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
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?
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.
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.
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.
Guard Your Heart series