Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23
This verse caught my attention, and I decided to study it out a little. My findings were interesting (to me anyway). I have a better understanding now of what is being said.
My original theory was that we had to mentally work hard in order to keep our hearts clean.That all of our circumstances of life stemmed from there. After I studied it a bit, I realized that I was wrong.
I love and trust the 1828 Webster dictionary, so I went online to search for some of the key words in this verse. I can’t help it. I am an English teacher and a word nut. I adore word searches. Here’s what I discovered:
1. Keep means to hold, retain, preserve, and protect.
2. Heart means the seat of all affections, passions, of joy, love, grief, enmity, courage, pleasure, etc…
3. Diligence means to care or to heed. Heed means to regard with care or caution, attend to, and watch for danger.
3. Issue means passing or flowing out, passage out, and outlet.
What conclusion does this lead me to? Proverbs 4:23 means that we are supposed to retain the seat of all affections and passions with a special caution for danger. Our hearts are the passage for our inner selves. If we are not careful, then we can wind up allowing evil and wicked things to pass through and out of our hearts. This taints us and creates a separation with God. This wrecks our spiritual growth.
Reformer’s Unanimous has a principle that relates to this verse: Every sin has its origin in the heart. Before it becomes sin, it passes from the mind to the heart. If we do not protect our hearts with heedfulness, things will flow out that are displeasing to the Lord. It can even bring forth chastening and a broken fellowship.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9
A pure heart speaks pure words. A wicked heart speaks wicked words. You cannot disguise your heart, no matter how hard you try! We must protect it and attend to it on a conscious level! We cannot let our hearts go haphazardly. When we do, all havoc breaks loose. Suddenly, things are flowing through that are worldly and even of the devil.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. – Romans 13:14
How do we keep our hearts? How do we protect our central seats of all affections and emotions with caution and care? We do this through prayer, going to church, seeking godly counsel, and meditation upon God’s Word. We do this by turning over the keys to the Lord, and we let Him take the driver’s seat.
I always hear people say, “Guard your heart!” I never fully understood that. Now I understand that we do have to. It is under full attack by the world and Satan. If we do not watch carefully over it, it will be seized from us!
This verse sprung off the page at me, and I praise the Lord for it! I pray it blesses you as well!