There is a verse I read recently that has been rolling around in my thoughts. Sometimes meditating for days on a single verse give greater insight along with personal application we would never have unless the Holy Spirit kept bringing it to remembrance. Proverbs 4:23 is one such verse: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
The word “diligence” comes from a Hebrew word which relates to guarding a treasure or deposit of wealth, posting someone at the gate or door of a prison to watch or guard carefully. It’s easy to understand that the heart is the depository of the most valuable and priceless treasure – it is the wellspring of life! Is it no wonder that what comes out of the mouth originates in the heart (Matthew 12:34).
The NIV translation tells us to “Above all else guard your heart, for out of it are the wellsprings of life.”
Our hearts need to be undivided. Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
Our heart needs to be pure. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Our heart needs to be steadfast. Psalm 57:7 says, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.”
How do we guard our hearts? The Word gives us some specific instructions for diligence in keeping or guarding our hearts.
(1) Hebrews 10:22 speaks of having our hearts WASHED: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” The “sprinkling” is a washing by the blood of the Lamb.
(2) Psalm 119:11 speaks of hiding the WORD in our hearts: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” We must be diligent to hide God’s Word in our heart. This doesn’t mean a casual perusing from time to time; it takes a determined effort to study the Word until it becomes part of you, planted in your heart and producing fruit. There is a sign on a local church marquis: “God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!” The only way spiritual fruit will grow is if the Word is planted, watered, and tended on a regular basis!
(3) Proverbs 4:7 speaks of WISDOM which is most important: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Wisdom is the “gatekeeper” of our heart; with wisdom at the gate, foolishness, sin, and any unclean thing cannot enter in. However, a heart without wisdom will open the door to anything!
(4) Psalm 27:14 tells us to WAIT: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” This word “wait” speaks of twisting together or binding together. As we wait on the Lord, we allow Him to weave things into our lives that will strengthen our hearts.
(5) Finally, Deuteronomy 6:5 leads us to WORSHIP: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Worship prepares the heart for God.
May we all learn to keep our hearts with diligence, not taking the matters of life lightly but having a heart steadfast and pure before the Lord.
Father, purify my heart, renew a right spirit within me, and teach me to diligently guard my heart as You have shown me in Your Word! Lord, draw me closer, to intimately seek you, and to regard my relationship with You as the weightiest priority of life! Father, draw me to You and I will respond with a heart seeking after You in every aspect of my life! Open my heart to receive from You all that You have purposed for me and to give to You the glory due Your name! In Jesus’ name, by His precious blood, amen and amen!
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:14)
© Jan Ross
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