Guard Your Heart
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:13-27) [i]
It is my opinion that God intends that we live a perfectly natural, very practical, and deeply spiritual life all at the same time. I believe that with all my heart. However, some may disagree thinking it is not possible. But it appears that Solomon wrote Proverbs for those very reasons. The book of Proverbs beautifully interweaves the practical and the spiritual things into our colorful quilt of life.
What Does it Mean to “Guard Your Heart”? The word, “heart,” is used more than eight hundred times in the Old Testament. Most of those references are not discussing the physical flesh and blood that makes up the organ of a human heart. More than two hundred times it deals with one’s training, education, emotions, and feelings that motivate and form our thoughts… our thought activity. The Bible calls that the heart.
Why did Solomon tell his son, “above all else, guard your heart; for out of it are the issues of life?” Because our thought activity controls the rest of our life. That’s why our thought activity is so important!
For example, if you tell me who you are and the life you live, what you think about various aspects of life, and what your hopes and dreams are for your future, I will have a small idea of the thought activity that controls you. Your thoughts—positive, negative, good, or bad—control your attitudes. Your attitudes lead to your actions.
Before you can do anything, you first have to think it. Your achievements will be the sum total of your thoughts. This is so fundamental that God destroyed an entire civilization because they had “heart trouble.”
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. (Genesis 6:5, 6).
We’re still having “heart trouble” today. Our modern society in general is weighed down with hate, sin, bad habits, and immorality. Many are looking in all the wrong places for physical or emotional fulfillment. Just follow today’s news media and social media to see the depth of sadness in our world. For the most part, goodness and kindness have taken a back-seat to self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and the desire to have control.
The good news is that there are still many wonderful, generous, self-less, and loving people to emulate in our efforts to be more like Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to present our bodies to Him, including our minds, that He might transform us. No wonder the devil battles for our thoughts. How important it is that we learn to keep our hearts, because a fierce battle is raging for the control of our thoughts.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2).
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11).
God has a plan for you and me, a wonderful plan. The book of Proverbs shows us His plan for having health, wealth, and wisdom. It begins with our thought activity.
[i] wGE7OtFSqFmkSnqW4LHYfgEClK0ZPngdRZ5HV4Yp.jpeg nucleus-production.s3.amazonaws.com) [ii] New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.