Guard your heart
I last wrote about God wanting a heart that had all its affections yielded to Him and honoured Him in everything we did. Our hearts are the control centre of the soul: the mind, will, and affections.
In the dryness of the middle east, a fountain of water was so precious that it was guarded and Solomon reminds us that the heart likewise needs to be guarded for it is like a fountain out of which flow the "issues" of life (Prov. 4:23).
Of all the parts of the body, it is the heart that receives the brunt of the Enemy’s attacks to lure us into sin. Its desires, thoughts and actions are the target of the Enemy’s darts. We can argue for self-restraint but our hearts are so wayward that it is only when God recreates our hearts we can live holy lives.
God has done exactly that! God has promised us a new centre of personal well-being, a new seat for everything that drives us when we surrender our lives to Him: a new heart that would desire to submit to all His ways. Imagine – a new will and new moral purpose to everything we do, say and think.
19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. (Ez.11:19).
Do you see what all of this is saying? Our actions are not an accident – something inside us drives us. Left to ourselves, the actions of human kind are merely mechanical, acting without any reference to morality or responsibility for actions. Something external has to be applied to change that and God is the One who has promised, in His rich grace and mercy, to replace those stony hearts with a tender, responsive heart.
Since God has invested so much in us, it stands to reason that we should guard that treasure with much more care than we would guard our most precious worldly possessions. How do we guard our hearts?
The writer to the Proverbs goes on to answer that very question:
24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. (Prov.4:24-26).
The writer to the Proverbs adds to that advice to simply say a loud “No!” to every stray thought and distraction by asking us to take note of these wise words:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Prov. 3:5-6).
When our heart totally trusts in God our hearts are safely guarded. God’s Spirit is breathing on our hearts to enliven us to live in God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen (Jude 1:24-25).
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All quotations are from the NLT.