Three Reasons Why You Must Guard Your Heart

Your heart is the most important leadership tool you have. It is not your experience, knowledge, or skills. It is your heart that matters most of all.

A Knight in Full Armor - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #9960629

Photo courtesy of ©

Back in the mid-80s, I started my own business. My partner and I left big corporate jobs, developed a business plan, and began raising money for our new venture.

We had one investor who promised to make a sizable investment. However, he ran us through the ringer. The due diligence process was all-consuming. We really didn’t have time to court anyone else. We made the fatal mistake of putting most of our eggs in one basket.

After months of back-and-forth, the investor decided not to make the investment after all. We were left high and dry, with about $12.00 in our checking account. We were disappointed, angry, and ready to quit. We almost lost heart.

However, that experience wouldn’t be the last time I experienced an assault on my heart. In my journal, I have cataloged almost twenty distinct situations where I was ready to quit and throw in the towel. In fact, as I have grown older, the conflict has intensified.

This is why, I think, as leaders we must be diligent to guard our hearts. King Solomon said it best: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

This is necessary for at least three reasons:

  1. Because your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. I take my garbage to the street every Wednesday night. It is picked up on Thursday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless.

    Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.

    Just like your physical body, if your heart—your spiritual heart—dies, your leadership dies. This is why Solomon says, “Above all else.” He doesn’t say, “If you get around to it” or “It would be nice if.” No, he says, make it your top priority.

  2. Because your heart is the source of everything you do. King Solomon says it is the “wellspring of life.” In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts, words, and actions.

    In Tennessee, where I live, we have thousands and thousands of natural springs, where water flows to the surface of the earth from deep under the ground. It then accumulates in pools or runs off into creeks and streams.

    If you plug up the spring, you stop the flow of water. If you poison the water, the flow becomes toxic. In either situation, you threaten life downstream. Everything depends on the condition of the spring.

    Likewise, if your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and, indeed, your legacy. It is, therefore, imperative that you guard it.

  3. Because your heart is under constant attack. When Solomon says to guard your heart, he implies that you are living in a combat zone—one in which there are casualties.

    Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war. We have an enemy who is bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him—including us.

    I think that pastors are particularly vulnerable. An August 1, 2010 article in the New York Times reports that,

    Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”

    Satan uses all kinds of weapons to attack our heart. For me, these attacks often come in the form of some circumstance that leads to disappointment, discouragement, or even disillusionment. In these situations, I am tempted to quit—to walk off the field and surrender.

This is why if you and I are going to succeed as leaders—and survive as individuals—we must guard our hearts. They are more important than we can possibly imagine. If we lose heart, we have lost everything.

In order to nurture—or recover—your heart, read my post, The Four Disciplines of the Heart.

Questions: What was the last time your heart was attacked? How did you respond? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Patricia Zell

    Through the years, I have found the best way to guard my heart is to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. Psalm 91:14-16 is the basis of my life:

    “Because he has set his love upon Me, thereffore I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

    Honestly, my life is centered on God’s absolute love and my heart overflows with my love for Him. Choosing to seek His knowledge, understanding, and wisdom calms the storms that are pounding against us all. As Deuteronomy 30:20 says, I cleave to my Abba Father for He is my life. And, my heart is safe as I take refuge under His wings. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree with you. I plan to do a post on the “Disciplines of the Heart.” Prayer will be at the top of my list. Thanks.

    • Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for sharing the verse Patricia! I needed that promise this morning. 

  • Dave Hearn

    A good fresh aspect on “guarding your heart”… as a father, I always think of it in the physical and emotional terms in regards to my daughters… but haven’t thought of it in terms of guarding my own heart as I am pioneering ministries and discipling others.

    This is a great nugget for future use as I disciple other leaders.  God, protect our hearts today!

    (p.s. Great stock image-inspiring in itself!)

    • Michael Hyatt

      I was surprised that I found that image. It took as long as writing the post! 

      • Brandon

        It is a great image! 

        • JD Eddins

          It is a great image that definitely adds to the message of this post. 

  • Alece

    where I always get stuck is knowing what it really means to guard my heart. hurts and disappointments cause me to put walls up, but I know that’s not the kind of guarded heart God was instructing us towards. i would love to hear your thoughts on what that phrase really means in a practical sense.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I plan to write a post on that. I think part of it is understanding the difference between an open heart and a closed heart and how to lift or lower the draw bridge of access to it. You might want to take a look at the post I did on “The Importance of  the Leader’s Heart.” 

      • Brandon

        I really liked that post too! 

      • Clinton

         It’s really easy to draw up the bridge and never let it down. I look forward to the planned post.

      • ncarolinafran

        and specifically, how you, Michael, guard your heart.  thanks! 

        • Michael Hyatt

          Got it. Will do. It is a major subject that I am studying during my sabbatical.

      • Alece

        thank you, michael! looking forward to reading that follow-up post!  (and i loved your “importance of a leader’s heart” post too.)

      • Travis Dommert

        I had the same initial thoughts as Alece (i.e. what does it mean exactly to guard it), and after reading “The Importance of the Leader’s Heart” felt affirmed that it is the open heart that has such a positive impact on others.  

        So how/why do we guard our hearts if our biggest impact is made when we keep it open?  Perhaps I’m getting wrapped around the adjectives!

        • Michael Hyatt

          Think of it as a draw bridge to a castle. What stuff do you want to keep out? What stuff do you want to let out?

          • Travis Dommert

            VERY helpful analogy.  There is a lot of crud out there that has no business in or around my heart…materialism, ego, lust, envy, fear…that’s the stuff I need to guard against, all the while I need to keep my heart open to those people and relationships that can benefit from it.  EUREKA!

          • Brian Rensing

            I love this analogy! The funny thing for me is, I sometimes think the village idiot has been assigned to the draw bridge … opening and closing it at all the wrong times. I think that is the tension we live with and struggle to get right. The truth is, there are many Trojan horses out there and we have to be more discerning about what we observe coming our way. Great post!

    • Scott Kantner

      Yes and Amen.   The practical is where it happens, and I would love to hear Michael’s thoughts on that also.

    • Anonymous

      I totally understand building walls up. I did it for years. Now I have learned that we have to risk being vulnerable, even if it hurts.  

      • Robert Ewoldt

        Alece, thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you that sometimes building
        up walls isn’t what it means to “guard your heart.”

      • Uma Maheswaran S

        Being vulnerable …. That’s really one of the qualities of a servant leader. 

        • Anonymous

          Yes, so glad I finally learned that one and quit fighting it. Makes life a whole lot easier. :) 

      • Joe Lalonde

        So true Sundijo.

      • Dan Greegor

         Same here.

  • Alece

    where I always get stuck is knowing what it really means to guard my heart. hurts and disappointments cause me to put walls up, but I know that’s not the kind of guarded heart God was instructing us towards. i would love to hear your thoughts on what that phrase really means in a practical sense.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    The Bible makes it very clear that every believer must guard his heart against all odds (especially through the book of Psalms). The Psalmist says —
    ·         Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24)
    ·         Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8)
    Hence, guarding our heart becomes possible when we lean on God and build our faith and trust on Him. Guarding our heart on our own strength is doomed to fail.
    In John 16:33, Jesus tells, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    In the Bible, there is a repeated plea to gain courage and not to lose heart. Luckily, we have an Almighty Lord to fall back at all times. And the battle also is not going to be ours. He is there to fight and overcome all our struggles. What an awesome privilege I have! 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Uma. These are great verses. When I was studying this in the Bible, I found that word heart appears over 1,000 times! This alone should tell us how important it is to God. 

      • Uma Maheswaran S

        That’s true Mike! (for our God is a God of hearts! He looks into our hearts and not our external appearance.)

        • Michael Hyatt

          Yes, 1 Samuel 16:7 is a great verse on this: For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

          • Uma Maheswaran S

            Agreed Mike!

          • Patricia Zell

            And that is exactly why we should never judge any other human being. We don’t have enough information to make sound judgements–God alone sees the whole picture. That’s why I seek God for the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom I need and why I try my best to keep out of anyone else’s business. 

          • Michael Hyatt

            AMEN! We never know what another has or is suffering.

      • Brandon

        Wow! I did not know that…very cool! 

  • mary daugherty

    When I was forced out of my job because of illness after 13 years, I thought my heart was going to die.  No way I could hurt so much and live.  I lived.   I love this article. 

  • Jason Fountain

    One of my life verses is Philippines 4:4-9. In verse 6 & 7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything 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.”

    One of my favorite preachers, Timothy Keller, explained this guarding as a fortress. When I’m in a challenging situation, I pray this verse to myself and imagine Jesus himself on alert guarding and circling my heart (he used the word “garrison” to explain how God protects our heart).

    This is certainly not something that I can do on my own, but I love the imagery of God’s peace surrounding, strengthening, protecting, and garrisoning my heart.

    Great post for a Monday morning – thanks for the reminder!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love the garrison analogy. I have used that when I speak on this topic. 

    • Uma Maheswaran S

      Tim Keller is one of my favorites. I love almost all his works.

  • Leah Adams

    What an incredible post! For years I was too free with my heart and I was hurt, then I built so many walls that no one could get in. I have had to find balance with my heart. As I allow the Holy Spirit free reign to remodel and decorate my heart to His liking, I find that I am less apt to just throw my heart out there for anyone and everyone to tread upon.  

  • Steve

    One could argue that Christ’s proclamation of freedom for the prisoners (Luke 4) is all about our jailed, broken heart.  It is proof that the enemy is indeed real.  Our hearts still get broken and shattered.  Only now we have a freedom that we get to claim.  Funny thing is that we still have to do this daily.  What a paradox.  Thanks for this reminder, Mike and hail to the King without whom our hearts would be forever shattered!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that passage from Luke 4. I think it could apply to the heart. Thanks!

  • Gloria Maxx

    On Saturday night it was raining hard and it was cold. It was after midnight, and I decided to go to the grocery store. i saw a man begging for change at the door and I did not have any to give him, as I was planning to use my bank card. He asked for change, and I told him I had none, already planning to buy him groceries. I brushed past him though, as I said I had none.

    When I went in, I spent considerable time and money to buy him groceries. I got him a  meal and  food for later. I saw first of the year cherries, and I abstained from them, fasting from them … and bought them for him instead. As I was about to look for him .. I saw him going to buy a bottle of wine and I handed him the bags. There was a strange moment, almost of cruelty coming form him. He almost laughed at me, and looked into my eyes and said “God Bless”. but in a strange way, almost as though he was acting. The whole exchange gave me the willies. I went to my car, and it had been keyed badly. I am very careful with my car and I always park it out of the way, so it does not get scratched. It was deliberate and vicious, and in my heart I know he had done it. It wounded me but I grew in Christ in forgiving him. I understood his pain in what must have seemed my arrogance as I brushed past him.  Gloria Maxx,Toronto

    • Michael Hyatt

      Wow. What a story. I have been abused in a few similar situations. I eventually think of Jesus who gave so much, yet was treated by many with such scorn and contempt. The fact that he could say (from the Cross), “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing” is such a model of maturity.

    • Joe Lalonde

       Gloria, that is quite a story. I can see Christ in it. Christ gave us this awesome gift and how many times do we key his car before he hands us it?

