Guard Their Hearts

The season of love has my mind focused on the hearts of my children.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. ~Proverbs 4:23 {The Message}

As I read this verse in my quiet time a few weeks ago, I understood the implications for myself, but I felt as though it was a calling for myself as a mother as well. To me, it also read…

Keep vigilant watch over your children’s hearts; that’s where life starts.

Guard Their Hearts

Children are just that: children. They are not fully wise to the ways of guarding their hearts. As parents, we have a responsibility to train them in these ways and, in the meantime, help “keep vigilant watch” for them as they learn.

I don’t want to be accused of sheltering or being over-protective, but when the Bible gives us a command that leads to life, I want to follow it and point my children in the same direction!

So what can we do to guard their hearts in these developmental years?

1. Monitor what goes in.

TV, video games, computer, books, music – media is a bigger part of our children’s lives than at any time in history. It is also easier to access for them than it ever has been before. My 4 1/2 year old can run the DVR and iPad better than some adults I know! But I am still the parent and I am responsible for making sure the things that go into his mind follow this verse:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV84)

2. Talk about what comes out.

Since I can’t always control what my children hear and sin is a part of our world, sometimes things come out of their mouth that catch me by surprise!

Hearing negative words come out of the mouth of my children alerts me there is something else going on inside.

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Don’t panic when this happens! Use it as an opportunity to find out their understanding of what they just said. Kids often repeat things without knowing their meaning. They may just need to be told that what was just said is not appropriate and that’s enough.

When the words are said on purpose, more discussion will obviously needed. Try to get to the heart of the problem instead of just applying consequences immediately. Leave the door open for them to share their feelings and discuss repercussions calmly. Hopefully this will make your child more comfortable with opening up in the future.

3. Pray, pray, pray!

Pray for the protection of their hearts every single day! Pray with them so they know their hearts matter to you! And teach them to pray for their own hearts – when something ugly or unsettling enters in, teach them to pray that God would remove the bad and fill them with His goodness!

One of the most important things in this whole process is to let your children know this is a battle ALL of us must fight! Our hearts are precious to God which means they are Satan’s biggest targets. Share your own struggles when appropriate and let them pray for your heart as well!

Check out the sweet book, I Love You No Matter What, to reinforce to your child that your love – and God’s love – is unconditional! The status of their hearts should never change how much you love them and they need to know that!

Which of the heart-guarding steps listed above do you want to take action on today for yourself or your children?

Erin Mohring is a follower of Jesus Christ, a doctor’s wife, and stay-at-home mom to three lively young boys. The hubby and Erin have been blissfully married for nine years. Big J is six, Little J is almost four, and Double J just joined the fam in March of 2012! She’s learning quickly about life in the world of boys – which you can follow at Home with the Boys!