Tag Archive | Guard Your Heart

Mr. Right or Miss Right?

This is another pet peeve of mine. 😉   Sorta along the lines of did David Dance Naked?   Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, not that one again!  {I’m constantly reminded of it, because that post has been read sometimes three times an hour since 2009!}

Since 2008 when I started my blog I have gotten lots and lots of emails from a variety of people.  Many of them have been from women who are asking questions concerning their marriages.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” because she did not do things God’s way or follow “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.

Now I don’t know about you but I really just cringe when someone uses the expression “Mr. Right” or “Miss Right” because I think that gives our children a wrong perception of marriage.  The idea that there is only one person out there that God has for us to marry is not a Biblical idea.  Because using that reasoning then if somehow you miss that person, sinned, or misunderstood and chose the “wrong” person then you have failed and are not in God’s will for you.  Or what if they choose wrong or sinned?  What happens then years later?  Do you seek to get back in God’s will for your life, even if that means divorcing your present spouse?  Heaven forbid!

There is technically a “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right” and they are your present spouse.  Once you are married you are married to “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right”.  No if, ands, or buts!  But until you are actually married that person may or may not be God’s will for you.  Once you are married that person is God’s will for you.  Whether or not that person is a wise choice is a whole ‘nother can of worms.  But once the choice has been made you are married to “Mr. Right.”

This also means that you are not to divorce because suddenly years down the road you’ve decided you did not seek God’s will and marry the “right” person.  The Bible is much more clear on marriage and divorce than it is on choosing a marriage partner.

Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage covers my best understanding of what the Bible says on marriage and divorce.  Granted that is much more strict than most interpret the passages, but nevertheless, never does the Lord say that a NT believer should divorce and seek another spouse.  Even in the case of a believer married to an unbeliever, the believer is commanded to remain with their spouse if the unbeliever will stay.

1 Corinthians 7:10-13 (ESV)

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband  

11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.  

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.  

13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

Beyond the general guidelines of a man and woman who are not too closely related there is very, very little instruction given about choosing a spouse.  Oh, there are principles provided about character and qualities such as in Proverbs 31:10-31 and Ephesians 5:25-31.  Those and many more character qualities make useful studies to help in making wise decisions; however, they are just guidelines not commands.

The only specific instruction in the NT to believers is that they are to marry a believer.

1 Corinthians 7:39 (ESV)  A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

While a believer can do all they can to strive to marry a believer, even then they may find that years later they were actually married to an unbeliever.  Our hearts can deceive ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9) and they can very easily deceive another.  You cannot always know a person’s heart well enough.  You can really only look closely and judge the fruit of their life.  Bad fruit before marriage will become rotten fruit after marriage.  But even then, thankfully, the Lord may bring real life out of the rotten fruit.  So don’t despair if you find you are married to a unsaved spouse.  He may become a good fruit bearer later.

Do you understand how freeing this is?  If you use the false premise that there is one person out there for you to marry then you can get caught up in a lot of false ideas.  The thought that if you failed to go to that event because you were sick and now you missed that one chance to meet “Mr. Right” and he is with your friend instead.  The idea that if you just continue to wait longer the real “Mr. Right” will eventually show up.   Or the idea that some other person who turns up years later was the real “Mr. Right” and you married too early and messed up your chance.  The real “Mr. Right” is who you are married to.

Until then make wise decisions.  Follow Biblical principles.  Seek wise counsel.  Listen to wise counsel. 😉  Observe, listen, talk, spend time with others, spend time with the extended family, and pray, pray, pray.  But once you marry that certain person then know he is “Mr. Right” and God’s will for you.  Don’t look back and don’t second guess.   “Mr. Darcy” is just fiction, real young men and older men are sinners like us, hopefully though saved by grace.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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Marriages Today

I started a Bible study on marriage over four years ago.  I even have my notes left over which show how I would take sermon notes and then a stray thought would occur concerning the marriage Bible study and I would write it down.  Don’t remember why I was working on it exactly at the time though.  Now I’ve decided to combine it with some Bible study on courtship, sorta the lead up into marriage (“Biblical” Courtship) and then a look at Biblical marriages.  Aha! That is interesting. 😉

I know that some of what started my initial Bible study was the number of emails I get regularly from ladies all over the world.  My last set of emails concerning marriage were from Romania.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” (warning: future long rant on that one coming up) because she did not do things God’s way, “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.  See a problem there?

The post on The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven is just a humorous look at some expectations that have been placed on young adults so that they do everything just right.  This is particularly stressed for those in the homeschooling community, even if only indirectly.  After reading the post, my oldest son joked and said obviously the young man in the story never slept.  My daughter pointed out that she could buy soap and honey cheaper on sale and save money and time.  Her book keeping would be simpler, it would be balanced and she would then have more time for Bible study.