    • Stephanie


      Often times we feel as though we know what is right for another person. I once had a homeless man tell me, “It’s never the money, it is when you treat me like a person – like you care that I am honored most.” Do you know how many people probably walked past that man and spoke to him in the same manner as yourself? Perhaps they did not hand pick and deliver groceries, but all the same.. the pain they gave cut deep. Alcoholics, drug addicts, people suffering from obesity or anger management all lack something very important – the realization of true love. Groceries can’t buy love, love is love and it is easily recognizable when it comes with sincerity and truly from the heart. I am very sorry that your car was keyed, but I am even more sorry that this man was left to buy his wine and eat cherries rather than experience the true love that God gives.


  • cherylsmith

     This is such a timely post, Mike. For me, the hardest part about guarding my heart is related to step parenting. I must be careful not to allow disappointment to turn into bitterness, or lead me to wall my heart. Good and wise words for a tough Monday morning.

    • Patricia Zell

      Cheryl, God brought you into that child or those children’s lives for a purpose and that purpose is His absolute love. One of the scriptures that gives me solid ground to stand on is Isaiah 54:11-15 (NKJV) as my husband and I daily proclaim that our children (including his daughter) are taught of the Lord and that great is their peace. One of the keys of guarding our hearts is building their foundations on the promises of God.

      • cherylsmith

         Yes, those verses are already underlined in my Bible. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Tolani

    I woke up this morning feeling like throwing in the towel. My heart was struck by a “trusted friend” by a careless comment . Much blessings for this post! My heart can keep beating with love and purpose.You have saved my week from distraction.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The great thing about our hearts is that they can be so resilient. Often times, it just takes awareness a decision to open it back up and not shut down.

  • Dan

     Years ago, I was asked by the leadership of the church I was attending to join their staff; the church vote was just below the required %. I was discouraged and confused. A friend invited me to go hear a guest speaker (preacher) and I enjoyed a night of awesome music and a message that “just happened” to be from 2 Timothy 4 called, “Finish Line Faith” I was encouraged and have been a pastor for the past 7 years.

    • Brandon

      Awesome story! 

    • Uma Maheswaran S

      That’s great Dan! Go on. 

    • Joe Lalonde

       Dan, that is awesome!

  • John

     I appreciate this post. My heart has been wounded quite a bit over the last few years and  I would say that part of me has died. Ministry is hard. It is easy to say “trust God”. I do. My whole life is hinged upon Him.  And yet I find it difficult to balance being vulnerable and being guarded, particularly working with people, and also attempting to be authentic. That balance takes risk.  Hurt is inevitable and inescapable. I believe that part of our suffering in ministry is the hurt caused us by others.  I agree with the post, I do want to become better at guarding my heart – I would like to  hear more about HOW. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I definitely plan to write a “how” post. This one was the “why,” because I felt that people first need to see their heart as valuable and worth guarding.

      • Suz

        Has the “How” post been written yet?  I’m looking for it too!

        • Michael Hyatt

          Not yet. Sorry.

    • Patricia Zell

      The main person we should be vulnerable to is God because He is the only One that has our best interests as His goal for us. We’re all human and we all have our own agendas–that is just a fact of life. Rather than get upset with each other, we might focus on seeking God with everything we have and allowing His love to prevail in our lives 

  • Mark Horrocks

     Thanks for this this. It was just what I needed to hear this morning.  I have been leading a non-profit ministry for 5 years and sometimes I feel just like you said…ready to throw in the towel. I am trusting God will provide and make it happen as He always does.   It is very true about the trickle down from your heart.  It affects those who work for you, your family and you marriage.  I am choosing to guard my heart today.  Thanks for the reminder.  

  • Linda Rawlins

    Clergy can suffer from many things because they are human.  They are human disciples of Christ, but they are humans dedicated to furthering the message of love, peace and unity.  I know there has been much negativity toward clergy lately, but I was lucky enough to have wonderful priests and clergy that influenced my young life and made me appreciate the moments that feed my heart with love. My recent book, The Bench, has a protagonist priest modeled after clergy who suffer from all the human reactions of helping others survive in a difficult world.  Yes, we must guard our hearts but we must also bleed a little in order to grow and learn and appreciate the value of our loved ones, ourselves, and all aspects of our everyday life.

  • Mike Oates

    I heard your talk on this at the catalyst labs last week.  I REALLY enjoyed it.  Thanks for coming and sharing with us. Was great to finally hear you in person after reading your blog for the last year.  Also I am enjoyed tripping on the floor in front of you while trying to get to my seat.   Awesome.  lol.

    • Michael Hyatt

      If it’s any consolation, I didn’t see you trip. I am always concerned that I might trip on stage. THAT would be embarrassing!

      Thanks for coming to my session!

      • Brandon

        It would, but it would be funny! I actually tripped on stage on purpose as a dare in my 6th grade honor roll presentation! Taht was many years ago, but I would still do it again! :) 

  • Jviola79

    This was an EXCELLENT post!!! The last time that I found myself guarding my heart was just over this past weekend. Restraint & holding my tongue was a huge way in which I found myself maintaining safety. It was better to walk away & protect myself from hurt.

    Great stock image!! I think the photo spoke volumes all by itself. But I am still glad you chose to write!!!  :)) Thank you!

  • Carmen

    This is so applicable to me today. This past weekend I almost decided to give up on my marriage. In fact, I did a search on “what to do when you want to give up”. Your site came up and I clicked on your discussion how sometimes you want to throw in the towel.

    I have been married for 18 years to a pastor. Things have been very hard. It’s almost like we have no respite. As my two children and my husband and I held hands last night to pray my 9 year old daughter prayed”…and please Lord let mommy not want to divorce papa.”. I tried so hard not to weep. As I see the Devil trying to ruin us.

    I am determined with my heart to not dwell on those things that are negative, but what the Lord has brought us through. This day I will chose what to think on, what to hope for and what to love.

    “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Carmen. I hope you can get help for your marriage. Don’t be afraid to do that. There is too much at stake not to bring in expert help.

    • Patricia Zell

      I know from experience that God has the understanding and wisdom needed to mend a marriage. One of the biggest issues I faced at the height of the storm of a troubled marriage were my emotions which were all over the place. In the midst of the tears, I honed in on I Corinthians 7:10-16 as an anchor. Because I did not want to be classified as the unbeliever who departs (if I left, it would be because I didn’t believe God was able to heal our marriage), I came up with the challenge that if God wanted me to get a divorce, He would minister to my husband to be in agreement with that action. Of course,  my husband wasn’t in agreement, so that challenge enabled me to hang in there. It may sound foolish, but it worked. I’m praying for you…

  • Juan

    That’s right,  Losing the belief on others, specially when you did all you could with all your heart, and then at first sight they dissapoint you or go against you. You feel it in your heart, it feels empty.
    But as the great Art Williams said – 99% of people are good people, we have to believe  in them.

  • Richard Wanjema

     Great post! I heard a message with the same theme this weekend.

  • Karl Mealor

     Needed this right at this particular moment.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Karla Akins

    This was a timely post for me. Thanks for this message!

  • Agatha Nolen

    Great post! I’ve done well in business but up until 3 years ago, had disastrous personal relationships…I gave my heart away to the wrong people. Breast cancer and a divorce led me back to God and now I have learned to rest fully in Him and to let Him direct who my heart goes to. It is a freedom I have never known. Thanks for a succint lesson on why you can’t give your heart away to everyone you encounter.

  • Frank Dickinson

    Thank you for this piece Michael – it was just what I needed this morning.

    For three years I have been building an online business. I have had many ups and downs throughout the process – many times feeling like it would be so easy to lose heart and throw in the towel.

    Two things have kept the mission going:

    The first is the wonderful support of my loving, amazing wife. As leaders, I think we should always be mindful of the support system around us. I am blessed to have that support through my wife. A true leader recognizes that they need support.

    The second thing is my faith. Without a sense of something greater than myself, I know I could not have kept going. In the midst of the downs I have felt comfort. In the midst of the ups I have felt joy. Both of these feelings (in my humble opinion) come from a position of faith.

    Leaders recognize that there is something bigger than themselves.

    Thank you Michael. You are appreciated.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Those two things have been instrumental in keeping my own heart healthy. Really critical. Thanks for commenting.

      • Frank Dickinson

        My pleasure – I am truly enjoying your blog!

  • Oleg Sinitsin

    My wife and I have 3 kids. Throughout the years we had a few ambulance calls and emergency visits. I must say, every time I see my child suffer, my heart sinks into a hole. This is something I can never get prepared for.

    • Jeff Randleman

      Agreed.  My wife took my youngest son by ambulance to the hospital with breathing issues not long ago.  I had to watch with my other three kids as they drove away, trying to avoid that crushing feeling and console my kids.  It’s tough. 

      • Oleg Sinitsin

         Jeff, we had a couple of breathing emergencies with one of my sons. Watching your toddler gasping for air will throw you on your knees really quickly.

        • Jeff Randleman

          Definitely! Scary moments! 

  • Alfred

    Firstly, I was very surprised at the question “what was the last time your heart was attacked”. For me and I am sure it applies for most people, our hearts are under attack every time. Fear, depression, lust, greed, envy, forgiveness, guilt, and so much more. There is a great siege against our mind every moment of the day. And for the latter question, I have discovered that it is easier for me to maintain a sound mind in the right atmosphere. By atmosphere, I mean controlling what I hear, see and meditate on. And this includes my choice of friends and the company I keep, the places I go, the movies I watch, the news I listen to, the music around me, the books I read etc. The mind is valuable but it is also very vulnerable.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I probably didn’t distinguish too well between the kinds of daily skirmishes we experience and the full-out assault I was describing. Even the skirmishes can be fatal over the long-term, but there are also those experiences where the Enemy launches a full out assault, making us want to walk off the field and quit. That’s what I had in mind.


      • Alfred

        Thank you for elaborating. I would love to read more from you about this subject matter. And I mean it when I say that I needed this message today. I just came out from the pit of depression and the urge to quit with intense prayer and communing with God being my anchor. And I pray that this time I will make it.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Interesting.  I didn’t even think about the everyday types of things.  My mind went immediately to the big attacks. 

  • Vickier352

    Yesterday thankyou for such a timely series God is always on time! Between this blog and Charles Stanley today I can press on to the goal! : )

  • Robert Ewoldt

     It seems like my heart has been getting more sensitive over the years, especially since marriage and kids.  My heart can melt or break with my kids’ actions, and I love it.  Marriage has taught me to open my heart more.

    • Luke Fischer

      Absolutely agree Robert.

      Not only do we guard our hearts, can we use them to guard others?  Does that make us vulnerable?

      • Robert Ewoldt

        To a certain extent, we can guard our children’s hearts, right? We can
        install a filter on our Internet (like @TNeal says). Our wives can help us
        to guard our hearts. We can help guard our wives’ hearts and kids hearts by
        striving to keep them close to God.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Yes, and most of all, I think, by praying for them and listening to them.

          • Robert Ewoldt

            Yes! Amen!

  • bethanyplanton

     Great reminder this morning! Thanks!

  • Brandon

    Great post! This reminds me a lot of your post awhile back about slyaing your dragons. I haven’t forgotten about that one! 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have a penchant for medieval imagery!

  • Stephanie Zonars

     My heart is under attack right now. There are lots of ups and downs in business and as a solopreneur, the weight of the down times feels heavy to carry alone. I’m in the midst of one of those times, unsure if I want to keep trying. Thanks for the reminder that my battle is a spiritual one and that I must find ways to protect my heart and the dreams that God has put there. 

