As much as I love these words from Proverbs 4: While I am sure it often comes from the mouths of well-meaning believers, I think the majority of us presume all the wrong things about what it means to follow this command. Imagine a young woman is asked to coffee by a male friend. He seems to be a nice guy, and she is interested, so she says yes. The last time I heard Proverbs 4: Where exactly in this verse does it suggest we shield ourselves from potential hurt by putting up walls?
What I found is that this Proverb is actually telling us to pursue wisdom by protecting our hearts from evil.
That is because wisdom brings health and continues to sustain and secure the path of the one who does this. The commands in vv. I was dreadfully fearful of having my heart broken again. Yet, at the same time, I recognized that if I had absolutely any interest in falling in love with him at all, I was going to have to let go and be myself.
I needed to be genuine and vulnerable, not put up walls and protect my heart with an impenetrable shield. As we got to know each other, I needed to keep myself in check by searching his heart, uncovering his intentions and asking for advice from mentors. These are all ways that I was able to keep wisdom.
Fortunately, Matt followed up our coffee date by contacting me every day that followed and then asking me out on a formal date just a few weeks later.
He picked me up, took me to dinner and made it crystal clear that he wanted to date me and pursue marriage with me. Had he not followed up casual coffee with clear actions and words, then it would have been my responsibility to close the door and move on.
And the only way I could have ever determined his heart and intentions was to encourage his pursuit of me and open up to him in return. Marriage is always between two sinners, which means that each party will at some point fail the other. In reality, marriage was created by God to reflect Christ and his love for his bride, the church Ephesians 5: This is a love that has no borders or boundaries.
How could we ever love like that if we are constantly guarding ourselves from hurt? Within marriage, we can properly guard our hearts by fighting the evils that aim to ensnare us and threaten our God-made covenants.