Don’t believe a seemingly impossible burden has been laid on young people?  A pastor friend of ours, who pastors a local Reformed Baptist Church, actually said that if it was possible we seemed to have succeeded in making our young people take marriage too seriously.  If everything is not perfect then don’t proceed.  This is from the pastor of a church full of young people.   He said he runs across men in their late twenties and thirties who say they aren’t prepared for marriage yet.  In another church I know, the average age for marriage is around thirty or later.

How have we extended adolescence through the twenties now?  See when my grandparents married it was not unusual for young ladies to marry at fourteen and a young man to be married by sixteen.  More importantly these marriages still lasted a lifetime and they did not have an easy life.  But now we have gotten to a point that marriages are begun typically in the late twenties and early thirties.  Yet they don’t necessarily last any longer.  But why?  Are young people today really that immature?  Even those which have been homeschooled and we expected more from?  Are we not preparing them adequately?  Have we scared them from marriage?  Is selfishness the issue?  Now, of course, there are some who aren’t delaying marriage but by far the majority are.  {Albert Mohler has a whole series of posts and audios concerning this subject.  I’ll post some links later.}

Another complaint is that there are large portions of young ladies who feel deserted by the young men they know.  It appears that often the goal has been set so high for a young man that he gives up and moves to a different pond to fish from.  It is easier to do so when the young men go away to college and yet the young women they grew up with are still at home in the shrinking pond.

But marriage is a serious matter and it takes maturity and forethought.  How do you navigate between the two ditches of protracted delay and lack of maturity and preparation?

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven

Here’s the story of a lovely lady …   Whoops, wrong generation, wrong story. 😉

Here’s the story of a “marriage made in Heaven“….

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Standing before the preacher / elder in the beautifully decorated church are a young groom and his beautiful young bride.  The congregation is full of families who have come to witness the marriage of this couple.  They all think the couple is perfectly suited for each other.

The groom is a twenty year old young man who is the eldest son of a large family.  He was homeschooled from the beginning.  He has always been his dad’s right hand man.  For highschool he was dual enrolled so he completed his college eduction right along with his highschool by using online courses.  He never stepped foot on campus until his college graduation.  Since graduation he has developed his own company working from home.  He has been so successful that his younger siblings are employed by him now also.

After he had set aside enough money he began to build himself a house on the 20 acres he purchased and cleared in his early teens.  Working every free moment and on weekends he was able to mostly build the whole house on his own.  He only took breaks from building to put in his garden, the fruit orchard and mow the hay.  Now at twenty he has a fully self sustaining farm with a nice three bedroom home.  He works from his shop behind the house.

After he was established, then and only then, did he approach the father of a young lady to seek the father’s approval to court his daughter with the plan to marry as soon as the father gave his approval.  After having read all the important courtship books, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, What He Must Be: … , and Her Hand In Marriage, he felt prepared to pursue this next step.  The young man had prepared a book with the answers to as many questions as he could possibly imagine the father asking.  This was presented in a bound volume to the father at the meeting.  The father was so impressed with the book, the very sound Biblical answers and what he already knew about the young man over the years,  that he instantly said yes.  The book also contained the young man’s personal guidelines on how he envisioned the courtship and its boundaries to proceed.  No physical contact at all, no time spent alone, no social media, never anything done without the parents approval and the father would be given weekly accountability updates from the young man.  Included were bank statements that showed the money set aside as the “bride price”, three years wages.  The young man also volunteered to work with the father once a week so that he could be mentored by his future wife’s father.  For added accountability the young man offered a job to the young lady’s older brother.

The father approached his daughter to let her know about the young man.  Even though she really didn’t know the young man she was willing to court and marry him because her father thought it was a wise choice.  She trusted her father completely.  Thankfully she had been preparing her trousseau (hope chest) since she was a child, all she lacked was a wedding dress.  She had “guarded her heart” so well that she knew very few young men beyond her own brothers.

As a nineteen year old young lady she was very busy serving in her home and helping to serve other families.  She could run a whole household without any trouble.  She had in the past year taken over for a bedridden mom with several children.  By the time she left that family’s home she had made new church dresses for all the little girls in addition to her other responsibilities of homeschooling, cleaning, caring for the baby, cooking and helping to manage the family’s home business.