    • Mark

      Hey Steph – will pray for you! Just yesterday I was looking at some photos from our summer mission project back in 1989 at San Diego. God has taken us into all sorts of things. I’m proud of you! May God’s favor be on you and your dreams! Your old friend, Mark 

      • Stephanie Zonars

        Thanks Mark! Sweet to hear from you and certainly appreciate the prayers. God will prove himself faithful!

  • Mark

    I’ve been following your blog for about 2 weeks now. Love it. I’ve been a missionary for 21 and the times that get me the most are when I’m attacked from within the church. When someone in leadership assumes the worst about me instead of assuming the best.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think that is so true, Mark. The closer someone is to us, the more accurate and devastating the blows become. Also, it is interesting that Satan often uses the religious establishment to attack us. Just look at Jesus!

    • TNeal

       Mark, you’ve hit on an issue where I’ve struggled as well. As a former pastor, I felt most wounded by those within my congregations. I’ve been blessed in that the pastors who followed me offered words of encouragement and thanks for the work I did.–Tom

      • Mark

        Michael and TNeal, Praise God for our friends and those that know our hearts! Keep up the great work you are doing Michael.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Friends are a key part of guarding our hearts. It takes a platoon to guard something so valuable.

          • Mark

            Speaking of a platoon – I just decided to your blog tonight at our small group at 6pm. I like the verses you quote and I think it should lead to some great discussion! Thanks again Michael. May the Lord protect you, watch over you, and give you His Favor moment by moment! 

          • Michael Hyatt

            Thanks, Mark. Let us know ow the discussion goes.

      • Jeff Randleman

        That’s my thought as well…

    • Patricia Zell

      I’ve learned to trust God and love people. When our focus is on pleasing God, our relationships with others will work out as we seek Him for His knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. 

  • Anonymous

     Last week I had an intervention with a friend. It didn’t end well, unfortunately. Right now she doesn’t see me as a friend. She sees me as the bad guy. I have to be okay with that, because I did what God called me to do. I had to guard my heart that day as it was attacked. However, I wouldn’t take it back. It is worth the risk of losing a friendship if it can change a life. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Sometimes, we have to risk our friendship out of love. It is a tough decision, to be sure.

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Confronting a friend can be the hardest thing in the world to do.
      Sometimes, though, it’s necessary, both to correct or exhort, and to remain
      true to Christ.

  • Scott Meyer

     I had the blessing of hearing this presentation at the recent Catalyst Dallas. Mike thanks for the presentation there and this post. Your lab at Catalyst was one of the most significant blessings that I walked away with (and there were several great things about Catalyst.)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Scott. That means a lot!

  • Richard

     Excellent post. Thank you!

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  • Christopher Jones

    Great post Michael. You are truly a leader. Thank you for your consistant posting and messages.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome.

  • Christopher Jones

    Great post Michael. You are truly a leader. Thank you for your consistant posting and messages.

  • Rick Yuzzi

    Good post. This makes me think of Ephesians 6:10-1, and the armor of God. 

  • TNeal

    Powerful stuff, Mike. I’ve missed this type of post from you in recent weeks.

    I recently posted on my blog an article entitled “A Glance, Maybe Two.” The piece addressed a moment of temptation where my heart came under attack. How did I respond? I immediately sat in my car and prayed.

    My heart is most vulnerable when I’m home alone (which my lifestyle and work entail a lot of). The Internet poses the biggest temptation which is why I’ve installed a filter to which only my wife (not me) has control. At times this has led to frustration but the inconvenience is worth every moment because my heart remains clean and my mind remains clear.

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Hey, thanks for this thought. What filter do you have on your Internet?
      How did you decide to use the one that you’re using?

      • TNeal

         K9. It’s a free download. I want to note, filtering sometimes filters out good stuff that can be frustrating at times. For me, I’d rather deal with the frustration than lack a fence.

      • TNeal

         I answered one question but let me answer the other. The decision basically came down to the easy access (a free download). Both Ellen and I figured we’d try free and see how effective K9 was. It’s effective for me and has provided the necessary guard to protect my eyes and heart.

        • Robert Ewoldt

          Thanks for the info, Tom.

          • TNeal

             You’re welcome. Glad to be of service.

          • TNeal

            Robert, I popped over to your blog. Excellent post on ambition. You write out your thoughts well and you’ve got thoughts worth reading.

          • Robert Ewoldt

            Hey, thanks for the encouragement. I love to get feedback. The blog’s
            still in the start-up stage (kind of)… I’ve been blogging on my own for
            about a month (before that, my wife was blogging with me… now she has her
            own blog at

          • TNeal

             I would venture to guess Michael’s series of articles have stimulated a lot of blog start ups.

            Yeah, about a month ago for me as well. Although mine is a solo effort from the beginning.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you in being proactive to guard your heart.

  • Jay Stinson

    I find my greatest disappointments come as a result of my misunderstanding of who God is. I assume He will be and act one way, but He doesn’t. The problem isn’t Him, it is me! 

  • Jonathan Hasson

    Michael, thank you so much for the post!  I needed it this morning.  After receiving a rousing sermon yesterday on the possibilities of having a heart open and available to God to do His work to this entreaty to guard my heart, I think God is trying to tell me something!  Thanks for being a part of that message.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love how God’s timing works!

  • Kristy K

    I’m guarding my heart right now against feeling like a failure. Lately, Satan hasn’t had to even try to knock me down because I’ve been beating myself up enough.

    Thank you for the reminder Michael! I needed it today!

    • Jeff Randleman

      I can relate so well! 

    • Patricia Zell

      It’s not really about our successes or failures–it’s about the reality that God loves us and His love will prevail no matter what Satan throws against us. 

  • mpa

    Thank You Sir.You cannot belive how much your post helped .After a finacial disasterous court ruling (against me) and feeling down this is what i need to hear. Thanks Mike.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Some day I will publicly catalog the number of times I almost quit. It happens almost once a year—at least.

  • Jack Lynady

    Daily. Most Christians think they are blowing it or that God’s Will is to make them miserable servants. Enemy…what enemy?

  • Anonymous

    I once had a college RA (Resident Assistant) who would start the semester by telling her floor, “Do not mistake my kindness for stupidity.” It seemed logical enough to me — but then I think of the way that so many Christians are careless with their hearts.  Some like to throw all their eggs in one basket, others like to leap before they look, and there are those who will burn their bridges and then try to cross them (just to name a few cliches gone wrong).

    It has taken many years for me to learn how to guard my heart so that my kindness does not become my stupidity.  And I have learned the importance of having a circle of friends around me, to help me stay alert watching and guarding my heart with me.  

    Thanks for the great post and timely reminder.

  • Joel Nelson

     Thanks Michael, I always thought of guarding my heart purely in regard to sexual issues.  You’re post was one of the most important eye openers I’ve read in a long time.  There’s plenty of times I can identify that I have fallen under attack and never recognized it as an attack on my heart.  If I had the outcomes might have been different.  Thanks for the important heads up. it as an attack on my heart.  If I had the outcomes might have been different.  Thanks for the important heads up.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think Satan knows are specific vulnerabilities. For some, it will be sexual temptation. For others, it will be discouragement. For still others, it will be offenses. Sometimes, it is all these an more.

      • Patricia Zell

        And thank God, Christ made the way for us to overcome Satan and his kingdom. 

  • Kathleen @ Kath Ink

    Thank you for these wise words. 

  • Caleb Shoe

     To the question: when was the last time your heart was attacked, the exact moment is clouded in events that have happened recently to open a new wound. I lost my job at a church in southern Michigan and that was the time when my heart received the pain from which it is still recovering. Things were said, innuendos made, and pain doled out like ice cream on a hot summer’s day. 

    From that point, the recovery process has been slow. Recently, in my new position, I received a similar attack: questioning my reasoning and actions while pulling rank regarding my status vs. this person’s experience and resume. Very hard to differentiate these two unique situations when it came from a similar source with similar vocabulary and the implication was that I had once again failed to meet expectations.

  • Rsr777

     Michael…love this blog…I woke up this a.m. thinking about how we needed to be selective in the thoughts we think and the people we let speak into our lives…Three Reasons “Why You MUST Guard Your Heart” was exactly what I needed today…I shared it to my many wonderful FB friends as well.  Thanks for the powerful Word of God and your words of Wisdom.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thank you. I am glad it was timely.

  • Patricia Hunter

     THIS will be my chalkboard message for the week. Missing our own church service yesterday, we watched the live online service from our son’s church in WPB, and this was one of the pastor’s key points. It’s been popping up in my thoughts since, and now this from you. 

    My heart was actually attacked this weekend – more than once – in a particularly vulnerable spot.  How did I respond? Good question. I suppose I’m responding still. Retreat. Silence. Talked to the Lord about it this morning on my photo walk. Yep. “Guard Your Heart” most definitely needs to be my chalkboard message for the week.  Thank you.

  • Jeff Randleman

    I have developed a fortress for my heart.  I take refuge in God and his Word, and in my close family and friends.

    A few years ago, I was involved in a church, as a staff minister, and we were attacked ruthlessly by a few people from within the church.  Lies were told about us and most of the church turned against us.  My wife and I were accused of ungodly and immoral activities and it simply wasn’t true.  But because I was the “new guy” and these reports were coming from a long-standing member, I wasn’t believed, and we had to leave that church.  After we moved, I had people write me letters and follow me across the state to continue these viscious attacks.

    As a result, I almost stepped completely out of ministry for good at that point.  It was only because our next church was so good to us, and helped us heal that I’m still in ministry today.

    Because of that experience, I firmly believe that guarding your heart is crucial.  Thanks for the reminder and the boost today!

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Jeff, Satan uses a whole arsenal of weapons against us, doesn’t he? It
      grieves me that people (Christians, even) will be tools in the hands of
      Satan at times.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Me, too, Robert.  No matter how painful it is to me, it hurts God even more… 

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Each time I started to pursue a ministry passion God put in
    my heart, a major heart attack (unemployment, betrayal, boundary-busting people)
    sidetracked me. Then I recognized the pattern of spiritual warfare attacking me
    where I was most vulnerable. Most doctors agree diet, lack of exercise and
    stress influences a heart attack. So I stopped gorging on unhealthy thoughts
    and feelings, replacing my emotional caloric intake with the nourishing truths
    of God’s Word. I began exercising my spiritual gifts, even when I didn’t feel
    like it. And I gave my merciful heart permission to set boundaries with stressful
    individuals addicted to trauma drama who habitually barraged my time. When
    stressed, my heart needs time to decompress to allow God to possess my
    thoughts, my heart, my dreams, and my goals.

    • Patricia Hunter

      LOVE this, Scoti. Thank you!

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is a great testimony, Scoti. Thanks.

  • Loren Pinilis

     I remember reading a story one time. A demon was selling the tools of his trade: anger, lust, envy, etc. Over in the corner was a beaten and worn tool, priced far above the rest. When asked what this particular tool was – and why it was so expensive – the demon replied that the tool was his most valuable. It was discouragement. It was the most effective, the demon said, because when he used it against people, no one knew realized it was him.

  • Blacktrainstudio

     Excellent post and great reminders Mr. Hyatt.

    I think that’s the amazing insight about scripture – seeing the whole person. Rarely would you find such insight in any major papers. 

