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Proverbs 4:23-  Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.


The very first word in the above sentence, “keep,” is, in Hebrew, natsar (naw-TSAR), which essentially means “to guard,” according to Strong’s Concordance.  Chances are you have heard this verse quoted at some point, maybe even a number of times, in church, but what does this mean and why is this so important?  I will answer the second question first.


For all the fact that Jesus Christ was despised by the Jewish religious leaders of His day, He was still well-liked or loved by many other people and was known for the authority and the wisdom of His words.  Read here what He had to say about the human heart:


Mark 7:20-23:  And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”


The heart, in Scripture, belongs to the soul of man and is equated with a person’s character.  By default, a lost person’s heart is wicked.  A person who is born again can have a clean heart.  This is important.  What comes out of your heart as a Christian is what first goes in.  If you fill your eyes and mind with the things of God you will do well.  Fill them with the things of the world and your heart will become polluted.  Your flesh will begin to dominate you, and you will think, say, and do the wrong things.

A few examples of what can foul a clean heart are secular music, secular movies, and listening to gossip.  I have had struggles with these areas myself and have made a conscious decision to separate myself from these things as much as possible.  Take care when separating yourself from the world, however.  This process can quickly devolve into legalism.  If the focus of guarding your heart is on externals (do this, don’t do that), you will be like the person stepping on ants in order to get rid of them: Too much to keep track of.

Focusing on externals turns into religiosity, works, and so on.  Instead, focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Draw close to Him.  Be guided by the Holy Spirit.  When that takes place, then out of your relationship with the Lord the things you start letting go of that are of the world become more clear to you.  You will then be letting go of them out of love for the Lord and by His guidance.  See these Scriptures and you should see the answer to the first question, why guarding the heart is so important:


Ephesians 5:18- And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,


Galatians 5:16- I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.


James 4:7-8-Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


Hebrews 3:12-13:  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.


Guard your heart and serve the Lord out of love for Him.  Carelessness could cost you everything, even your salvation.


2 Responses

  1. Amen! We must be about this business of guarding our hearts and minds at all times! This is done by staying in the Word and prayer & sometimes fasting. 😀