Sometimes it’s hard when there’s too much of a good thing. For instance trying to find that one nugget on a broad topic covered by Proverbs 4 – 8. Where do I even start? Because right now I wish I could take every single one of these verses and cram them into my children’s heads. I finally settled on 4:23 the phrase that got me was from the NIV: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (NIV).
Not only are we to guard our hearts but the NASB says to do so with diligence. I was surprised to find the Strong’s word for diligence:
Part of Speech
Root Word (Etymology)
From שָׁמַר (H8104)
1) place of confinement, prison, guard, jail, guard post, watch, observance
a) jail, prison, guard-house
b) guard, guard post, act of guarding
Intense, huh? We are to guard our hearts like a prison. I’ve never been to one but from what I’ve seen on television, you have to go through a lot of checkpoints to visit someone there. So, I thought if they took that much care in housing criminals, shouldn’t there be a higher standard when it comes to something as precious as my heart, the source of the wellspring of my life?
John Angell James (1785-1859) had this to say about Proverbs 4:23:
The heart is… the great vital spring of the soul, the fountain of actions, the center of principle, the seat of motives.
The heart is the center of the thoughts and feelings—out of which conduct comes.
The heart must be the first, chief, constant object of solicitude to the Christian. It is this which God sees, and because God principally looks at it, the heart must be ever uppermost in our concern.
To keep the heart must mean exerting ourselves with great earnestness, in dependence upon Divine grace, to preserve it in a good state; laboring to preserve its vitality, vigor, and purity.
The heart is the citadel of the soul. If this is neglected, the enemy at the gates will soon be in and take possession. Set a watch, therefore, upon the heart. Let the sentinel be never off duty, nor sleeping at his post.
Keep out evil thoughts, and unholy affections, and vile imaginations. Without great vigilance they will elude observation. As soon as an enemy of this kind is detected, he must be seized and made captive, until every thought is brought into subjection to Christ.
As the state of the heart is, so is the man in reality—and before God. Guard your heart! (From Jewels from James)
I’m ashamed to say that lately I have probably treated my heart less of a citadel and more of a carnival – anything goes! After I finished this class on Revelation I decided to take a break and read something light and funny. I found an author through Amazon. I liked the first book and even recommended it to my older son and some friends. However, after I downloaded his other books I started seeing some language that made me uncomfortable. Did I stop? Nooooooo. I kept going, after all the guy was funny. By the fourth book however, he started talking about things that can best be described as “vile imaginations.” Oh, were they vile. Much as it pained me not to finish a book, I had to stop. He might have been funny but I wasn’t laughing anymore. All I could think of was, if Jesus came back right now, how would I feel if He sees me reading this book? I’d be very embarrassed, yes, but the more important question is, how would HE feel?
Sigh. And I wonder why my prayer life has been dry lately.
It’s funny, I started this post hoping that my sons would learn and live these Proverbs. Little did I know I am the one who needed a healthy dose of it, too. What I have learned is I need to set up boundaries and have a stricter stance on what I let into my heart. It is something I have to do because just as I discovered, we have an enemy who is just waiting for us to slip, for just a little crack to open so he can gain a foothold and set up camp.
Excuse me while I go ask the Lord to evict that squatter.
[Reading from Blue Letter Bible – Chronological Plan]