side note: I’m not sure we will ever fully understand how exactly we should guard our hearts. We can make a list or steps to take or do our best to do what Scripture says, but life and mistakes happen. We’re human and we don’t always make or follow the wisest decisions. Know it’s okay if you aren’t successful and end up giving your heart away to someone who doesn’t deserve it. With God there is always healing, grace, redemption, and multiple second chances. He is able to create new and make pieces whole. From here on out there is hope for you. Start here and start new.)


So, what exactly does Scripture say?

How exactly do we guard our heart?

And can we guard our hearts without completely walling ourselves off?

Here is what I have come up with so far:

Know God has your best interest in store for you!

He’s not going to ask you to do anything that will give you second best, worsen your life, or cause you any harm. He has the best future for you, the best man for you (and guys the best woman for you), and the best guide book the world has to offer: the Bible.

When we know His Word, we know His voice, and when we know His voice we can have a relationship with Him. When we have a relationship with Him, we have a better understanding of His will and can make wise decisions about our life.

You will know if He says, “Nah, that’s not him.” or “Just trust me with him, I got this.” or “Yeah, go for it. This is the guy!”

Know who you are in Christ.

Know your worth, the wealth of your heart, and own it. You are a treasure and a prized possession! You are someone worth waiting for!

I am currently going through this book right now by Christa Black (God Loves Ugly) that is changing my life. In one of her chapters (8), she deals with her struggle with men, feeling unlovable, and the truth of who she truly is. She pointed out in one part that she only attracted exactly what she believed she deserved: nothing (p. 163).

Later on she expands a little by saying, “You will attract what you believe you deserve. If you believe the guy you want will never want you back, then he won’t. If you believe you’re worth being beaten up on, you will continue to attract the same lowlife who will hit you. If you believe you’re always going to be the friend and not the lover, then you will continue to be the friend. If you believe you can’t get a guy to love you unless you have sex with him, then you’ll get sex and not always love” (p. 166).

Stay away from anything harmful in our lives

(sometimes this requires painful sacrifices, but God always has our best interest in mind).

2 Timothy 2:22 says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” This passage is not sugarcoated. By flee, Paul means FLEE. Don’t flirt with the idea of something “bad;” just stay away from it (in other words, draw a standard of purity and live above it).”

The body isn’t the only thing involved when two people are having sex. The heart is also affected in some way, even unconsciously, because the heart and soul are affected by every single thing we do” (God Loves Ugly, p. 175).

In Philippians 4:8-9 Paul instead instructs us to pursue what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. He also tells us to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Know “He has made everything beautiful in His time…” (Ecc. 3:11).

One of my favorite quotes says, “Do what you love and you will find someone who loves the same thing. Do not look for love, beg for love, or suffer for love. Just live.” 
When we delight ourselves in the LORD, He gives us the true desires of our heart… in His perfect timing.

I know this is SO hard to do.
I’m in this process myself with a guy I’m super interested in. But again, God has our best interest in mind. I find whenever I surrender areas of my life to Him, He always somehow makes things work out WAY better than I ever could in my own power. A friend of mine spoke recently about sacrifices she had felt God had asked her to give up. She shared example after example of how through those sacrifices God had asked of her, there was always a sweet surprise at the end.

If you feel like God is asking you to trust Him with your love life,

And last… keep seeking Christ, reading your Bible, and lifting your future up in prayer.

God will give you wisdom on what standards to set (don’t be afraid to aim high!) and how to best guard your heart. 


It will all be worth it!

One of these days you will be grateful you made a stand to live a life of purity. A life that honors God is all areas.

Remember, where your heart and desires are… there your life will follow.


Many blessings to you,
~Woman of Purity


8 thoughts on “What Does “Guarding Your Heart” Mean?”

  1. I don’t see how this proverb (Proverbs 4) or the verse that everyone loves to pluck from it (v. 23) has anything to do specifically with marriage or romantic relationships. It is a father talking to his son telling him to seek wisdom and avoid evil…. yet, somehow we as Christians use this to tell girls to not feel romantic about a man unless they’re ready to marry. What?


    1. You know, that is a very excellent point that I’ve kind of wondered but haven’t had a chance to fully process. Let me get back to you on that (mostly because I wrote this post a long time ago and can’t remember what I said haha). Thank you! 🙂


  2. This was very helpful for me. In just ended a 4 year relationship because God lead me to just that. I’m struggling now on if I made the correct choice. After my ex told me he did not know if marriage was in his plans I sought guidance from God. He replied and such a way I could not deny it was him speaking to me. But know my heart is hurting and I have doubt on if I will ever find love again. The post above really reassured me that God has something much better for my life in his time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nene, I apologize that I took so long to reply to your message. I am so sorry to hear of the heartache you went through last year… and I am so grateful that this post was able to encourage you. I hope you’re doing well and continuing to heal/be whole. If you’re comfortable doing so, I’d love an update on how you are doing and how God has worked in your life since your comment!


  3. I enjoyed your article. Guarding your heart includes every area of your life. After all, the Scripture “out of your heart flows the issues of life”, means that your heart will determine the course of your life. That includes dating and marriage. We should exercise wisdom in these areas as well as every area in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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