Proverbs 4:23 - Your Mind and Your Destiny.
Proverbs 4:23 - Your Mind and Your Destiny.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it
determines the course of your life.
Heart. i.e., mind or inner being. [Ryrie SB]
The heart is so much more than just our affections, as some
think. The heart is regarded as being the seat of the intellect, the
feelings, and the will... The heart is often spoken of in God's Word as our
innermost being. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
The heart is the starting point of the activities of life; it
determines the course of life. [Expositors Bible Commentary]
INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW
The process of fending off temptation always involves a
conversation with our feelings. You really don't need this, you know. You
just want it. But desires tug at the heart. If there were no
enjoyment to be had, where would the struggle be?
Proverbs 4 has some instructions about affection--those
feelings of love and desire. It's about disciplining that part of the
person that feels and desires the wrong pleasures (or the right ones at
the wrong time).This is a difficult struggle--no one wants to go
through life never doing what he or she enjoys...
Our affections can give us both pain and pleasure. On one
hand, we can desire and enjoy good--such as wanting to help someone
solve a problem or enjoying sexual pleasure in marriage. On the other
hand, we can desire and enjoy what we shouldn't--such as being lazy or
enjoying sex outside of marriage. Our affections define what we enjoy,
but what we enjoy isn't always what we should do. Proverbs 4:23-27
tells us to guard these affections above all else, making sure we
concentrate on those desires that will keep us on the right path.
Many people have the idea that God is against pleasure, but
they are mistaken. He's only against letting pleasure rule our lives.
Living in obedience to God begins with knowing the difference between
our wants and our needs--and then making the right choice regardless
of the pleasure involved. [The One Year Through the Bible
Devotional by Dave Veerman re Pro. 4:10-19]
First and foremost, the Presence of God is a heart issue.
That's where we experience Him most profoundly. Jesus told His
disciples that the Spirit would be like a river flowing outward from
within them, not flowing inward from outside of them. If we want to
experience the tangible touch of God, the living Presence, we will have to
become attuned to His movements within us.
That's why meditating on verses of Scripture is an effective
exercise in Presence. True meditation goes well beyond memorizing a verse
or exploring knowledge about a truth from different angles. It's a
spiritual practice of chewing and swallowing the truth, digesting it to
the point that it becomes a part of who you are. When you embrace a
scriptural truth and then turn it over and around within your soul, letting
it sink into every corner and crevice, it changes you. It becomes
part of your nature. When that happens, you don't have to obey it
against your inclinations; you simply fulfill it by being who you are.
That's how transformation happens.
Scripture says to guard our hearts. Most people interpret
that as, "Keep the bad stuff from getting in" - a good practice, but
only part of the full meaning of this verse. We are to be diligent
about our internal state - to keep the bad stuff out, to keep the good
stuff in, to dwell on truth and peace and the Presence, and to anchor
ourselves in Kingdom reality. Filling our hearts with scriptural truth is
a vital part of that process. It's one of the most important and
foundational ways we experience God.
Father, I'll do what I can to guard my heart - to fill it
with all the right things. But You are the true Master of my heart,
and I'm trusting it into Your hands. Shape it, fill it, and meet me
there. Let it be a place where Your Presence always reigns. [The One
Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
Nearly every aspect of life involves matters of the heart--the
center of our emotions, feelings, and desires. All day, every day, we
are presented with situations that demand a heart response. It's how
we react to those situations that truly reveal our character. How
do we respond when people hurt, cheat, or deceive us? Are we angry,
bitter, or vengeful? How would we respond if our greatest temptation
were to lie enticingly just at the edge of our grasp? Bottom line:
How do we react when no one else is looking?
But as I know well, God is looking. He knows us inside and
out, and he judges the inward heart, thoughts, and motives of each
and every one of us. That's why I work to keep my heart soft,
pliable, tender, and obedient before the Lord. That's the only way I can
be sure to hear his voice and respond accordingly. We are all
stewards of our own hearts. We alone are responsible for how we respond
to the trials and temptations life throws our way. It's a challenge
to be sure--but the course of our lives will be full, satisfying,
and God-honoring if we surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and
continually ask him to guard our hearts.
