Guard Your Heart
(Proverbs Chapter 4)
Guard Your Heart
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life,”
God came to Solomon and told him to ask, and he would receive. Solomon chose to receive an understanding mind in order to govern God’s people, being able to discern between good and evil (1 King 3:5-9). Solomon received his wisdom from God, whom said, “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you, and none like you shall arise after you,” (1 Kings 3:12). God blatantly gave Solomon more wisdom than we could imagine. The wisdom he possessed does not come close to the wisest person we could compare him to in our modern times.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs to impart some of his wisdom to us, giving us the chance to draw directly from the wisest of them all. Proverbs 4 is about applying the truths that Solomon gives us. The characteristics of someone who has wisdom (as seen in Proverbs 3-4) are that he or she is kind, loyal, trusts in the Lord, puts God first, turns away from evil, knows right from wrong, listens and learns, and does what is right. In turn, these individuals gain the benefits of a long and satisfying life, favor with God and people, reputation for good judgement, success, health, vitality, riches, honor, pleasure, peace, and protection.
Aren’t these benefits that we would all like to have? Solomon gives us the key in Proverbs. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life,” (New Living Translation). Another translation says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life,” (English Standard Version). What comes to mind when you hear the words guard and vigilant? Does it make you think of a superhero in the movies or comic books? Is being vigilant a task for those with superhuman powers? No. It is a task we are told to do daily with our hearts. To guard something is to ¬keep it safe from harm or danger, to protect it, and to watch over it. To do so with all vigilance is to be wary of danger that is coming, to be expecting that there is an alternative that will be on the prowl, ready to take your heart at its first chance.
Why are we supposed to be putting this time and effort into guarding and being vigilant of our hearts, again? Oh, that’s right. Because it determines the course of our life. The course of our life. What path we are walking down. What road we choose to walk (the one less walk that is obviously more difficult and lonely or the one that everyone else chose). Our hearts refer to not necessarily our physical heart, but our emotion and spiritual heart. It is the centermost part of our being with regards to our intuition, our feelings, and our emotions. How many times have we made decisions, good or bad, based off of a gut feeling? A bad day? A great test score? We’ve made these decisions from our hearts.
If we guard our hearts and instill God’s Word into our hearts daily, what kind of decisions would we be making? Those decisions that flow from the will of God. Not our own humanly selves, but those that God would place in our hearts because we’ve allowed Him in. If we allow Him to guide the course of our life, how much more successful can we be than if we try to do it alone? Or if we try to let the ways and things of this earthly world guide us?
What you allow into your heart becomes what you say and how you act. Jesus tells us, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces ¬evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart,” (Luke 6:45).
What are your words and actions showing today? What are you allowing into your heart that is affecting your actions and words? How can that change when you allow God in? Ask God today to cleanse you today of the things that you have not been guarding your heart against. Ask Him to help you guard your heart and for Him to place His path upon your heart so that it may determine the course of your life. And ask Him to help your human self to take a back seat to the course that He has placed upon your heart, remembering that a wise person trusts God, putting God first, and turning away from evil.