    A sobering reminder that there is a constant battle to strip away our humanity, and turn us into something unrecognizable like a wandering beast (King Neb).
    That image is more profound considering it’s a knight: a person of noble character in the service of a king. 

    Thank again Mr. Hyatt.


  • Jim Martin

     Michael, this is a very, very good post.  Your post is important because it really deals with the essence of who we are.  

    There is great pressure to build a successful external life.  I am convinced that in so many churches , many have an external world that looks great.  Yet, they are dying on the inside.  

    As you noted, sometime that may be the pastor.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      So true. We live in a world that is obsessed with externals—managing the brand image, instead of the inner heart.

  • Steve

    Michael-  Thank you for your openness and willingness to ‘bear your soul’ or better yet, your ‘heart.’  We leaders often act as though our hearts are bullet-proof, especially when we are younger. As a Jesus follower for the last 30 years, and a leader,  I was under the mistaken belief system that the older I got (in the Lord), the less my heart would be assaulted, and life would somehow be ‘easier.’ Boy was I wrong! Now that I have the time, energy, and resources to focus more on kingdom activities, and without the distractions that a growing family presents, I am experiencing more of the enemy’s  attacks, not less. When I read  the following: “For me, these attacks often come in the form of some circumstance that leads to disappointment, discouragement, or even disillusionment. In these situations, I am tempted to quit—to walk off the field and surrender.” I smiled and said to myself, “I totally understand.” It’s good to know that I’m not alone when it comes to experiencing this- especially when we, who have been at this game for a long time, are at a point in our lives when we think we should be , somehow, beyond it.  We’re not. We’re even more succeptable at this stage of the game, because we are even more dangerous to the enemy’s camp.

  • Paula Whidden

    Michael, I love your insight.  I’m a “how” person too and found it fascinating that this morning in my quiet time with God the verse that stood out to me was found in 1Thessalonians 5:8, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”  Here we see the main tools for guarding our hearts, faith and love.  The big challenge becomes guarding while also trusting and stepping out with faith. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful verse, Paula. I need to meditate on that one for a while.

  • Jeremy

    I would like to thank you for this post, this is a now word. A word that applies to my life now. I was just talking with my wife this morning apologizing for not guarding my heart or my mouth. I let the toxicity of frustration cloud my heart, mind and even my words. Over the last few months I have been reading through the gospels. One thing that stood out to me, when Jesus was asked to come quickly due to someone dying He never walked in a mind set that set Him in a critical crises mode. I would say that Jesus was one to speak not freak. No storm, death, or urgent matter caused Him to loose heart. My desire is to become a man, husband, father and leader that would walk as Christ did in total Peace and Faith knowing that all things work together for good……


  • Anonymous

     This is one of my favorite scriptures.

    My parents are both 82. My mom health has been compromised by pulmonary fibrosis which she has had for almost 30 years. Now her damaged lungs are now compromising her heart’s function. We’ve been in out of rehab and hospitals the last six months. My dad is exhausted from the pressure of her care and worry about her, in addition to his own health problems. 

    My heart is broken watching how bravely they fight to maintain the lives and activities they have known for all these years. I can’t make things right for them, and I watch all the security and safety I have placed in them dwindle away. 

    To continue with your trash analogy. Yes, what we put to the curb are things which we think have lost their value. Yet, there are the items the dumpster diving stop and pick up to remix. There are the scraps that stray animals and bird pick through and find life-giving substance. 

    So it is with our hearts, I believe. Those connections, emotions, hurts we believe we are past leave bread crumbs back to our center. It seems we always need to be ready to pick up and patch those clawed spaces as well.

  • Anonymous

    The last time my heart was attacked was less than two days ago. I am in a vulnerable transition stage in life where things aren’t set quite yet. I am confused at times on the direction and have felt like throwing in the towel. Especially late at nights I feel like my heart is being attacked. I was woken up by the Holy Spirit one morning to the words ‘Guard your heart’ and that day, there were many trials that tested this. It has been one of the most important things to consider and I am still learning what it is to actually guard your heart.

  • Curby Alexander

    This was a great post, and it was something I needed to read today. The most recent attack on my heart was this past Saturday, when I awoke to feelings of inadequacy and desperation relating to a recent job search. Thank the Lord, I am currently employed, but I recently was given a lead on a job as an assistant professor at one of the major universities in our area. This is the exact job I was hoping to find when I went back to graduate school several years ago, but I have been discouraged by how long it is taking for the job to be posted (too much time to over-analyze things) and rumors of all these high-quality candidates who intend to apply for the job (I currently work at this university in a non-tenure track position). I really was starting to obsess about this on Saturday, then the Lord led me to Genesis 24. I was reminded that the way the Lord wants me to respond is to be actively involved in the things I can control, such as  getting my application materials in order, finishing some manuscripts, and being a good steward of my current job, and to leave the things I can’t control at his feet. I can also make a choice whether or not I pray and seek Him through scripture, which increases my peace about the things I can’t control. This has given me a fresh confidence that no matter what happens with the job search, I am still under His grace and my life is still being guided by His hand. Just thought I would share.

  • Anonymous

    Great post. My last occurence was likely when I was a part of a college ministry leadership team. It was a disheartening (no pun intended) experience to say the least. Great post on a familiar passage of Scripture. I recently sat in on pastor’s luncheon where clergy leaders were encouraged to participate in an upcoming pastoral self-care program. I believe it will help immensely. Several pastors signed up, which demonstrated a willingness to change their habits for the better. Huge! Thanks again for the post.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Self-care is hugely important. It is like taking care of your physical heart.

  • Geoff Talbot

    Guarding your heart is hard. Especially when circumstances “apparently” dictate that you should give up on your dreams or your plans… People comment and give advice about those circumstances.

    Especially those close to us… whose concerns & fears for our well being out weigh their belief. That is the tricky part for me…

    Keeping my heart open to those who love me, but protecting myself from their fears, doubts and unhealthy concern…

    I’m finding that tough right now

  • Allan Kelsey

    Excellent & relevant post Michael. It reminds me of what John Eldridge wrote in Waking the Dead concerning our hearts:
    1. Things are not what they seem around you.
    2. We are at war and that war if ‘for keeps’.
    3. Your heart is the prize being contended for.

    I feel this reality every day and am grateful to get a fresh reminder. I needed it today.

    • Anonymous

       I, too, thought of John Eldredge as I read this post.

    • Michael Hyatt

      John’s book is excellent! I have learned so much from him about the heart.

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  • Anonymous

     Some really timely words, Michael. Here is the dilemma for me. I believe we are to share our hearts, to live in authenticity and openness. Living out the concept that “the truth will set you free.” But it creates the paradox of exposing my heart. When I live in a way that allows others to see and know me deeply, I also allow my heart to be open to the attacks of disappointment, disillusionment, and feeling or being misunderstood. Do you have any advice? Or will this be the topic of one of your future posts?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it will be a topic of a future post. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

     I remember I was in the middle of my work at seminary and I thought to myself, why on earth am I doing this, what am I going to use this for, why am I spending all this time and money.  Then I realized that this was a tactic that was being used to try and tear me down so that I would not finish what I was being called to do.  It was an enlightening moment when that realization came to me and I was able to push past the issues and get through it and was able to finish my degree and graduated this past weekend.

  • John Richardson

    This is one of your best posts ever, Michael. Very timely.

    For me, I like the W.A.R.  acrostic to remind me that we are in a battle everyday.

    These three things help

    Wisdom from the past

    Action for Today

    Roadmap for the future 

    When I keep these in mind, my day goes much better.

    • Josh Hood

      Great acrostic, John. Thanks for sharing. , John. Thanks for sharing. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Excellent acronym, John. I like it!

  • Jim Drake

     Thanks Michael—I needed to hear this.

  • Barbie

    I am learning much from you, Michael, about blogging!  You are the master!  And leaders do learn to guard their hearts, usually the hard way!  The Father is so good to teach us and love us through having our hearts wounded and put back together by Him.

  • W. Mark Thompson

    Read the post. Was sent right back to betrayal(s). Not necessarily a bad thing. But how true it is that we need to guard our hearts. Also true that we’ll be attacked and injured no matter how well we guard. Enter: Forgiveness. Tough lesson. Not only from the one who has been hurt. But I would step out and say none of us are guiltless. We must forgive if we want to be forgiven. Love the post. Great reminder.  Matthew 7:1-3

  • Josh Hood

     Words often reveal the wounds of an unguarded heart. “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – Matthew 12:34

  • Dustin W. Stout

     Love this Michael! I’m looking forward to the other posts! 

  • Marc Jarvis

     Michael, this is a very timely and encouraging post, as everyone here agrees. Reading it brought me to tears as I am in a very dark and lonely place at the moment, and have been for months. My wife and I are going through a divorce and we separated last September after 15 years of marriage. The saddest part of all is that my wife took our 3 year son with her back to South Africa so she could be with her family. The last time I saw my little boy was at Christmas. To make matters worse, at the time of our separation I was working for her brother’s business and he let me go shortly after she left. I have been out of work since last September and I have applied for more than 75 jobs in the US, the UK and South Africa. I have been maintaining my son’s needs through freelance design work, but I have been trusting the Lord to open a door for a permanent job in South Africa so I can be close to my son. I phone him every single day for an hour and he cries for me every day. This last week I have totally felt like giving up. It has felt as if I will never get back to him and I’ll never find a job that is located close to him. I have been trying to guard my heart and keep my faith, but it feels like my prayers are hitting the ceiling. If anything, all I could ask for is prayer…lots of prayer. God knows my heart through and through and He knows the love I have for my precious little boy. I simply need a miracle! Thank you for posting this today. It has been so uplifting and such an encouragement reading everyone’s comments! 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Marc. I just stopped to pray for you.

      As I read your story, the persistent thought I had was, this guy must really be “dangerous for good.” In other words, God must have some great plans for you, because only the really important things get this much opposition.

      There is more at stake right now than you can see or imagine. Don’t give up. Everything will become clear in time. The important thing is to remain faithful in the present, refuse to give up, or doubt the Father’s heart. Someone else may mean what you are experiencing for evil, but God intends it for good.

      • Marc Jarvis

        Thank you so much for your encouragement, Michael!  I really appreciate the prayer. I do identify with what you shared…I know the Lord has something really great planned for my life and He will turn this situation around for good. I refuse to give up!

  • Steve Allen

     I needed this today. I’m encouraged!!

  • Anonymous

    This post is perfectly timed for me and my family.  As a parent in our techno savvy world, I am constantly reminded how important being on guard is. 
    Passing this one one –

  • ClayofCO

    Great thoughts. The word used for “wellsprings” is, I think, a uniquely geographical term that can refer to the outermost borders of a property. So an underlying idea in Solomon’s admonition might also be, “Guard your heart, for it will define the borders of your life.” In other words, like a soldier on sentry, be vigilant about what you let into your heart because that is going to, in some way, define who you are. What I value, ponder, covet, dream, desire is what defines the borders of my life. It has implications not only about quality of intake, but quantity, too. It’s also an important parenting verse (which is the context of Proverbs 1-9). Thanks for your ministry of encouragement.

  • ClayofCO

     Great thoughts. The word used for “wellsprings” is, I think, a uniquely
    geographical term that can refer to the outermost borders of a property.
    So an underlying idea in Solomon’s admonition might also be, “Guard
    your heart, for it will define the borders of your life.” In other
    words, like a soldier on sentry, be vigilant about what you let into
    your heart because that is going to, in some way, define who you are.
    What I value, ponder, covet, dream, desire is what defines the borders
    of my life. It has implications not only about quality of intake, but
    quantity, too. It’s also an important parenting verse (which is the
    context of Proverbs 1-9). Thanks for your ministry of encouragement.