The bride also was homeschooled.  She has an herb and soap business she started at twelve.  She had also become such a good seamstress that she had made dresses for the last few weddings at her church.  But her true love was baking.  She found the greatest pleasure in serving her family the softest, whole grain bread.   Her father had allowed her to buy a neighboring field with her own income.  So now she was able to pay her brothers to grow wheat for her baking.  Nothing tasted better than home grown wheat, ground and baked by hand.  Her honey from her bee hives provided just the right amount of natural sweetness for her bread.

Everyone who knew her would attest to her gentle and quiet spirit.  No one ever remembered her saying a harsh word  or even joking around with others.  She was very, soft spoken and was known for her smile that could bring joy to anyone.

Today is the culmination of the past four months courtship.  The bride is dressed in a beautiful wedding dress she had made during her courtship.  The bridesmaids all have dresses the bride made for them.  The wedding cake and much of the food was lovingly prepared for the guests by the bride.

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Disclaimer: Any resemblance to actual marriages is purely coincidental. 😉

So what did I leave out of the “perfect” marriage made in Heaven?

Just in case you didn’t catch on this is all said in jest. 😉 Life doesn’t work like that.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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Applying “Guard Your Heart”

How do we apply “guard your heart” in everyday life without becoming legalistic, misinterpreting it or becoming too lax?

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

If you remember in Instructions for Keeping Your Heart we compared Proverbs 4:24-27 and Proverbs 5:1-6. There are four things we are to watch out for in order to “guard our hearts“.

Heart – Proverbs 4:23

Speech – Proverbs 4:24 and Proverbs 5:3-4

Eyes – Proverbs 4:25

Feet – Proverbs 4:26-27 and Proverbs 5:5-6

Heart

What flows out of your heart?

Matthew 12:35 (ESV) The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

What do you fill your heart with?

This is actually a tough one once you begin to consider all the things we can fill our hearts with.  I honestly don’t know what blind spots I have and what I have allowed my children to fill their hearts with.  I’m sure others see my blind spots clearly though. 😉

One thing we avoid in our family is books and movies of the romance genre.  I had no guidance as a child about the books I read.  Thankfully I did have a large church library to read from which helped tremendously.  However, as I have grown in my faith I wish I could have avoided many of the books I did read.  Many books were of the Historical Fiction / Romance genre, think Grace Livingston Hill.  Her books actually were very mild compared to the books today.  I spent several years as a church librarian which meant I read hundreds of books for the church library.  Honestly, I was often embarrassed at what books church members would donate to the library.

Essentially media like books and movies can give expectations that may never be met and lead to disappointment.

Why it is important to seriously evaluate your media consumption?

1) Gives unrealistic expectations of life.

a) Rags to Riches stories.

b) Prince sweeps up a commoner and they live happily ever after.

c) The Amish live perfect lives with no cares, beyond the inevitable falling in love with an “Englischer”.

2) Missionary Dating – the “bad” boy turned around by the “good’ girl and they live happily ever after.

3) Gives ideas of how marriages “should be”, but not necessarily based on Scripture.

4) Causes a dissatisfaction with a spouse who is not flamboyantly romantic, tall, dark and dashingly handsome or inherently wealthy.

See Can Romance Novels Hurt Your Heart? by Russell Moore.  I find it sadly funny how many women took Moore to task for his about warning about Romance novels.  Stepped on toes, maybe?

Speech

You will give an account for every word spoken. Are your words coming from the sin in your heart? Do your words cause another to sin?

Do you spread rumors or lies?  Do you try to denigrate others in order to make yourself look better?

Proverbs 16:27–28 (ESV)

27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.

28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Matthew 12:36 (ESV)

36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Let your speech be edifying to others.

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 4:6 (ESV) Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Let your speech set an example to others.

1 Timothy 4:12–13 (ESV)

12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Titus 2:7–8 (ESV)

7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,

8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

 

Eyes

Psalm 18:27 (ESV) For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Psalms 101:3 (ESV) I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

Psalms 101:5 (ESV) Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

What have you set before your eyes? What do you watch on TV? Does it honor the Lord? Would you want the Lord to join you watching TV? What about the computer?

Do your eyes lead you astray?

Do your eyes reveal the sin in your heart?

Do your haughty eyes reveal a rebellious spirit?

Don’t forget to check for logs while you are at it!

Luke 6:41–42 (ESV)

41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

Feet

 Hold fast to the path of the Lord.

Psalm 17:5 (ESV) My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.

Psalm 119:101 (ESV) I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.

Ponder your path.

Proverbs 4:26–27 (ESV)

26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

Don’t be impatient or in a rush.