Zoro, internationally known rock star and Christian
ambassador, is one of the world's most respected drummers. He has toured and
recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Frankie Valli, Sean Lennon,
Lisa Marie Presley, and many others. Zoro is also a spokesperson for
Compassion International. [The One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional]
The heart must be renewed by divine grace, or it will be in vain
to seek for purity of life. He who attempts to build up a noble,
virtuous character independent of the grace of Christ is building his
house upon the shifting sand. In the fierce storms of temptation it
will surely be overthrown.... Those who would not fall a prey to
Satan's devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid
reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The
mind should not be left to wander at random upon every subject that
the adversary of souls may suggest... This will require earnest prayer
and unceasing watchfulness. We must be aided by the abiding
influence of the Holy Spirit, which will attract the mind upward, and
habituate it to dwell on pure and holy things. And we must give diligent
study to the word of God. PP460
To keep your heart in heaven, will give vigor to all your
graces, and put life into all your duties. To discipline the mind to
dwell upon heavenly things, will put life and earnestness into all our
endeavors... As exercise increases the appetite, and gives strength and
healthy vigor to the body, so will devotional exercises bring an
increase of grace and spiritual vigor. 3BC1157
When I go to my physician to have an operation on my leg, the
first thing my doctor does is to check my heart. After all, if my
heart is not right, there is no use getting my leg fixed up. Without a
healthy heart, the best leg in the world will do me no good.
In the physical realm the heart is at the center of life. It
is the pumping of that muscle that spreads life to the rest of the
It is the same in the realm of the spirit. Thus the biblical
emphasis on the importance of having our hearts right with God.
Jesus pronounces His blessing on those who are "pure in
heart." It is significant that He does not commend those who are
intellectual. He does not say "Blessed are those who understand correct
doctrine, for they shall see God." His focus is on the heart.
Now, don't get me wrong. Correct doctrine is important, but
it is not at the center of the matter. You can have a correct
doctrinal understanding and be meaner than the devil. A person can be
"straight" on doctrine, yet be a curse to the church and a false
representative of his or her Lord.
As in the physical life, the core of Christian existence is
the heart. A heart right with both God and other people sets the
stage for both a correct understanding of doctrine and a correct
expression of one's faith in daily living. Without a healthy spiritual
heart you are spiritually dead, no matter how well you understand
theology or how much of the Bible you have committed to memory.
It is the pure in heart who shall see God.
Lord, help me today to get my priorities right. Help me today
to surrender my heart to You. Help me today to start seeing You
better. [Walking With Jesus By Knight]
One beautiful spring morning, an experienced hiker was
walking with a friend down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The streets
rumbled with the sounds of weekday rush-hour traffic. Suddenly the hiker
stopped. "Listen," he said. "I hear a cricket."
"That's nonsense!" his friend scoffed. "Why do you think you
hear a lowly cricket in all this downtown uproar?"
"I'm sure I do," the hiker said. "Watch this." He pulled a
dime from his pocket and dropped it on the pavement. Almost all of
the people nearby stopped at the sound of the coin hitting the
"All of us are tuned to certain things," the hiker said to
his friend. "Our ears hear what they are tuned to. Mine happen to be
tuned to crickets."
In a similar way we need to be open to God's word. Jesus said
we need "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" before we can tune in to
the gospel. [Youth SB re Mat. 13:10-15]
Have you ever watched an icicle form? Did you notice how the
dripping water froze, one drop at a time, until the icicle was a foot
long or more?
If the water was clean, the icicle remained clear and
sparkled brightly in the sun; but if the water was slightly muddy, the
icicle looked cloudy, its beauty spoiled.
Our character is formed in like manner. Each thought or
feeling adds its influence. Each decision we make - both great and small
- contributes its part. Everything we take into our minds and
souls - impressions, experiences, images, or words - helps create our
At all times, we must be aware of the "droplets" we allow to
drip into our lives. Acts that develop habits of hate, falsehood, and
evil intent mar and eventually destroy us - but habits born of love,
truth, and goodness silently mold and fashion us into the image of God.
[God's Little Devotional Bible]
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
MINI-VIDEO DEVOTIONAL ON THIS PASSAGE BY PASTOR SHAWN BOONSTRA:
Stopping the Spill of Sin:
http://www.itiswritten.com/television#episodes/3332 [A Better Way To Live By Shawn Boonstra]