“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverb 4: 23
The writer of Proverbs warns us about the importance of what goes into our heart or inner person, the true ‘you’. “…with all diligence…” is also translated “above all things…”. Above all things we should watch over our heart for from it flow the springs of life!
He then goes on to tell us how to guard and examine our hearts. He uses such terms as “put away”, “put…far from you”, “watch”, “do not turn”, and then in another verse he tells us to “turn”. In other words, it is our responsibility to be pro-active in watching over our heart. A passive mind and will is the enemy of our heart and the welcome mat to our sinful nature and demonic intrigue.
First he warns us about our “mouth” and “lips”. “Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious lips far from you.” (verse 24) If we wish to know what is in our heart, all we need to do is listen to the words coming out of our mouth. The words of our mouth reveal the content of our heart. If we find evil (i.e. bitterness, deceitfulness, lying, boasting, etc.) pouring out of us, we need to find the root in our heart and remove it by repentance based on the word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, he warns us about what we are paying attention to. Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” (verse 25) Paul told Timothy to play close attention to himself and we need to do the same. Does good and noble things have our attention or are we fixated on worldly and sinful things? Do we like to tip toe into satan’s territory, exposing ourselves to his snare. If our attention is drawn to worldliness and sin, we need to determine where this is coming from in our heart and deal with it.
Thirdly, he warns us about where our thoughts and corresponding actions are taking us, are we walking in fellowship with Lord Jesus or are we on the path of the wicked? Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil. (verse 26-27) If we look honestly at the fruit of our lives, what path does it show we are own? Are we becoming more like Christ or more like the world? Or are we just wallowing around in complacently, worldliness and lukewarmness?
Paul, a brother who once found himself on the wrong path, tells us in 2 Corinthians 7 that we need to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The healthy, profound, adoring, awed respect (reverential fear) of the Lord teaches us to hate evil and to keep His commandments. Obedience is how we show our love for Him. (John 14: 21). By removing evil from our heart we become more “holy” or “set apart” unto the worship and service of God. I Corinthian 1: 2 tells us this is what God the Father through Jesus Christ has called us to. We are “saints by calling”.
So above all things watch over your heart, that hidden person who you truly are. That is the person the Holy Spirit sees and we need to see ourselves as He sees us. Thank your heavenly Father that His goal is to cause us to walk in agape love that flows from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5). If we obey His word in the power of the Holy Spirit this will be accomplished and our heart will be purified (I John 3:3 & 1 Peter 1:22). Thank you, Father God.