  • tam

    as a wife of a pastor, and often being viewed as a means to an end, i have had my heart crushed in ministry. 

    so this…this was a great and timely read.

    thank you.

  • Brandon

    This post reminds me of the post about slaying your dragons you wrote almost a year ago…I have never forgotten that post! 

  • Jennjoleva

    This article spoke of my experience with the Lord . being called to leadership is an honor .
     I understand now it is a  time of great testing of my faith . I have learned when I am under attack I become ready to break and throw in the towel signals me to  stop!! I retreat and take time to get a perspective . I rest , eat, sleep , Journal , walk , pray and share my struggle with another person or group. I get filled up with love from others and on the word of God.  I go back stronger  refreshed and wiser. My focus is back !
    I am ready for the next assignment.

  • shane Cooper

     i was driving north and i passed one of the Pass It On billboards…  The Susan Boyle one that says Live Your Dreams.  i was an hour into my drive to my jobsite, with another hour to go and three or four days before i’ll see home again and that was it, i broke down.  The truth is, i don’t believe in following your dreams.  And i can’t find a basis for believing.  We were never told to follow our dreams, we were told to pick up our cross and follow Christ.  But somehow, my head bowed and the tears flowing as i trudge dutifully along doesn’t feel right either.  i feel broken with nothing to give.  i read verses about the joy we have as christians and i can’t identify.  i know i’m under attack, even now as i write this… i pray and that’s all i know to do.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m so sorry for your circumstances, Shane. Let me give you a personal challenge. Go back and read the story about Joseph in Genesis. It is enormously encouraging for anyone in your situation. Things don’t happen randomly. God is at work. The enemy may mean it for evil, but God means it for good, to save many people alive.

      • shane Cooper

        Joe’s story is one of the few i can relate too, though Joe had some premonitions and dreams to lend him hope that his physical circumstances would get better, i’m sure that doubt was a close companion in prison.  i’ve been given no such promises so i console myself with slave spirituals.  

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for the message today Michael. Some great scriptures to use regarding this issue.

  • Espeir1700

    This is the first comment that I’ve posted on your blog. I admit that I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for quite some time but never took the time to post a comment. I really enjoyed this post because it seems that I’ve been in a battle lately for my heart. In any case, I thought you left one vital piece of info off of your post. You probably plan to address this in a later post but I will ask the question now. How do we guard our hearts? 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I plan to do that. This was a “why” post. The next one on this topic will be “how.” It was already getting long, so I broke it up.

  • Jp

    Ok… Guard you heart? Just what dies that mean in the context of your post? We are going to be hurt in many points in our life. It’s part of the learning process. It seems like you are saying not to tale risks, though I know it’s not what you mean. So, what do you mean and how should we gaurs our hearts as leaders?

    • Jp

      I hate typing on the iPhone. Terrible experience.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Stay tuned for my next post on this topic …

  • Berniced626

    Amen, I agree   

  • Louise Thaxton

    Too few people recognize that the Bible admonishes US to guard OUR hearts!  The responsibility lies with us.  And also, unfortunately, our hearts can be attacked even in the church -where we are most likely to let down our guard.   But the way I have personally learned to “guard my heart” is just as you have pictured in your blog -with the “shield of faith”.  The “flaming arrows” will come at me and I should expect them- and they are directed at my HEART.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the  Word of God – so… “guard” is the WORD ….. Thank you so much for a very timely (in my life) “word”. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great point about guarding being OUR responsibility. Thanks!

  • Elizabeth

     This was a great reminder to not allow the evil one access to my core through trying circumstances.  Recently a Christian lawyer (I am sure with good intentions although misguided) placed a myriad of obstacles in the way of a good ministry plan.  The desire to eliminate all possible risk can put the best plans (and heart) to the test.   Eventually our ministry partner disregarded their lawyer’s extreme demands and we are now on our way to making things happen.  (I am also a lawyer so I understand the need for scrutiny but also the propensity in my profession to be overly protective.)

  • Cyberquill

    My heart is under permanent attack, so much so that I’ve seen numerous cardiologists over the years due to recurring chest discomfort and palpitations. Once I even went to the emergency room because it was so bad. I’ve had many of these episodes since, but I’ve stopped seeking medical counsel, because my tests always come back perfectly clear anyway. 

    Point being, there’s definitely a very strong link between that which we call our spiritual heart and the area in our chests—or at least in mine—that corresponds to where the physical heart is located. 

    In one of his PBS infomercial lectures, Wayne Dyer once asked all audience members to point to themselves. Everyone pointed at their chest. No one pointed at their head. That says it all.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love the Wayne Dyer question. Great illustration.

  • Melanie

    Thank you, this was such a timely read for me! I just started a new job today and was feeling discouraged thinking it doesn’t measure up to my previous job. This, along with a friend’s encouraging words, have reminded me that God brought me to this new job and the enemy would just love it if I was discouraged. I really want to guard my heart from attack and focus on what the Lord has called me to do in this new season of my life. Thank you for this! 

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    You have no idea how much I can relate to this…I’m a what you see is what you get, speak the truth in love kind of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. Being in ministry and married to a Pastor for over 10+ years has been hard. VERY hard at times. I am constantly nursing a wounded heart, so you learn to put on your turtle shell and come out when you see “safe” people…but, that is not how He wants us to live.

    I loved it when you said this, “Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core
    of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your
    passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other

    I have a great big heart for ministry, specifically to women…and though I have been hurt and will probably get hurt again I am learning (day by day) to guard my heart better and give the rest to Him.

    Thanks for a great post Michael…I am truly looking forward to the rest of them.

  • Kay Wilson

     Thank you so much for your post, Michael, I have a home-business(I have said God has me right where I’m meant to be) but have felt my heart is under attack for some time now and at times feel I have not dealt with the attacks…I do my bible study 1st thing in the morning to set my day, I walk an hour early in the morning  but feel abandoned in our business by others.So your post was good timing for me.

  • Rmar262

    The last time my heart was attacked was in April of 2011 . My son is special needs and he has been living at a facility for the handicapped for 16 years he is 42 years old now. Somehow in the last year or so he has developed violent behaviors (he can’t talk), so the place he has learned to call home for 16 years called a meeting with me and told me he was going to be discharged due to his behaviors. It broke my heart because I don’t know why the behaviors started and he can’t tell me if someone is mistreating him and the agency has been his home for 16 years and they just tossed him out with no regard to the fact that this to him was his home. I feel like they let us both down, and they did not even try and help me find somewhere else for him to go to, so I had to try and do it alone.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That had to be tough. I am so sorry.

  • Valerie Hess

    How does one guard one’s heart?

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is the subject of another post. It’s coming, I promise.

  • Chris Neiger

    Really encouraging and refreshing to hear this take on guarding your heart. Growing up in a Christian home and going to church all my life, the “guard your heart” talk only seemed to apply to teenagers who were hormone charged. 

    Thanks for shedding new light on the verse. 

  • Rick Sutton

     Michael –
    I am a pastor of a church plant and it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  My heart is under constant attack.  Every Sunday I face some type of heart break.  The most common is putting you trust, faith and hopes in “faithful” christians to help you build the church and watch them skip service for every reason under the sun, Not commit to the work of God. I’m shocked at how easy people can just get offended and quit the church!

    I feel like im just complaining but I would truly leave the ministry if I could. There was a time you would have never heard me say that. I know that I’m anointed of God, my whole family is with me. I’m just sooo tire of the constant disappointment and the let downs. I know the whole, “I should have faith”, and “put my trust in Him and Him alone.” That is easy words coming from people who aren’t in my shoes. anyways..  bla bla bla…… Thanks for at least asking the question. 

    – a discouraged pastor

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are not alone in your discouragement. As I said in the post, pastors are on the front lines, under the constant barrage of enemy fire. Just know this: your work matters more than you know. You won’t always see the fruit of it in the near-term; perhaps not even in this life. I am grateful for all that you are doing. You’re work is not going unnoticed. God takes it all in.

  • Dan Greegor

    A very timely post. I really needed this and can’t wait for the upcoming posts as well.

  • Usiel (Brazil)

    Friends,This subject focus what I’m doing during this period, in a special way. I’m in a sabbatical time, to prayer, reading and self exam. I’m almost 50 and I have scares to remember me when I didn’t give the necessary attention to my heart. My refuge is my Abba Father and I know He always will take care of me. But, I know too, as Jeremiah said (17.9) that my heart needs my own attention, every day. 

  • Anonymous

    Michael, I love your blog. There’s something for everyone here. You have a professional but easy, friendly way about you. I always find something of interest in your posts. I agree with your reasons to guard your heart, as I experienced serious betrayal from a 25 year long ‘friend’ . Too long of a story to go into here, but after I wanted to stop trusting people altogether. Of course, I couldn’t do that. That’s not me. I learned alot about people during that time, a lot about how and who to trust. When the hurt wore off, I was a stronger person, and  no less trusting-just smarter about it.
    I’ve shared a link to your blog on Facebook and hope it results in others being able to enjoy and learn from you.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate the encouragement.

  • Lisa Colón DeLay

    Interesting points. Helpful.

    I do have a question though:
    These days we tend to think of the heart as relating to our passions, or if in a cerebral sense as “the feeling mind”. So, I’m wondering if you are not referring to the heart in the ancient Jewish understanding of the heart, though you quote Proverbs. It was thought that the choices and will were sourced in the heart, what we today often think of as “the mind”. The heart, such as passions, guts, feelings, etc was referred to as sourcing in the guts or bowels. Old Testament passages that are translated “heart” should be thought of as referencing what Dallas Willard alludes to as, “Our Command Center”.Can you clarify?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am thinking of more than the mind. I am thinking of your innermost self. In my view, it is inclusive of the spirit and soul.

  • Patricia Zell

    One final comment before bed–Michael, thanks for the wonderful post and discussion. I have really enjoyed participating. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thank you, Patricia. I appreciate you being so active in this conversation.

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  • Douglas McClure

    This is a great reminder.  As a minister and administrator for a religious organization, I am keenly aware of the statistics that you have shared.

    In our denomination, we have seen a lot of people getting out of the work, because they let little things and choices become bigger things!

    I appreciate your comments and willingness to share!

  • George

    My heart is attacked almost daily.Lest it be by unkept promises,from people who lie straight to my face all knowing that what they say is not the truth or by people that see things that are the truth yet deny them just so they can be argumentative.In this way ,my faith might falter but as yet has fallen .The actions of many of our leaders leaves me bewildered but yet my Faith in God and the Son holds me up when I weaken.I carry my Bible with me almost everywhere I go,even to work,for if I am theatened,I have the my sword with me.I am no scholar but if need be I stand ready for battle for the Lord is with me.This he has said and he does not lie. May God Bless All.

  • Brandon Weldy

     I cannot think of a time recently (meaning the last couple years) where I did not feel my heart was not under attack. This happens with family, friends, the Church, those outside of Christ in my life, etc. I am a very empathetic person so I get very emotionally tied into peoples’ stories. When they hurt I hurt and that can be a very draining experience. Sometimes when I see events progressing in a different way than I think they should I get frustrated. It took me a while to come to this point, but it drives me to pray. I pray for myself that I will not become so overwhelmed that I give up. I pray for others so that they can come through their own trials. I pray ultimately that God’s will is done and that I have the faith to follow that will even when it is hard.