Proverbs 19:2 (ESV) Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

 

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Guard Your Heart series


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Misapplying “Guard Your Heart”

{Well, this is the post that I worked on all Monday afternoon and it disappeared somewhere into the big cloud in the sky.  It of course was much longer than this one.  I can’t remember what I’ve left out.  The digital age is frustrating!}

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Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Misapplying “Guard Your Heart

1) Inability to interact with others

I’ve seen this happen several times.  A young man walks up to a young lady and simply says “Hello“.  The young lady ignores the young man and walks away.  She is “guarding her heart“!  That “Lady in Waiting” maybe be waiting a long, long time.

2) Fear of being hurt

Most of the people I’m around today see children as a blessing.  However, when I was younger and working outside the home I did hear women express the idea that they didn’t want children because they couldn’t bear it if their children were to go astray or to cause them too much emotional pain.

Others use the concept of “guarding their heart” to keep from being vulnerable and open with friends and family.  Now, of course, you shouldn’t share everything with everyone (Proverbs 11:13), but being reluctant to be open in close relationships is a selfish self-protective misuse of this verse. We should never just “look out for #1” while in a relationship.

This also doesn’t mean that there aren’t boundaries in our vulnerability with others.  Boundaries are important and should be developed according to the particular relationship.  Two friends will have a different sort of boundary than a courting couple.  Yet courting couples will have different boundaries than a married couple.  In a marriage there should be very few boundaries.

Love hurts at times.  Think about Christ and His love for His Bride, the Church.  Christ’s love cost Him dearly, yet aren’t we glad He loved us?  Love does hurt, but it is well worth the pain it can cause.  We are not to build a wall around our hearts so high that we cannot let anyone in.

3)  Negating emotions as unimportant

This is a very tough concept to explain.  No one ever should be ruled by their emotions. Emotions can be very dangerous.  Since the Fall our emotions often want to run away with us and lead us into sin.  Our emotions reveal our hearts.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

However, emotions are real and must be evaluated according to Scripture.  The Lord gave us emotions to reveal to us some of His character.  Only God loves purely, hates without sin, is kind without selfishness, jealous from a pure heart, etc.  We, as believers, are to keep directing our emotions into more and more Christ likeness.  Even Paul was jealous for the Corinthian believers to remain sincere and pure to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2-3 (ESV)

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Mr. Spock may be very logical but emotions are still important to understanding one another.  The Lord does not want us to live our lives purely on logic and clinical analysis of our emotions.  He gives us guidelines in the Bible in how to hold our emotions in check and yet display Christ likeness.  Empathy, an emotion, is necessary to understanding fellow believers.  The fruits of the Spirit are emotions that believers display through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Guarding our hearts” does not mean emotions have no value in how we live or what we do in the future.  “Guarding our hearts” means we make sure that sin does not sway us into sinful emotions.

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Guard Your Heart series


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Hearts Made Beautiful

In Beautiful Treasure or Deceitfully Wicked?, we looked at how the Bible describes our hearts.  Our hearts aren’t beautiful treasures to guard and protect.  Our hearts are deceitfully wicked and evil, inclining to sin in all our thoughts (Jeremiah 17:9; Genesis 6:5).  We’ve also seen that Proverbs 4:23 is actually instructions for us to keep our hearts from sin.

However, there are a few verses that speak of beautiful hearts and good treasures of the heart.  How do we get our hearts from deceitfully wicked to good treasures?  The Lord doesn’t leave us without instructions.

Proverbs 2:1-5 (ESV)

1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,  

2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;

3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,

4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,

5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

 

Proverbs 7:1-3 (ESV)

1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
2 keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
3 bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Treasuring God’s Word and writing it upon the tablets of our heart is how we are to turn our wicked, deceitful hearts into an abundance of good treasure.  God’s Word is ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5).  When we keep the Lord in our hearts He will turn our deceitfully wicked hearts into well springs of beautiful treasures (Matthew 12:33-37).

Matthew 6:21 (ESV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (see also Luke 12:34)

Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)

33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.

34  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”    (see also Luke 6:45)

We, as women, are to adorn our hearts with a gentle and quiet spirit which will be very precious in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV)

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—
4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

So is your heart still deceitfully wicked or have you filled your heart with the Treasure from Christ, God’s Incarnate Word?

Ultimately the peace of Christ Jesus, Himself, guards our hearts.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Guard Your Heart series


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Beautiful Treasure or Deceitfully Wicked?

Beautiful Treasure or Deceitfully Wicked?

That is an interesting question concerning the heart. What have you been taught? What have you taught your children? Have you heard or read those who treat the heart like a beautiful treasure?  Like it is something that must be guarded and protected from the evil out in the world, protected from the evil of others?

