One of my favorite ways to study the Bible is doing a word study. Additionally, I love discussing how our thoughts drive emotions and behavior. So when God’s Word uses the phrase, “guard your heart and mind”, I’m leaning in! Get big insights from the Word Bible Study and learn 5 ways to guard your heart and mind.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Guard Your Heart and Mind Meaning
In order to do this word study I used the free online tool, Blue Letter Bible with the key verse Philippians 4:6-7. I can’t wait to share what I learned about the meaning of “guard your heart and mind”.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Will guard Greek: PHROUREO
Definition: To guard, protect by military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight.
Let’s take a closer look at the definition. Our heart and mind are being guarded to prevent a hostile invasion. Hostile means antagonistic or oppositional and invasion means unwelcome intrusion.
We all have unwelcome, antagonistic and intrusive thoughts at times. These kind of thoughts are lies that oppose the Truth of God.
The second part of the definition is to “keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from fleeing“. It made me think about how our unexpected circumstances or the hard seasons can make it hard to hang onto the promises and character of God. Like inhabitants fleeing a city, truth has a way of fleeing my mind in the hard places of life.
Guarding is necessary to hang onto the truth hidden in our hearts and to block lies that are trying to make their way into our heart and mind. This “guarding“ is also preventative, defined by Strongs biblical dictionary as “a watcher in advance“. At the beginning of verse seven, it says “the peace of God“is what guards before the lies come in and before the truth please. We’ll talk more about how to get that peace shortly.
Heart Greek: KARDIA
The Greek word for heart is defined as the center of spiritual and physical life. It is also defined as the fountain and seat of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes and endeavors. The heart is also the center for our understanding and intelligence, will and character.
From this definition, it is pretty clear how powerful our heart is in our life. I was recently watching one of the Jurassic Park movies – the “control room“ had authority over the entire park. The control room had the capability to open and close doors, control lighting and give audible orders. Everything in the park was driven by the control room.
Our hearts are the driver of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors, will and character. It impacts how we understand the world around us. Praise God that the peace of God has the power to guard our heart.
We can also praise God that we are not left to the care and shaping of our heart. He works in, through and with us on the matters of the heart.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
Mind Greek: NOEMA
Blue letter Bible gives several definitions of the mind, but I am going to highlight the first one. “Mental perception, thought“. Let’s go deeper still – perception is defined as “becoming aware of something through our senses. “
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
We are told not to lean on our understanding or perception, rather trust the Lord. I am tempted every day, all day, to perceive my life based on tangible things. I determine emotions such as fear, anxiety, hopelessness based on what I see, hear and feel. Our gracious God says, don’t do that, I have something more for you. Let My peace guard your heart and mind.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Guard Your Heart and Mind: 3 Lessons
What can we learn from this word study: guard your heart and mind? Three things stuck out to me…
1. Invitation for Participation
Paul tells us that the peace of God is what guards your heart and mind. Does God just give me that peace or do I have to do something for that peace? The answer is yes, to both. God‘s spirit dwells in you if you’ve put your faith in Christ. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit dwelling in you (Galatians 5:22).
Paul also gives us an indication of our part in acquiring that peace in verse six. He plainly states – prayer plus supplication plus thanksgiving equals the peace of God. This is our invitation for participation in the peace of God guarding your heart and mind.
2. Invitation for Transformation
The Bible clearly endorses prayer. Prayers of a child of God are powerful and effective (James 5:16b). We see Jesus model prayer with his Heavenly Father and we are called to do the same.
When we come to God prayerfully, it changes us. Prayer develops a deeper reliance on god. Additionally, it deepens our relationship with God. Supplication is simply depending on God through asking Him to tend to our life and circumstances.
Giving thanks is also transformative. We are called to give thanks in every circumstance is (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Modern research indicates increased levels of joy and many other positive emotions occurring when we practice gratitude. Prayer and supplication shifts our eyes to the character of God and practicing gratitude shifts our eyes to the mighty works of God. This causes us to experience more of the peace of God and that is what guards our heart and mind.
3. God is the Heart Surgeon
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26–27
We learned earlier that the heart is the control center for our thoughts, passions, desires, will, character and endeavors. Additionally, we learned the peace of God guards our heart. He does not leave us to manage our own heart. Instead, He gives us a new heart and helps us through his Holy Spirit to transform our hearts sanctification and even guards our hearts. He is so good!
5 Ways to Guard Your Heart and Mind
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:7
Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Be intentional in cultivating time to pray. Prayer deepens our reliance and relationship with our Heavenly Father (Matthew 7:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
2. Make Requests
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
What is God calling you to lay down and give to Him? He is the One who can change anything in a single moment – give Him your burdens.
3. Practice Gratitude
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Gratitude is God’s call to His people because He knows what is good for us. Giving thanks increases joy, along with many other positive emotions. You can’t practice gratitude and experience negative emotions at the same time. The two can’t exist together.
4. Renew Your Mind
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God‘s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Renewing your mind is another way you can guard your heart and mind. Scripture has transformative power from lies getting in or truth fleeing our heart and mind in difficult times.
5. Take Thoughts Captive
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
When we know Scripture (see #4) we can analyze information and separate lies from truth more effectively. We are able to expose lies that have made their way into our heart and mind as well. Taking thoughts captive is a powerful way to guard your heart and mind. Get the free Bible study here.
Wrapping Up: 5 Ways to Guard Your Heart and Mind
Knowing that our mind receives information based on our perception (5 senses) and our heart is basically the control center of all we feel and do – guarding your heart and mind is pretty important. We can count on God to help us with that necessary guarding.
We can also do our part as well. Recap: 5 ways to guard your heart and mind includes being prayerful, laying our burdens down and practicing gratitude. Additionally, renew your mind with Scripture and take thoughts captive.