The heart is an incredible thing, capable of great evil but also capable of great good. The heart in Scripture signifies the center of human emotion and seat of total personality of an individual. All that we do proceeds from our hearts; usually we act out how we feel, what we think and what we say.
So let me ask the question, as I ask myself, “What is in your heart today?”
Proverbs 4:23 reads: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”. This verse’s wise advice is often given to those who are awaiting the right relationship with the right person, and of course, it applies. However there is a broader context to this verse which opens its truth, meaning and application to the wider body of Christ.
Proverbs 4 commences calling us to know and understand God’s word. Verse 4 starts off the chapter’s heart talk: “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live.” Solomon goes on to speak of gaining Godly wisdom, loving wisdom, and using this wisdom to live your life. The wisdom he is referring to is the law, the teaching, the inspired Word of God. In a sentence, Solomon is saying; as you let your heart be captivated and saturated in God’s word, His wisdom will lead you firmly in the right paths for your life.
However Solomon does not leave it there, he proceeds to give caution, verse 14 states: “Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.” For the next three verses he continues on to warn against travelling down wrong paths. But affirms in the verses thereafter that giving attention to God’s word and keeping His Word “deep in your heart” is what brings life. It’s within this context that verse 23 is written, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” We are exhorted to keep guard of our hearts protecting ourselves from all that is wrong, as this will govern the very course of our lives.
There is a computer phrase I learnt many years ago; GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. It simply means that if invalid data is entered into a system then the resulting output will also be invalid. I believe the same principle applies to our minds and hearts. If the wrong data is fed into our hearts, the resulting output will be corrupt. Let’s go deeper, if a constant stream of worthless, carnal information is fed into our hearts through media, rubbish talk, wrong thinking and/or other things, then our hearts output will not reflect Christ’s character. On the contrary if we feed on His word, if we talk, think about and have His word “deep in our hearts” then life is produced, for us and hopefully others who are connected to us.
Someone once said, “the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart”, and I believe God is looking for hearts that are fixed upon Him, that are after Him, that fully love Him and hearts that even love others whom He has placed around us. In fact, the Bible says; “the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2Ch 16:9). I believe it’s fair to say that God is into heart people. So how do we continue to become such people?
There is an incredible verse that reads, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). For me, this is key to living a life which both radiates Jesus and has a heart that overflows with Him. It’s His love that motivates us, it’s His love that leads us deeper into relationship with Him, and it’s His love that enables us to be heart people who live life reflecting His glory.
The truth is, everything we do flows from our hearts, and what flows out has a lot to do with what we allow to consume us. Guard your heart by letting His love capture and fill you afresh. Guard your heart by letting His Word soak deep into your mind, blocking out anything else that will rob you or take focus away from Him.
Oswald Chambers writes about how believers should pursue the art of abandonment. Perhaps the best way to guard our hearts is to abandon them to Jesus and to let the Holy Spirit transform and renew us once again. Be a love-filled, Word-saturated heart person.