Protect Your Heart; Feed the Good Dog


Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
– Proverbs 4:23

I love to tell a story to our UrbanPromise kids about a young boy who was always getting into trouble. 

He couldn’t help himself. His desire to do the right thing was there, but when it came time to act—he’d always go the wrong way.

So his mother sent him to visit Grandpa. He was a pretty wise guy. He’d been around the block a few times and had made a few mistakes in his day.

“I’m just always getting in trouble, Grandpa,” lamented the young boy over a glass of ice tea. “I want to do what’s right, but I always get pulled in another direction. What should I do?”

So Grandpa paused, scratched his day old beard, and tenderly replied:

“Ya know son, in your heart there are two dogs. One is good. One is bad. And they are constantly fighting one another.”

His grandson nodded: the metaphor clicked. It was a perfect picture of his inner turmoil. Two dogs, constantly fighting one another, one good and one bad.

“Grandpa, I’m curious,” queried the boy with a sense of urgency, “which dog ends up winning?”  

Again, the old man paused, gazed into the eyes of his grandson:

“The dog who wins? It’s the dog you feed the need to feed the good dog!”

This past week I’ve thought a lot about this little parable. It causes me to ask the question—which dog am I feeding?  You and I know there’s  a lot out there to fill our hearts—fear, anxiety, negativity, worst-case scenarios, panic....lot’s of unhealthy food.

And to a large degree, what ends up filling our hearts profoundly influences the way we lead and respond to this current crisis. What’s in our heart impacts the way we treat people, make decisions and think about the future. 

The writer of Proverbs speaks to me because he understood the intimate connection between our heart and our actions.  That’s why he penned these words centuries ago—words still relevant for this moment:

“Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

Everything flows from the heart. Everything. We need to protect it.

So our challenge this week is not to simply play defense with our hearts. Our challenge is to proactively feed our hearts with good food—the healthy, non-toxic, spiritually enhanced, no preservatives kind of food.

For a helpful menu we need look no further than the Apostle Paul.....

"Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—dwell, meditate and focus on these things."

Practicing these truths will fill our hearts with the right kind of food.

None of us know what’s coming our way this week. We can’t control what’s happening. The one thing we can control is being selective about what enters our hearts. 

Feed the Good Dog—

Bruce Main

  • What does it look like in your life when you feed the "bad dog"? 
  • What does it look like in your life when you feed the "good dog"? 
  • Is there someone you can share your habits with who will hold you accountable to practicing habits that will feed your soul rather than your fears?