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  • Africanrains

    This is a great, and very timely article. Thanks so much.

  • Anonymous

    This post intrigued me. Even as one who is not currently in an immediate leadership role of the church–it fits with life in general.

    I have felt God has called me to be one who is vulnerable and real with others whether it be speaking or writing my blog. I know the point is for God to move on the hearts of those reading and listening. Still, as much as I know God has called me to a deep level of vulnerability–I must guard my heart. This very theme has come up over the last year. Those whom I thought were safe–were not.

    After I finished reading your post the next email I opened had this quote…

    We should share our stories with people who have earned the right to hear them.
    ~ Brené Brown

    Both tie together. And it would seem the Lord is wanting to pour His wisdom into me as I continue the path of vulnerability.

    Thank you.

  • Varinwin27

     The Last My heart was  under attacked   from last Monday . I was feeling very low, upset and angry at family and my current life style.I  was groaning and crying from within cause I knew these feeling were not right and my behavior was not justified. I kept praying all day and night and at the same time kept fighting and sometimes giving into this depression. I then realized the reason of all this war was due to a neighbor, who  constantly criticizes and has all negative thoughts coming out of her… in words that are really mean.I personally keep to myself and do not indulge in gossip, so I found it very suffocating to hear her cribbing and I could not stop her .Everybody in her eyes had some flaw and that would get elaborated a lot through her eyes of wisdom. She  regularly came home and gossiped and at the same time preached God’s word quoting it to her current discussion. I hated it and hated the coward I had turned to be. Today I feel well after a week of struggle. I am now praying I do not have to meet her and if I do God gives me the courage to say no and not entertain her bad behavior  

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thank God you identified the source of your trouble. I pray that God gives you the grace to speak to her.

  • Haydee

    You know, our service last Saturday was about “Guarding Our Hearts” with the same verse.
    The last time my heart was attacked was yesterday cos my colleague is such a busybody & has a very dry sense of humor that ruins my mood all the time.  I’m reminded that it’s how Satan is trying to get a foothold on me, with small little things that irk me.

  • Jeff Goins

    Amen. I like this a lot, Mike. I love what Eldredge, with whom I know you’re familiar, has written on this subject and the difference between the New Testament and Old Testament views of the heart. Thank God that our hearts can be redeemed and reclaimed for the Kingdom.

    That said, I was saddened (although not surprised) by the facts listed in that NYTimes article. I’ve been wondering why people in ministry seem to live such unhealthy lifestyles — is it the demands of the job, the attack of enemy, or just the effects of our culture? You’ve given me something to think about.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, John has been a major mentor to me on this topic. I totally agree with his view, especially on the difference between the OT and the NT on this.

      • Jeff Goins

        It’s a paradigm shift, for sure.

  • Rebecca Litvinoff

    The last time my heart was attacked was just recently. My youngest of four children, all grown, and out of the house, was in a near fatal car crash 10 years ago, with the oldest. The oldest came out of it loving God and Jesus and devoting his life to God out of the gratitude in his heart. My youngest came out of it extremely harden, angry, downright hateful to God and Jesus. Whenever she is with me, she is not at rest, even though she says she is. She does whatever she can to try and get me to give up on God and Jesus. Because of God in my life- He stills and quiets my soul during these times- and reminds me  by His Holy Spirit that my struggle in my Mom’s heart is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Now this battle belongs to the Lord. I have the armor of God to put on everyday and apply to my walk in the Lord, so I am able to Stand Firm and bring ” The Truth”, in love, to my daughter, unwavering, no matter how my heart may ache- God always comforts me with His love and gives me His peace that passeth all understanding. Verses are Ephesians 6:10-20, Zephaniah 3:17, Philippians 4: 7.  My mind and heart is to stay on God, no matter what.

    Staying in God’s Embrace:
    Rebecca Litvinoff

  • Anonymous

    I feel a little too naive at times, trusting people at face value. A number of times I have gotten really discouraged when a friend or leader said one thing to my face and then ultimately did something else. I would become bitter.

    Recently, a leadership lesson I heard talked about how we are so critical of others when we see hypocrisy, yet we are lenient of ourselves when hypocrisy exists in our own hearts. So my prayer has been that the Lord would cause me to hate my own inconsistencies more than the others around me.

    Or as Maxwell said at The Leadercast, I want to become bigger on the inside than I am on the outside.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Matthew Hexter

    Michael, it’s interesting that you posted this as we were just discussing this exact topic with friends on Sunday.

    We all agreed that guarding our heart was important. Where we stumbled was defining “how” to guard our hearts. We came up with some common themes – common ways – we can all guard our hearts. And then we discussed that, because of our unique journey’s and experiences, the “how” can take on very different, unique, and personal approaches.

    For instance, one of the men in our group grew up with an alcoholic father. This left him with much brokenness which in turn has forced him to actively guard his heart in ways I may not struggle with. And as a leader, he has to be cognizant of these “pulls” on his heart with his colleagues and clients, not just his family and friends.

    For me, the whole left in my heart when I was abandoned at age 12 by my parents left me with a whole set of different issues. So one of the active ways I guard my heart is the daily reminder that God is my loving, heavenly Father who is actively and intimately engaged in my life all the time, on a daily basis.  By calibrating my heart to this truth on a daily basis, it helps me be actively involved in the lives of those I lead because the deeper questions of my life have been resolved.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think it is wise to personalize how you guard your heart. I think it is different for all of us. Thanks for commenting.

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  • Bobby Triplett

     My most recent attack as a pastor of our church here in Tampa, has come over the numbers. Mothers-day (2 weeks ago) we had a great gathering, i felt like i had a very specific word from God for our people, i felt like we connected with His spirit and each other. We had a bunch of guests, hospitality was at its finest… and then after what felt like a very great day of gathering as a church… i was given the number from the finance team, as to how much offering was brought in.

    the lowest number in the history of our soon to be 3 year old church.
    In an instant it was like i was a worn out offensive guard trying desperately to ward off a whole team of linebackers.

    I don’t find this coincidental, as in the week before i felt like there was a battle over whether or not it was me who was responsible for managing our peoples responses. In this loosing effort, God asked me to let go of the need to control or manage how i perceive the outcome, and trust that if He gave me this message and is forming our church family… then He will carry it to completion.

    It should have been blatantly obvious in that abysmal offering moment, that there was a direct attack on this new trusting that God is establishing in my heart. 

    Interestingly enough… after a pretty crazy roller coaster ride of control freakishness and a divine conversation with a Jamaican pressure washer… i was lead to have a conversation with the church i pastor to help me not stand alone.

    i laid out in detail what i struggle with as a young shepherd… and that i can’t win by myself… and if the church is designed to help bear up each others burdens in love… well i should probably practice what i preach.

    It is amazing what peace flowed after that moment… an education i hope i never forget.

    • jckelley73

       It’s actually pretty normal to have low offer on Mother’s Day. As you said, lot’s of visitors. But very discouraging nonetheless!

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is extraordinary that you are aware and alert to all of this. I think this is the foundation of guarding your heart—to know it is under attack and remain alert.

  • Jon Stolpe

    This can sometimes be a tough test to learn.  A couple of years ago, I had the rug pulled out form under me related to a ministry that I was asked to lead.  I’m still recovering in many ways.  I think the recovery process has been slower than it should be because my heart was not guarded.   I think that I have responded okay publicly, but I still struggle internally with some bitterness.  And I believe I’m somewhat gun-shy about jumping back in with both feet.  Am I now guarding my heart too closely?  Or do I need to get over the past and get rolling?  The internal wrestling match continues.  Thanks for your post.

  • Therealjasonhill

     Losing heart, hmmm…I almost lost heart this week. A friend told me about this site.  In March, I also left my six figure salary to start a youth mentoring program for boys without fathers and boys in foster homes. These boys have lost heart already, some at the age of 6 or 7. I realized that if I lose heart, they might not find theirs…Thanks Mr. Hyatt! I need to defend the gift God has given me to give these boys…heart. Thank you Mr. Hyatt, Jason Hill –

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. More people are counting on each of us that we realize.

  • Elizabeth Bohan

    My heart is attacked every day due to trauma my son experienced at the hands of another, and the healing that is taking years.  I have been drawn to despair at times and could have many times throw in the towel. But wanting to be the mother my son needs and to help him see that God can indeed use evil things to make good in our life… the stones and boulders meant to crush and destroy can become the rocks we stand on. We can use them to get to the better place God has for us. So, as you can see, defense for my heart attacks, is the Word of God and some days just making myself do the right things even if my heart doesn’t always feel strong enough to do it.

  • chris vonada

     Michael, thank you for this one :-)

  • Anonymous

     WOW! So good! I’ve written on this very thing but reading it from someone else was exactly what I needed today. I want my kids to get the importance of this now, not later! Thank you.

  • Jmhardy97

    Leading from the heart is so important in leadership, but guarding your heart is just as important. Great post.


    • Robert Ewoldt

      Good thought, Jim.

  • Nuruddin Abjani

    Michael, you never cease to amaze me!
    What a brilliant post and beautiful thoughts… You made my day!
    Shiey shiey… That means ‘Thanks’ in Chinese… Coz I am in China at the moment.

    God bless you, always…

  • Gail

    Guarding your own heart is just the first step. As shepherds of our flocks (pastors, leaders) we also need to guard the hearts of our people. Sometimes it is necessary to discipline or direct one of our people. This is the time to observe and guard their heart. It’s too easy to react and attack their behaviour without considering their heart and motivation in the actions and we can cause severe damage to their hearts inadvertantly.

    So, first guard your own heart, and then be careful with the hearts of those who you lead.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, indeed, we must be careful with the hearts of others.

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  • Fernando Almeida

     Thanks for another insightful post. As Christian leaders we’re always try to serve the needs of others, and often times, we forget we need to focus in our own needs thus guarding our hearts.

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  • Mgredler

    I think the first step to guard the heart is to understand that the heart is deceitful  (Jer 17:9).  I’m reading a great book by Andy Stanley that examines this – The Principle of the Path.

    I love the heart, as a symbol of love, as a symbol that goes back thousands of years, as the source of our love.  But when the heart is deceitful, it is so important to guard it.  If we tend to want to “follow our heart,” it is even more important to examine our heart and apply wisdom not emotion to the dreams and passions inside our heart.  Yes, we have to guard from outside attack.  But the heart attacks from within as well.

    I hope its OK, and I don’t know how to make a link active in this comment, but I have discussed the heart several times recently in my blog, including a picture of a Roman bronze heart over 2000 years old.  My URL is

    Thanks for your blog, which my wife recently shared with me.  I am using your resources to develop a personal (rest of) life plan.

    – mark

    • Michael Hyatt

      One thing to consider is the difference between the old and new covenants.

      God promised to give His people a new heart. In the New Covenant, God performs a heart transplant. Consider, these verses:

      Jeremiah 24:7: “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”

      Jeremiah 32:40: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.

      Ezekiel 36:26: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”

      In the New Covenant deceit may exist in our hearts, but I don’t think it is our true identity. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

      • Scoti Springfield Domeij

        Love the heart transplant word picture.

