Christine Hoover answers:
At Christmas, I make caramelized popcorn as a gift for friends and neighbors. In order to perfect the caramel coating, the mixture must boil for a very specified amount of time at extreme heart. While it’s boiling, I have to stir constantly, watching for the liquid to turn a caramel color that will let me know it’s ready. Then I must immediately remove it from the heat and coat the popcorn before the mixture hardens. I have learned from experience that without my constant diligence and hovering presence, the popcorn will be ruined because it hardens too quickly.
The same hardening process occurs in our hearts when we aren’t diligent in watching over them…We need the Holy Spirit’s constant help to remain available and moldable before God. Without our submission to the Spirit on a daily basis, it is impossible to have a soft heart and to serve Him as He has called us to. Without that submission, we invite temptation and distraction to draw us away to emotional places and wrong thoughts that harden our hearts…
It is no wonder that the Bible entreats us to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The literal translation reads, “Above all guarding, guard your heart.” We are to guard our hearts more than our children, more than our marriage, more than our reputation, more than our home, more than our schedule, and more than our church. (Taken from The Church Planting Wife, p. 20-21.)
You will fail all those you love and your endeavors will come to nothing if you neglect this one, necessary duty. If you want to love God, your family, your church, and your neighbor well, above all things, guard your heart .