“3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
You’ll never be truly happy by seeking happiness. It comes as a natural by-product of seeking relationship with Jesus and allowing ourselves to become more like Him in our thinking and actions. Being like Jesus means that we adopt the same outlook as He had (Philippians 2:5) in seeking to be a blessing to others. We so easily make Christianity into a self-centered thing. Instead of focusing on what we can give and how we can be a blessing to others, we tend to focus on what we can get and how we can be more blessed – we become more concerned about our well-being than the well-being of those around us. God wants you to experience His blessing, but it is never solely for the purpose of you being blessed. It’s also so that you can be a blessing to others and show others the love and goodness of God. The purpose of God’s blessing in our lives is so that we can be a blessing! (Genesis 12:2)
“Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23 GOD’S WORD
We often take a self-centered approach when we read the Scripture, and this verse is a great case in point. This verse is usually interpreted by Christians in terms of relationships. We tell ourselves and each other that “you need to guard your heart” - and what we mean by that is that we need to protect ourselves from others. People say things like, “The reason I got hurt in that relationship was because I didn’t guard my heart”. Yes, it is important that you don’t allow others to use and abuse you and you don’t just allow others to walk all over you. You shouldn’t enable abusers to abuse you. But this verse was not intended to give you a reason to build walls to protect yourself from other people. Did Jesus “guard His heart” from other people? No. He gave everything of Himself. He knew that Judas would betray Him and yet He didn’t distance Himself from Judas; He loved Him, served Him and died for Him.
This verse is actually saying the opposite of what most Christians intend it to mean. It’s not saying that you should protect yourself from other people by building walls to guard your heart – that’s self-centered. This verse is saying that you should protect those around you (because you love them and are seeking to be a blessing to them) by guarding over what you allow into your heart and what you keep out of your heart. Your heart is the garden of your life. What you focus on and think about are seeds that you allow into your heart which result in how you live your life. It’s what determines how you react and respond to people and how you treat them. If you keep guard over what you allow into your heart you are protecting the people around you from experiencing you negatively. For example, if you are always thinking badly about someone, then when you interact with them they will not have a positive experience with you. But if you choose to think the best of others and give them the benefit of the doubt, then when they encounter you their experience will be positive and uplifting.
If your thinking is toxic it will affect you negatively, and so guarding your heart is protecting yourself too. And so, if you’re sowing positive, godly seeds into your heart, then it will result in positive, healthy, godly fruit which you will benefit from, and which will be a blessing to those around you. But if you’re focused on ungodly, negative things then you’re sowing bad seeds into your heart which will produce a toxic harvest. If will affect you negatively and it will not bless those around you. It may even cause those around you to avoid you, which means you’ll lose your influence with people - and God has called you to be an influencer. (Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 KJV
Carnal-mindedness is really just thinking according to the values of the world. It’s not always necessarily sin, but it includes sin. Carnal-mindedness doesn’t just tend towards death - it equals death (which includes sickness, depression, anger, poverty, and anything else that is a result of the fall of man). To be spiritually-minded means you’re thinking like God thinks (Word of God minded). This doesn’t just tend toward life and peace - it results in life and peace!
Thinking ungodly thoughts will sow seeds of destruction in your heart which will affect you and those around you badly. Thinking the way God thinks sows good seed into your heart, which results in good fruit, which will bless you and those around you.