  • Kimberly L. Smith

     You ask, “When was the last time your heart was attacked?” As a Christian leader, I can attest it happens at least on a daily basis. 
    I would respectfully disagree with the person who posted that the journey to guard our heart begins with understanding our hearts are deceitful.As a Believer, with a new heart circumcised to Christ, my truest heart is good. But there are so many pressures from my flesh, and that of the world, that I often grow lazy and discouraged in the battle to protect, honor, and listen to that new heart through which the fierce love, fiery passion, and gentle compassion of Christ flows.  
    often, my heart is attacked in the details of daily life…making hard calls is easier when I deny my heart and go along with the opinions of others, but in the long run leaves me feeling ashamed and cowardly.
    Recently, I met with one of our leaders in Africa. I very much love this person and wanted to help them. But they were lying to me–and the rest of our staff. To confront them meant to admit I have made mistakes in trusting them to this point. Fear tugged at my heart to let it slip rather than bring light to the dark lies, and thus expose myself and risk the ministry which did much good for many, many orphans. 
    As I sat quietly listening to the lies, I also reflected on much good work that I knew had been accomplished through this person over the last few years. The contradiction of such good works that had been done through the person and their current choice to lie seemed irreconcilable, and I did not know if I could trust my “gut” or heart to know how to respond. 
    Suddenly clarity came when I remembered God can use anything–even what we intend for evil–but He calls us to light, and that is what I must bring to the situation. I did as best as I could. For today, the final outcome is still uncertain, but I thank you for keeping ever present the importance of listening to our heart…out of which Christ tsunamis of truth, love, and compassion. Love, your sister along the journey, kKimberly L. Smith

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  • Jorge Silvestrini

    I think the attacks come in several times a day! Satan doesn’t like that we work for the Kingdom and we are a clear target of his offense. I’ve learned to play hard defense. Sometimes my defense cracks and leaves the lane open, but usually God sends an angel and the ball doesn’t go in the basket at the last second. Funny how those things keep happening! I get reminded that I have to do my best, and if I happen to miss, God has my back because I have kept my faith at all times really high!

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  • Chris Benton

    One of satans biggest LIES is to
    follow your heart! He knows that hearts are deceived. Don’t ask for God to give
    you the desires of your heart, ask God to replace your heart so that you can
    desire what God wants for your life. That was a great and so true article! We have to guard our hearts or we will fall.

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Yes, but if you delight in the LORD, then you SHOULD follow your heart,
      because the desires of your heart will be in Him.

  • Anonymous

    Totally meaningful for me right now. Going through one of the roughest patches ever. Wondering…how to push back. Interested in learning from you!  Have a great one!

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  • Brandon Cordoba

    Thank you so much for this awesome post, Michael, it’s exactly what I needed to be reminded of! Thank you brother. :)

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  • Sandy van der Meulen

    This is a great post!!  Guarding our heart not our hurts, we can’t minister out of an offense, that just spreads the offense. Who wants that?!  Another thought I had was: one of the functions of our human hearts is to pump  the blood to the lungs so that it can be “purified” so to speak.  Sometimes as a leader we do have to process what’s going on, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s important for me to have godly counsel to help process it all, that way I’m not sitting around stewing on it all.  As a leader knowing the right place to process is very valuable.  Those people actually help guard the heart!

  • Craig

    I missed this original post. That is probably a good thing, because I really needed the word this morning. Was facing the reality of giving up on a long standing disappointment. I have courage for another go at it.

  • sojourner

    Looking forward to the future posts!  Great perspective.  I have never before thought about “guard your heart” in this way, in fact, I never quite did know what it meant. However, last Wednesday night, I said to God and wrote in my journal, “I’ve almost lost heart”. I don’t want to lose heart. I want to guard my heart in such a way as to not lose heart.  Next question is–how? I think I know some of the answers–rhythms of rest and solitude time with God, not working so long and hard, keeping things worked out with people…still learning.

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  • octavia johnson

    When my heart was attacked I thought about what I should do first then in response to the situation I went straight into prayer and toward the WORD since it is my sword to ward off my enemy; i needed prayer because it was the thing that helped me to release what I was feeling and enduring at the time; prayer equipt me through God’s knowledge to encourage me to go to the word as my resource for strength and guidance which is what I did and I survived; through the cleansing of the Word and sound counsel these were the things that gave me the strength that I needed to go through this particular trial and come out purified from any attachment or residue of sin.

  • Keshaboston29

    First, I want to say that this is an AWESOME post and very timely. My heart has been attacked several times and I have and am still learning to CAST IT (THE CARE) ON THE LORD. HE promised that he would not withhold any good thing from me, so I believe he will heal my heart. He will also teach me through postings such as this. Thanks for this post. I look forward fir the others
    I. Be blessed

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  • Lounakapalau

    You are full of crap. Through your “knowledge”, you know what not to eat or do. Through your “experiences”, you know what works and what does’nt, and lastly, through all your “skills”, we all die eventually. Death, the great equalizer and our common denominator. But there are actually some people out there who subscribe to your bullshit. Another way to scam money.

  • Millybarrera

    As a baby Christian there was a very tremendous assault in my heart which almost took my life spiritually, emotionally and even physically. I now can look back and realize that it was an attack from satan to take me out but The Holy Spirit brought me through. I now have such a hugh burden for believers when they are babies in Christ, this is when they are most likely to get assasinated spiritually and beyond. In it all thank you for your message sweet short and very empowering. 
    Sister in Christ
    Forever will be greatful to Him!

  • Tiffany1728

    GG = Gods grace.(^_^)

    i think it’s normal for us leaders to face this kind of battle daily but we were able to get through it because of God’s grace. (^_^)

    by the way thanks for your post Sir Michael, it really helped me a lot.(^_^)

  • Katrinaharrisonthe1

    The last time my heart was attack was Sat, in the attacks always seem to come via my children. Now I ask God a question, I said Lord if I hav an opening that I am not aware of will you please show me / tell me this is what he say to me. Guard your heart, so I have been researching this trying to study up on this when I came across this post. So I began asking God how do. Guard my heart?

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  • meiyen chng

    How true! Thank you for sharing, Michael. 

  • Solarcme

    My marriage failed and I was completely broken down. But little did I know that my heart was so unguarded… I didn’t even understand what that meant…
    … until I realized I had fallen in love with someone half my age (younger). Being on the inside it seemed uncontrollable and normal, but looking in from the outside I must have looked like a complete loser and sicko.
    Even though it was innocent and pure, it was still wrong.. but it is when I learned that the heart must be guarded at all times and how vulnerable I am when it is not.

  • Ann

    Wow, I just wondered across this and I have to say that I even having gone to catholic schools were I had to sit in religious classes for an hour every day did not know about this part of the bible. I have had my heart broken numerous times to the extent that I am now jaded and weary of anyone entering into it again. It seems like everyone I meet is out to hurt me because they are dishonest with their intentions no matter how hard I try to combat this. I ask all of the right questions and introduce all of the right discussions by they always seem to end up having a hidden agenda. I will try to focus on this passage from the bible from now on, but doesn’t it seem to serve to make you jaded? I guess I don’t understand the difference. Doesn’t God want us to be trusting? I wish I had more clarity on the subject.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I see our hearts as a castle. We have to have a moat and a drawbridge around it. We want to be able to protect ourselves from those that threaten our hearts, but open the drawbridge wide and welcome those we choose.

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  • Kellykim29

    My heart is under attack right know and it is due mainly from me not guarding what I allowed and or the things that I believed. It is one of the hardest things to overcome. I am praying and and hoping that one day I will wake up and the pain of hurt, lost, and rejection will no longer reside there..

  • Anninthecity

    Amazing post!

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  • wesley

    Thanks for the message michael, I liked it and will try to guard my heart.
    iam wesley from chennai, India. I am doing full time ministry.   

  • sue

    My heart was attacked when I found out my husband  was and probably still is having affairs. All I feel is resentment towards him. He is going to church and I was, until he started dictating to me about everything, my family, eveything I do just about. I asked him for money for Christmas and he told me no, but he can spend whatever he wants. I’ve just fallen away……I want to leave him but I have no money…..I had a business…but he badjers me to get rid of it all the time…I just have no desire to do anything……he even told me he wasn’t taking me out to dinner anymore because he can’t afford it…then he brags to others he makes $6000.00 a month. I pray that God will help me to go but I’m just not happy…..what should I do?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am sorry for your circumstances, Sue. I would encourage you to seek the advice of a counselor in your area. You need someone who can hear the details of your story and then walk with you through this. All the best.

  • Alice

    I would say that up until a few weeks ago I would completely agree with this. However after being hurt numerous times, and it causing me to not trust people, I finally opened up to someone for the first time. I opened my heart to them and it didn’t hurt. I have always had problems with seeing people appear ‘weak or vulnerable’ because of my experiences. I learnt through opening up that it’s not all that bad to let yourself seem vulnerable,it just has to be to the right people. Therefore I would say that this verse needs to be taken in context of the proverbs before it. They are mainly dealing with wisdom and 2:10 says wisdom will enter your heart. I would suggest that this can be seen as advising to guard your heart so that the wisdom is not damaged,(the wisdom that keeps you on the right path and ‘guards you’ therefore guarding your heart?) as well as the ‘wellspring of life’. Perhaps it can be seen both ways but from my recent experiences I would say that opening up can be healing. Maybe I’m on a completely different topic, but I thought I’d share my views! I’m still not totally won over by sharing and trusting, but I believe that completely going the opposite way and closing your heart off to everyone and everything can be just as damaging. Therefore we need to ask God how to get that balance?!

  • Kathy Hogeveen

    I have been pondering this verse as I see how I’ve not done a good job of guarding my heart.  Needing the margin that your ‘The Four Disciplines of the Heart” is imperative to fueling my will to persevere.  Just thought I’d let you know that this morning I googled ‘guard your heart’ and your post is what came up.  God used this post to speak to me as a business owner this morning. Thank you for this post.

  • Evzzlyn

    As I read this my heart is under attack, it has been for the last few days. I have prayed, I have cried, I have read scriptures and I have prayed some more. I have noticed that even though scripture tells us to guard our hearts we have been so conditioned to give our hearts. We grow up learning to love, learning that love comes from the heart, we should put our hearts into all that we do. It seems that by the time we learn the truth, the truth being we are to guard our hearts diligently, we have given so much of it we essentially have to recondition ourselves to a new way of being. I myself want to love and be loved, with that said I do understand that guarding my heart doesn’t mean guard it with bitterness, resentment, or anger. I am in the recondiotioning stage. God Speed.

  • Jupi_planet

    the last time i was demotivated my response was highly negative… i purposely missed church on Sunday as i was upset on GOD but praise GOD my leaders counselled me back on tracks  it took almost a week for me to gain my fervor back !! 

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  • Penselwood

    My heart was attacked just a few minutes ago, by my son, who roughly objected to the sauce I made and hurt my feelings. He was tired, I know… had had a rough day and needed to vent. But it still hurt. That’s actually why I came to the computer and typed the words “guard your heart” and stumbled on your wonderful page.

    Thank you!

  • Penselwood

    I posted my comment below after reading your post but before reading through the many wonderful comments on here. Wow. So many strong, faith-filled Christians! Gloria’s story about her keyed car, toddlers with breathing difficulties. all exhorting us to be strong. Thank you all, especially for the practical analogy of the drawbrigde with a guard selectively allowing things in or out – staying open to the positive and barring the negative.