But what does the Bible say about the heart? That is what is most important consideration even if it is contrary to whatever you’ve been told before.

So what is the heart?

Oh, we all know that physically it is the muscular organ that pumps our blood through our bodies.

But seriously when we speak of “Guarding or keeping our heart” surely we aren’t speaking of that physical bodily organ.

How about we start at the beginning. Always a good place to start don’t you think?

Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

Now that helps. The heart has thoughts, but not only that but man’s thoughts of the heart are continually evil. The Lord was grieved in His heart over the condition of man. So far then the heart has thoughts, sin and emotions.

Technically the word translated as heart in the Bible has multiple meanings but most often it is the inner man, the will, or the mind that is meant even when using the word heart.

If you jump ahead to Psalms we get to pondering in our heart.

Psalms 4:4 (ESV) Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Pondering is mulling over, considering before making a decision.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

Here we see that pride comes from the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Now this verse is very important for understanding the heart. See our hearts are deceitful and sick.

Now those were all Old Testament. Let’s look at the New Testament.

Mark 7:20-23
20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Now see even in the NT the heart is the source for evil thoughts, sins, and wickedness. The things that come from the heart defile a person. Not what others do to you but what actually comes from your own heart.

Do you realize the importance of that? We are not defiled by the sins of others. We are defiled by the sins from our own hearts.

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Notice something?

So far where is anything relating the heart to being a beautiful treasure?

 

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Guard Your Heart series

 

 


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Instructions for Keeping Your Heart

So does Proverbs 4:23 have anything to do with young ladies guarding their hearts (emotions) in relationships like many books and resources suggest?

Let’s look ahead at Proverbs 5 it begins “My Son, …”

Just a note – chapter breaks and verses breaks are not original to the text. They were added rather recently in the course of Biblical History. So don’t ever get hung up by thinking a chapter break means anything more than just an arbitrary division.

Anyway Proverbs 5 could very easily continue on with the thought expressed in Proverbs 4. Because as we’ll see it fits right together.

Proverbs 5:1-6
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.

Let us compare Proverbs 4:24-27 and Proverbs 5:1-6

Heart Proverbs 4:23

Speech Proverbs 4:24 and Proverbs 5:3-4

Eyes Proverbs 4:25

Feet Proverbs 4:26-27 and Proverbs 5:5-6

Notice what all we are instructed to guard or keep. We are to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23). Guard our mouths by putting away crooked and devious speech (Proverbs 4:24, Proverbs 5:3-4). Guard our eyes by looking straight ahead (Proverbs 4:25). Guard our feet by keeping to the path (Proverbs 4:26-27, and Proverbs 5:5-6).

Guarding or keeping our hearts isn’t referring to our emotions or feelings necessarily.  Guarding our hearts is referring to avoiding sin.  Watching what we say, watching where we look, and watching where we walk.

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Guard Your Heart series

 


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Proverbs 4:20-27

Proverbs 4:20-27

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

Proverbs 4:20-22 is the father again calling for his son to pay attention to his words. Incline your ears to my words, keep them within your heart; they are life and healing. The Father is saying it is vitally important that his son listen to these words of life.

Proverbs 4:23 is the verse that gets lots of attention today. “Keep your heart” or “guard your heart” really doesn’t tell us much if you come to the verse without preconceived ideas. So in order to understand what the verse means we must take the preceding verses and those verses that follow to arrive at the meaning in context. It is particularly the verses that follow that give a broader explanation of Proverbs 4:23.

Proverbs 4:24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.

Here we see that we are to put away crooked speech.

Proverbs 6:12-15
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

A worthless, wicked person uses crooked speech to sow discord and devise evil.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Crooked speech and foolishness go together.

Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

Don’t be casting our eyes around looking to see what everyone else is doing. Don’t let the actions of others pull you from the path.

What are our eyes to be looking to?

Hebrews 12:1-2

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

When we let others or our desires pull our eyes away from Jesus we will stray from the path. I remember ancient years ago when taking ballet that when you did a pirouette you were always to get a fixed focal point in order to keep yourself balanced and on track for each turn. We as believers must always have Jesus as our focal point otherwise we will wobble and fall off track.

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

The wicked, forbidden woman does not ponder her path and she wanders off but doesn’t even know it.

Proverbs 5:3
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.

It is much easier to wander off the right path than you might think. Sometimes you don’t realize you’ve wandered until you are so far away it is hard to get back on the right path.

Proverbs 4:27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

More instructions to not swerve off the path. There is evil off both sides of the path and we are to turn away from evil.

Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus and keeping straight to the path?

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Guard Your Heart series


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