Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23
It seems like yesterday. I was sitting in a car that was as hot as an oven, despite the windows being down, after church on a Sunday. I was with my mom and four-year-old nephew. We were waiting for my dad to come out so we could get home and enjoy lunch with my brother and his family. My mom, “Nana”, was sitting in the back seat with my nephew, talking about his Sunday school lesson. Mother was so impressed with him as he quoted Proverbs 4:23. She especially liked the cute way he said the two “s” sounds in “issue”. He said them like a regular “s” instead of the “sh” sound. It was precious. This moment began a little game between Nana and her oldest grandson that would last for some time. From that point on, whenever he would come over, she would randomly start saying this verse and then he would finish it.
Today I as I read Proverbs chapter four, that verse leaped out at me. Yes, partly because of the memories connected with it, but also because it is so very true; so pivotal for Christians. If we can keep our hearts from evil (which requires great diligence), then we can lead lives that honor Christ. I’m not saying that we will never sin, but we will not continue in sin. How do we keep our hearts? By praying, nurturing a humble spirit, resisting the admittance of an evil world into our lives – even in its most innocent forms – and by living in the Word of God. If the heart is captured by sin, then the whole man or woman is yielded up. It is serious business.
All sin begins as a thought. It begins on the inside of us. Christ says in Matthew 15:18-20, But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. We all have a heart problem.
Even the best of men, is at best, a man. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? In order to watch over our hearts, we must depend upon the only One Who truly knows our hearts: Christ. We must fall before Him and seek His help as we fight against lust and covetousness. Only He can get to the heart of the problem.