    I love this post.

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  • guin

    the image of the knight’s armor you used for the article is so appropriate. upon discovering  a few years ago what has become one of my favorite movies FIRST KNIGHT (made in 1995 ?)  above all, guard your heart proverbs 4:23  was the scripture that came to mind after viewing it. thank you for the insightful article.

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  • Jaka7177

    When I lost my mother,One of the hardest things I have ever done ): I miss my parents,but my biggest question as others,,will I see them in heaven and will we know eachother,?I know the.. Bible says that we have hope as others dont.I have became a stronger Christian and it has brought me so close to the lord…Thank you for listening and God Bless’

  • Jeeva

    Good post,Sir. We know God(His Love) through Revelation and Experience.

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  • Bella

     The last time my heart was attacked was by my hopefully soon to be ex-husband. I never wanted to be divorced or have the bevy of problems and strife that we had during the marriage but he was exceedingly controlling, abusive (physically, mentally, and emotionally)…and now his latest gesture is to purposely withhold financial support or any interest in our two young sons 2 and 19 months old.  We were allowed by a judge to leave the state he moved us to and return to my family having lost everything…not just years of time but all the investments I made even before the idiotic decision to abruptly marry him.

    I truly involved myself with this person so impulsively and was not watchful of my own life or my heart and naturally I was an easy mark for an abusive person to come in and strip me of everything and attempt to take away my dignity and that of my children.  

    Through it, however, I learned how to not only fight back, I learned to actually value myself and appreciate the level of strength it took for me to accept that this really was happening and to get my children out of that house and even though I faltered many moments hoping that I could repair things with him especially because our babies were so young…I ultimately did the best thing for myself and my children and left that situation behind us.

    It has been peaceful and productive and I feel so much better not having that constant disruption and drama in our lives.  He seethes with hatred towards me and ofcourse there many compilations of lies that he tells for people to pity him but my children and I know the truth….we were the only ones in our home and we know the limited life he thought we were going to lead. Would not have been possible.

    In my study this morning the scripture… Guard your heart….came to my remembrance and I thought to look it up and also found this blog.  Thanks for a great article. It is in the indeed the most important asset we will ever have and it can not just given and share with just any random number of individuals. 

    That was the lesson I had to learn, I opened my life up to too many people thinking that I’d help to build them up but they would just use me, take advantage of me and spit on me like nothing was done for them.

    So this was this was the biggest jolt that God allowed in my direction so that I’d stop squandering my life, time and gifts on this unconscious idiotic quest for martyrdom.

  • lee-ann

    I spoke my heart to a friend in confidence because i felt excluded from them and a mutual friend we have (in certain things they do) and before i had time to share with anyone, she had shared my feelings with them…….now we are struggling to restore friendships and seem to be very distant. They still stand together in their friendship and i am still left standing on the outside once again….

  • Barbara Lewis

    Good article. Especially excellent towards leadership and the protective leadership of our own hearts.

  • Susan

    Thank you for this message. I will not allow an attack on my heart anymore. I trust my angels to protect it so I enjoy the life God would like me to have.

  • Vilma

    Thanks a lot for this article…it helps enlightened me more. May God bless you more…

  • Marlene a Hibbard

    Fantastic illustration of your business being the spring board to guard your heart. Thanks, I’m going to put a link to this blog on my blog.

  • Darryl F.

    I tried for years to lead and love my wife without guarding anything and she cheated and walked all over me. She took my kindness for a weakness and than laughed at me. I trusted her with everything and she took it. With God’s help I won’t let that happen again.

  • Regina

    It was just late last night during a break in out intercessory class, I was attacked. My mind was angry and I want to burst out but God gave me His wisdom and I talked to a Christian couple that I can trust, they always brought me back to the Word and to Christ and told me to guard my heart.

  • God’s Beloved

    This is very deep. Thank you. All my life I feel like I have been someone who has been vulnerable to the enemy because my heart has been unguarded. I feel like there has been this childlikeness to my heart that just trusts everything and I feel that’s how God’s made me but I let it become a weakness. So when I am up and on a “high” with God, I am EXTREMELY high. But when I became low I was VERY LOW. This is why I am a person who has been well acquainted with feelings of hopelessness and despair all my life. The enemy has deceived me so much because once I “feel: something it is SO strong. So when there are negative emotions, self-pity, self-hate, depression etc. comes in. But thank God when he saved me I have been learning. I been struggling with it along the way but It’s been years now and my biggest strength (my passionate and extra sensitive heart) is still also my biggest weakness. But God has been opening my eyes so much. Now in the midst of me learning these lessons about guarding my heart he is establishing me as leader which to be honest has been scary but I am choosing to trust him and walk by faith instead of let my strong natural fleshly emotions of fear consume me. Any personal advice you can give me?

  • anthony

    My heart is attacked constantly. Its under attack at all times, even in my sleep.

  • God’s child

    My heart has been constantly attacked from growing up to a fourteen year relationship with my sons father. One where my compassion and love is returned with unfaithfulness, abuse and destruction. How I am coping is also by reading psalm 91, and just crying out to God. I feel alone and like my heart and mind is imprisoned and constantly attacked but I know my God reigns and my hope is in him. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing something to change my situation but I am too weak but then I remember that in my weakness his strength is made perfect. My life will be a testament of his great love and faithfulness.

  • Plsgetreal

    Gods child, you need to wake up and this diatribe is most certainly ridiculous. You are weak because you choose to be. Please wake up and get in with your life. Take it from someone who nearly lost their life waiting for somebody to see the value of my heart, our young babies and our marriage. If you value yourself you’ll move on and do what needs to be done for you and your sons. Some times it’s really just that simple.

  • Miriam

    I really really love what u said Patricia, I did not guard my heart. I saw many things I have been worrying about made my heart felt so leftout, and felt this overtiredness, that I could. have prevent. Like what you said, its a good thing to start with.

  • Norske

    This past weekend. Someone is looking for some other to partner up with. A convenient liasion. Not absolutely a terrible idea. just not God’s best. Not a fit. not two whole and complete in Jesus individual entities coming together. rather two fractions trying to create a whole. looking for completion in another.
    We are COMPLETE in Jesus. Allow Jesus to do the complete work. Then look to Him in Faith to provide the rest.

  • Caroline

    Guarding my heart means using the word of God as my sword making sure my decision making is aligned to God’s word. I just came through a tough break up and I didn’t guard my heart, I was foolish and now I’m reaping the heart wrenching consequences of my ways, praying for God’s healing

  • Doc AG

    My daily struggle is with anxiety. Sometimes it feels like a raging storm of despair shut up on my head. It’s an irrational fear that consumes my good sense and natural ability. Lately God has granted me peace through prayer and supplication. I tell the enemy out loud that he is a liar… and the chaos is replaced by comfort…no doubt from the Holy Spirit Himself.

  • Matt Law

    Michael, I didn’t know the story about raising money. Much respect for that. After reading this and facing what we have faced, it has greatly encouraged me. While we did raise the money, it has been a wild ride with mountains and valleys. There have been times I have wanted to throw in the towel and tell our investors off. As I sat in my groveling, the Lord would remind me that my heart mattered most and to check it. Humble pie after humble pie, I have swallowed and tried to protect my attitude. We are in the days of small beginnings. However small they are, I am amazed at God’s presence and peace as we keep climbing. Much love and appreciation for this reminder. Great archive post!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing that, Matt. We are comrades-in-arms!

  • Margaret

    I love this post! ” It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live.” That’s why I call my blog “this is your heart.” It is so important to value your heart, take care of it and protect it.You put it so well, as always. I’ll be coming back to this one a lot when I need encouragement!

  • Bethany Schultz

    Michael, thank you for this post and for your boldness to speak the truth about the Lord. Thank you also for being approachable. So many other people in the spotlight do not respond to their audience members, and it says a lot about your character.

  • Tina

    I was recently hit really hard and my heart was attacked, insulted and nothing could help me except for the Lord. A male and I had been dating for simply 3 months there was no sexual intercourse but we did make out and and had many times where I would stay in his room or just chill with him and watch tv for many long hours. I arose one night and thought I was going to be humbled by him, he Layed there asleep in my heart I was filled with fear- no one had ever really taught me how to become more Christlike in this area, I sat there without a word trying to figure out what to say. I figured I was in love with him- he made me feel so humble, told me I was the most beautiful girl he’d wanted me for a while and so on. For me I was tempted in many ways and wanted so desperately to show him how much I cared, I really fell for him and thought this relationship would go far; maybe marriage! Well as time passes we got into a fight shortly after I told him I wouldn’t have sex until marriage. I wanted so desperately to hear him say I love you back. There was no reason why he wouldn’t, I mean everything pointed to the fact that he was able. one night, while a little tipsy he even said I haven’t told you yet but I love you. Later that week I wasn’t exactly happy with some of the tension and selfishness I had experienced I wanted him to be here for me not blow me off for friends. I was over it and broke down and explained it to him- he basically said he wouldn’t change or go out of his way for me if he didn’t feel like it. He would do what he wanted. I broke up with him and said I think we should be friends and see what happens. He said simply, “cool.” But there A small bit of communication and he asked me to no longer contact him or talk to him. That was it 3 months of “love” gone and my heart was hurt so bad but a quote says, “Time doesn’t beal a broken heart but God does.” So girls (and guys) guard your hearts and know the Lord loves us too much to see us hurt.

    • Tina

      As I said this i realized that we all are imperfect sinners, Christ has it on my heart to pray for this boy- he is a good guy with a great heart but needs simple Godly guidance, as we all do. Please keep him in your prayers ALWAYS! I beg you!!!

  • John

    I think this article misses the main point of this verse regarding the guarding of your heart. I think Jesus was trying to emphasis that we should guard more what flows out of heart rather than what flows into it. He says OUT of the heart flows the issues of life not into it. He also said the heart is desperately and deceptively wicked, who can know it?

    In Mark 17 the Bible says: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. In Proverbs 4:23 it says;
    Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

    The term “heart” can be rightly defined as the thoughts of a person’s mind. Genisis 6 says: The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Clearly the intent of the Bible and of Jesus’ teaching on this verse is that we are to guard our thoughts and speech which are formed first in our hearts and minds. We have bent towards sin and un righteousness since the fall of man and unless God places a new heart within us nothing good can come from the heart. Psalm 51:10 says; Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

    Only God can change our heart and only God by the power of His Spirit can give us the wisdom to guard what come out of our hearts. We have the capability of spewing forth death or life from our tongues. And all words that we speak start in the heart. This is the true meaning of “Guarding ones heart.”

  • Cicely

    Its good to recall the “word” of God because they are never to return void, but what happens when you’re under attack and the scriptures you recite excite the enemy to attack harder. Unfortunately, that is what I am going through. Much like the article it has come through disappointment, discouragement and disillusion. Often times I have to cast my thoughts down into the submission of the word because my pride wants me to react.

    Guarding your heart is not an easy task because as humans we regularly put our trust in things that are imperfect (such as people). We are commanded to love in spite of. I feel worn yet, I pray that after I make it through this storm I have enough momentum to mount up with wings of an eagle, fly high that I regain strength from the Lord.

    Its difficult when material is not what your seeking but Love (unconditional, uninhabited, and unrestrained). Guarding your heart doesn’t guarantee you a future with no pain, but I do know it offers you a revelation of your frailties and God’s awesome power. In our weakness He is strong!