Guard Your Heart
Prov 4:23; Matthew 12:34
Wiersbe, Constable, Logos Bible Software
During this time of “Shelter in Place” and Quarantine people’s lives have been flipped upside down. There is possibly a feeling of personal freedom that has been stripped away. We are not as used to that as Americans, “Land of the Free,” a nation that is set upon the principles of freedom. We are finding ourselves as a people staying much more sheltered indoors than usual. Vacations, mission trips, senior trips, outings, camps, nursing homes, sports competitions, hospitals, graduations, funerals, weddings, you name it! If it requires traveling away from your home in a group larger than your family nucleus that plan has probably changed.
Well, we’ve made it to what, day 2,500 of “shelter in place.” Have things changed a lot for you? Obviously, things have changed at church, just look around us in this room! It’s crazy the difference it has made for the globe!
Some recents stats about our internet usage—
With seemingly every friend, company, news outlet, and social media platform, fighting for our attention, I would contend that the greatest battle we are facing is not online but in fact in each of our hearts.
The battle being waged for our heart!
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Turn in your Bibles to our key passage for the evening.
BOOK & LOOK: Proverbs 4:20-27
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Big Idea: Guard Your Heart
Notice what is stated, “guard” not “follow” your heart!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “just follow your heart?” Or “what does your heart tell you?” Is that biblical though? —Our culture would say, just trust your heart and it will lead you where you need to go. The heart is reliable and if you follow it you will find peace and happiness.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Your heart is the frontline of the battle. The verse continues, “for out of it are the issues (the source, wellspring, the core) of your life!” We all are probably thankful that others can’t always tell what our heart intentions are.
While others may not be able to see our heart’s intentions, God does not look on us as others do.
1 Samuel 16:7
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Not only does God know what is in our hearts but He wants to be the one ruling in our heart. One commentator put it this way, God is not interested in an “open relationship with you.” He will not share space on a loveseat with someone/something in your heart! There is only room for one on the throne of your heart.
When Christ was asked about the greatest commandment His answer was—
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
(Jason) Practically speaking what does it mean to “keep your heart?”
If we look on in this passage we see three instructions that are given by Solomon to his son.
You must be vigilant about:
- What you’re saying
- Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Why does it matter what we say? I mean it’s only words! “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
Jesus emphasizes the indicator of our heart, namely our mouth!
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
This doesn’t even address the damage that words can do. James speaks of the small yet powerful member of the body, the untamable tongue!
James 3:7-8, 10
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8 but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Be vigilant about the words that we use (whether its text or speech/ and even speech to text). This is especially potent during time of quarantine when you are surrounded by the same people every minute of every day. This alone can cause us to loosen our guard on our heart and as a result our mouth. Not to mention on social media (closet experts on every topic).
Speak truth in love…Eph 4:16. I think we can all get caught up in the speaking “truth” aspect and forget about the “love.”
Be vigilant about—
- What you’re seeing
25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Back in the 70s, it was reported that the average person saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day. Without online marketing being a thing back then, most ads could be found on billboards, in newspapers, and on TV promoting the latest products.
Fast forward to 2020, and although there are no official figures (digital marketing experts estimate), the average person is now encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. With the figures nearly double that of 2007…You can imagine how easily it can be to get distracted!
What Bible examples of people that were not vigilant about their eyes and their eyes got them in trouble? They were not looking straight before them.
- Lot’s wife did not look ahead fleeing from Sodom
- David’s eyes from the rooftop
- The ten spies that went into the Promised Land
- Peter while walking on water
And many more…
King David says “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Ps. 101:3).
The irony is not lost…none of us are exempt from needing to be vigilant regarding our eyes.
What do you think are some things that we need to be guarding our eyes guarding our eyes from?
-What we read
Be vigilant about—
- Where you’re going
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
The word “ponder” is to make level, weigh, or consider our path. The way we choose to go is important. What is the determining factor of where our feet go or the path that is chosen? —Our HEART!
Are we seeking God’s will in our life. This was modeled by many in Scripture but the best and perfect example was that of Jesus Christ. He taught us to pray for God’s will on earth (Matt 6:10) Even at the point of seeking the will of God the Father in the Garden. (Luke 22:42). If Christ is praying, shouldn’t we even more so?
I heard wisdom explained best as, knowledge + obedience = Wisdom.
Having just knowledge does not equal wisdom, it may just mean that you have great intentions. Neither does obedience alone make you wise, we must know what to obey if we are going to live a wisdom filled life.
(Believers) Some of you watching may have plenty of Bible knowledge. You have attended church your whole life and can quote Scripture left and right, but just struggle with obedience aspect. This is not unique to just you. Obeying God’s instructions is a daily decision that must be made. Good news though, it is not too late to surrender and have the Lord lead.
(Lost)There may be some of you that really want to live a life that is wisdom filled and led by the Lord. That cannot happen until you trust in Jesus as your Savior. You can try and fix your heart and guard it but it will always fall short. Today is the day to trust Christ as your Savior. He can direct your path on earth and give you an eternity in Heaven!
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life
Be vigilante of what you’re saying, seeing, and where you are going. We have an opportunity right now to grow closer to God more than ever before.
Knowledge + Obedience = Wisdom!