Guarding Your Heart
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
This is one of those scriptures that I find challenging. It says to guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. When you combine the saying from Jeremiah 17:9 which says the heart is deceitful above all thins and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Are these two passages complete polar opposites? How can I guard my heart when I don’t understand it?
If I look at the context of Jeremiah 17, before this passage there is talk about those who are blessed who trust in the Lord. After this passage, it says that the Lord searches the heart and examines the mind to reward each person according to their conduct and what their deeds deserve.
At least I know that God knows my heart and deep inside, if I read what the Bible is teaching and following God closely, then the heart should not be deceitful and beyond cure. This applies to the people who trusts in the strength of their own flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. This is not too far from what I can become if I am not careful. I could rationalize my behavior and start to deceive myself. I will need to examine what is shaping my heart. Is it materialism, lust, power, fame, wealth, selfishness, generosity, kindness or gratitude?
Guarding my heart means understanding how I’m shaping my heart with my thoughts and my value system. How does my value system correlate with God’s value system? If I feed my heart and mind with things that are good and kind, then my overall attitude will be of goodness and kindness. If I fill my thoughts with selfish ambition and greed, then my outlook and my actions will be the outcome for all to see.
Guarding means to watch over to protect or control. It’s a tough worldly environment, but if I strive to at least fill my heart with good thoughts from God’s word to encourage me, maybe this can help me not be as negative as I have been this past week and be a much more positive person.