Proverbs 4:20-23 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
When asked if they read Proverbs daily, I heard someone tell me; “I have been reading the Book of Proverbs since I was a child. I don’t think I can get anything more out of it.”
Statements we make such as these, set boundaries. I believe I am the child of a limitless God. The God of the impossible. And yet, I foolishly begin to think I have the Christian life figured out.
Every day for me is made new by my God. he set the sun on its course to rise and set at His command. The waters of the ocean stop at the shore and the tides ebb and flow at His bidding. The earth is watered, the sun shines, the plants grow, all life is fed, and we dare to complain when the weather doesn’t fit our plans.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence;”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary has many definitions that I believe, pertain to what it is God would have us to do concerning our heart.
To hold; to retain in one’s power or possession; not to lose or part with; as, to keep a house or a farm; to keep anything in the memory, mind or heart.
We often talk of ‘giving our heart’ to someone. Our Heavenly Father created us to be in a relationship; with ourselves, with each other, and with Himself. The value we place on each of those relationships will determine the amount of commitment we give to each one and reflects the amount of time we spend in each one.
Webster uses other words such as:
To have, to hold, to retain, to preserve, to retain, and to tend.
If my heart has been given to me to have, to hold, to preserve, to retain, and to tend; I must apply the diligence I am commanded to give to it. The solemn warning strikes at the very heart of every life.
“…for out of it are the issues of life.”
I have also learned of my heart from the Word of God:
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: …”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
We talk of setting our hearts to a matter, or being immersed in a cause, or solely focused on an issue. Some are blown about like the wind and others are laser focused. I have seen some who have been so sincere regarding their cause, yet, according to the Word of God, they are sincerely wrong.
What happened? How did they get off track? What lie or untruth was accepted to form a belief system based upon that lie? We call that a stronghold. It is a term for spiritual bondage.
God knows our hearts better than anyone – He created them. Yet, when you or I take up a thought that is contrary to the Word of God, and act upon that thought, we depart from the safety and blessing He has promised to give when we obey.
It becomes a heart issue when we think and meditate on things outside of the biblical realm. When you and I begin to justify our thoughts and actions as right when God stands against them, we have chosen our will over His.
I have learned that if I become lax in the keeping of my heart, I will expose my mind and my heart to thoughts and feelings that will carry me swiftly to a place God never intended me to go.
If I do not recognize my error, I become entangled and ensnared in thoughts that will begin to question God, and His authority in my life. A simple decision such as staying home when you should have gone can cost someone their life.
David stayed home at a time when kings were to go to war. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time; he saw something he was not supposed to see and acted on it. He committed adultery, conceived an illegitimate child, conspired to kill, and committed murder.
Eighteen months later, he was confronted by the man of God and sincerely repented. But the damage was done. Had he taken his advice, he never…
In hindsight, we can always analyze and evaluate a matter. I think the truth we are meditating on today was born out of failure.
Could it be that David realized that he had not kept his heart right before God and allowed thoughts to begin to take root and grow? Feelings that were never countered with the discipline of humble submission and obedience to the Word of God and listening and obeying the Spirit of God?
We rarely do an autopsy on our failures.
Sticking our finger into an electrical socket and getting shocked would quickly tell my mind, “I don’t think I will do that again.”
Saying hateful and hurtful words and destroying the love and trust built up over the years should teach our hearts never to do or say that again – but do we learn?
What we see with our eyes and hear with our ears directly influence our meditator.
Our control, or the lack thereof, will affect our hearts accordingly.
The healing of a wounded heart; the comfort given to a hurting heart; the rebuilding of a broken heart are all activities God has given to us – whether it is our own, those we love, or those placed in our care.
Unless I keep my own heart – I cannot do any of those things effectively.
We give the greatest amount of time and effort to that which value the most. One of those things God tells us to place close to the top of that list is upon what our hearts meditate.
Take heed to what you place before your eyes and allow your ears to hear. David learned after his failure how valuable it was. May we learn from him and not make the same mistake.
Psalm 101:2-3 “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”