Proverbs 4:23. Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
What is the most important thing we can do in life? Above all else, what must we do each day in order to thrive? Wisdom’s answer is keep your heart.
Your heart is the deepest part of you. The real you. In Hebrew thinking it was the command center of life. All thoughts, choices, and emotions originated and were determined by the heart. Your heart is your desires. Your affections. Your motivations and outlook on life. We do nothing apart from our hearts. This is why the most important thing you can do each day is keep (guard, protect) your heart. All of life springs from your heart. Everything you say, do, think, and feel begins with your heart’s perception of what life is and who God is.
But which of us reading this can do this? Who among us has the power to guard our own heart? In our natural state our hearts are actually a disaster waiting to happen. Moses said the heart needs to be circumcised. The prophet Jeremiah called the heart desperately wicked. And Jesus said that all sin flows from our hearts.
In Proverbs the solution to our evil hearts is wisdom. Hearing wisdom, collecting wisdom, and then keeping it in your heart so as to overcome the evil in the heart. The heart devoid of God’s wisdom will become fearful, lustful, greedy, insecure, and discontented. And such a heart will slowly waste the precious gift of life and destroy any chance at real relationships with others. So protect your heart with all vigilance. Keep out the evil desires that would lead to destruction. And rather receive the good wisdom of God.
But Proverbs does not offer us the final answer to our heart’s problem. Yes, it rightly diagnoses the problem, never telling us to “follow our heart,” but rather to protect our heart from sin and foolishness. But it also leaves the solution in our own hands. How can any of us keep our own hearts when our own hearts are our greatest problem?
Christian, what our hearts really need is a Savior. We need the One who will keep our hearts with all his vigilance. The One who will bring forth in us a spring of living water that never, ever runs dry. The One whose steadfast love and faithfulness has been written on our hearts for us by the blood of his New Covenant.
Romans 5:5. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
What will guard our lives through the perils of this life and into the next? The NEW HEART. The heart of Jesus himself. His desires. His affections. His perceptions. His motivations. Now supernaturally written into our hearts through our union with Christ. Jesus’ faith in God that would take him into death. Christ’s overflowing spring of resurrection life that changes what naturally flows out of us. His own divine love flowing out in our love. His infinite kindness in our kindness. His everlasting patience in our patience. His supernatural peace in our peace.
“To live is Christ” means that we can keep our hearts with all vigilance because we know that our hearts are being vigilantly kept by him. Now we can let the streams of his love and grace pour out from the well of life that has been poured into us.
What naturally flows out of your heart? Can you tell?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ change how you “protect your heart?” Is it faith in God’s protection or is it self-protection?
Christ in you
How can the streams of Christ’s life flow out of you today?
Playlist: Keep Your Heart.
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