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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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KEEPING THE HEART

Samuel A CainKeep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27 ESV)

We often talk about the heart as the seat of our passions and emotions. In this non-physical sense, we think of it as the domain of our true feelings and beliefs. King Solomon reminds us to, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

I like that proverb and its description of the human heart; “for from it flow the springs of life.” What do you imagine these springs might look like? I would envision that, from person to person, there would be some degree of difference in each. Some would be crystal clear while others would be cloudy and some black in hue. The quality of the springs would be determined by the amount of the world’s pollution found in the heart. Out of the well-kept heart will flow living springs that will glorify God. I am speaking, of course, of wisdom (living springs) – the kind that only the words of God can give. Immediately following this verse, Proverbs 4 goes on to instruct us:

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:24-27 ESV)

Three areas of discipline are pointed out by Solomon to keep the heart safe. The first is related to the mouth: James, the brother of Jesus, confirms the need to restrain our tongues when he writes, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26 ESV)

The eyes are the next to be listed. Like Job, we all need to make a covenant with our eyes. (Job 31:1 ESV) Jesus speaks of the eyes in terms of spiritual health:

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 ESV)

The discipline of the eyes and other members of the body is so important to our spiritual health that Jesus warns, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29 ESV)

The self-control of our thought life is another means of protecting our hearts. We are told by Paul that when we fill our minds with desire for the seductive pleasures of this world we cannot submit to God. (Romans 8:7 ESV) Our minds must be renewed by ceasing to conform to this world. (Romans 8:7 ESV) Not only this, but we are told to think on certain things; such as: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

Guard your heart in order that the springs of life may bubble up for all who thirst for the word and wisdom of God. In this way, you honor God through your heart. Therefore, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

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3 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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  3. Self-control of our thought-life! Yikes. That’s hard. But you’re right. I need to watch that my mind conforms to Christ and not the world.

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