Monday, February 25, 2008

Guard Your Heart Above ALL Things

Proverbs 4:23 AMP
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

Do you remember the old song by Reba McIntyre and Vince Gill "The Heart Won't Lie"? Well, most of us know that is a lie. Our hearts are deceitful above all things. The things we say and do are definitely a reflection of what is in our hearts.

Proverbs 22:15 says this "15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."

Bottom line folly is bound up in each of our hearts from the time we were born. If you read the preceding verses that lead into verse 23 you will see the importance that God's word must have in our hearts if we are going to live victoriously and be sure footed. God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19) if He says something in His word He means it and He will prove right always.

I was reading in Jeremiah 5:3 this morning about how God struck Israel yet they felt no pain; He crushed them, but the refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent (I am paraphrasing). We can be bent on rebellion or we can set our face like flint determined to do the will of our Father (Isa 50:7 NLT). We can start choosing to believe Him and take Him at His word and live in obedience to Him.

What does it mean for me to guard my heart? The word guard is the word Nasar meaning "to guard, protect, keep, obey; to observe, behold, watch, inspect. Used to denote guarding a vinyard..., a fig tree..., and a fortress. Those who performed this function were called watchmen...In an ethical sense one can guard his mouth (Ps 141:3; Pr 13:3), his path in life (Pr 16:17), his heart (Pr 4:23), His lips (Ps 141:3), and his tongue (Ps 34:13)...Israel was likened to a vineyard and the Lord served as her keeper (Job 7:20). (Key Word Study Lexical Aids)

I would say part of guarding your heart means confession of your sins, examination of your heart, and a careful inspection of what you let in and out of your heart and mind. What you watch, where you go, who your friends are, what you listen to, what you set your affections on, and choosing obedience not based on feeling but on truth. Weeding out roots of bitterness, unforgiveness, disobedience, lust, immorality, gossip, and so many other things that seek to ensnare your heart. Knowing the truth is what will set us free from the deceitfulness of our own hearts.

Heart is the word leb here meaning "the center, the middle of something... Leb however, is more commonly used for the center of man's inner or immaterial nature...In the bible the whole spectrum of human emotions is attributed to the heart...Leb is used to signify the mind (2 Ch 9:23), good sense (Pr 10:8), and discernment (2 Ki 5:26). Wisdom and understanding reside in the heart (1 Ki 3:12, Pr 16:23). The heart can be deceived (Isa 44:20) and is the point of origin of moral evil (Jer 17:9). It is the seat of the will (Nu 16:28; Jdg 9:3; 2 Ch 12:14). To refuse to make the proper decision is to harden the heart..." (Key Word Study Lexical Aids)

So we are to guard the core of our being...the center of our emotions and our inner or immaterial nature. We do this by paying attention to His instruction (vs 20-22) that is what will keep our hearts with all diligence...the attention and application to Gods word.

Here is what The Bible Knowledge Commentary says: " The heart should be guarded for out of it ( a wellspring) come one's actions (cf. Luke 6:45). Here the word "heart" means more than mental capacity; it also encompasses one's values (cf Matt. 6:21)."

"These verses apply the command to guard one's heart (v. 23), including what one says (v. 24), sees (v. 25), and does (vv. 26-27).

So I plead with you cry out to the Lord to make you wise in your heart. Ask Him to stand at the door of your heart with the truth of His word and guard that thing. Withhold nothing from Him.

Further Reading:

  1. Proverbs 16:21
    The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.
    Proverbs 16:20-22 (in Context) Proverbs 16 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Proverbs 16:23
    A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
    Proverbs 16:22-24 (in Context) Proverbs 16 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Proverbs 18:15
    The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
    Proverbs 18:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 18 (Whole Chapter)
  4. Proverbs 22:17
    [ Sayings of the Wise ] Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,
    Proverbs 22:16-18 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
  5. Proverbs 23:15
    My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
    Proverbs 23:14-16 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)
  6. Proverbs 23:19
    Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.


Anonymous said...

I don't have a blog but I sure enjoy reading them. I got to your blog thru Jessica McCash. I love looking at her blog and all of her blog friends. I came across yours and think your little girl is adorable. I love that picture. I look at your blog every now and then and I love the wonderful music you have on here, but today I really read some of your devotional / inspiring blogs. I was really lifted up by reading them. My husband is a youth director in Fayetteville and I teach our youth girls for Sunday school. I feel like sometimes I should know more about the bible than I do, given the position I'm in, and just reading your blog really gives me inspiration. I love being able to be encouraged by someone I don't even know just by reading their thoughts and feelings when they read the bible. I feel like while I am in the middle of work I can log on to your blog and read and not only be inspired but learn a few things about the bible as well. Thanks again for blogging on such a wonderful subject.....Our one and only Truth, Jesus Christ.

Jai Stephenson

debra said...

the well spring of life...good stuff.

Sherry said...

Girl, you know I always need to be reminded about what I put in!
THanks, sister.

Bev Brandon said...

Everyone is in love with the baby in the bunny blanket. She appears many times on our screen over here in Benbrook, the Benbrook baby. IDK how that key keeps getting hit but it does and it's hilarious but at least we love the baby in bunny blanket. Come read my post when you can about Cyd. Hebrews 11:4 her faith still speaks even in her death.

Rachel said...

Everything comes down to the heart. I'm so thankful that the Lord sees my heart and knows it like no other. I tend to say to check your gauges meaning, know where your heart is! Thanks for these great thoughts today!

jennyhope said...

Jai thank you so much for your sweet encouragement. I struggle so much with being discouraged and your comment was so timely you have no idea!

NYC said...

Guarding our hearts is such an important thing for us to do; so much junk can seep its way into out hearts and minds, things that are contrary to the Word of God.

Great post!

Sarah Fitzpatrick said...

I am in love with this post. Thank you for such an amazing study and explanation. This is such an encouragement to read!

Tony said...

Great article. This is one of my favorite subjects. One day I hope to fully understand it.