Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
I don't know about you, but I've heard this verse and quoted and said, "Yep that's good and so true!" But recently I really started thinking about it...what does this mean??...keep our heart? So I began to study it out some. The first place I went was to my study bible and it's explanation said this, "Heart could often be translated "mind". Since the Hebrews had no separate word for "mind" the word "heart" often served to represent the seat of the intellect. The key to the whole man is his mind! Whatever captures the mind captures the man.
Wow, this really began to open my eyes and help me understand the importance of guarding my mind. So we could say keep thy mind with all diligence. When I hear the word diligence or diligent I think of consistent, hard work. But as I was studying this out I found that guarded is another word that is used to describe diligence and for me that was the 'WOW' moment . We MUST guard our minds!
I would dare say we have all fallen prey to wrong and negative thinking at times.
Philippians 4:8 instructs us on the things we must think on: things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. What we think on WILL control us. The evil that is in this world constantly tries to engage our minds and if we entertain wrong thoughts, before you know it you will be so far out there you have come up with all kinds of "imaginations." II Corinthians 10:5-6 tell us we must cast down these imaginations and bring our thoughts captive.
"5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ: 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is full. " (II Corinthians 10: 5-6)
I love these two verses and we could teach an entire lesson from these. But we must be bringing out thoughts captive and guarding our minds. Listen to this situation and see if you can relate:
"Every morning when Laurie comes in to work she stops and chats with Susie. Well this particular morning Laurie comes in walks right past Susie's desk, doesn't look doesn't speak, nothing. Well Susie is all worked up now thinking well what is wrong with Laurie. She's mad at me? What did I do? Frustrated and upset the day goes on. Susie then sees Laurie down the hall go into the boss's office. Oh great Susie thinks, now she's going to tell the boss I'm a horrible worker and get me in trouble. How could she do this to me ? I thought we were friends. The anger and frustration for Susie builds. At lunch time Susie is in the break room eating and Laurie comes in. "Susie, you are not going to believe my morning! As I drove up to work this morning I did not think I would make it in the building, my stomach was so upset It was all I could do but run to the bathroom. It's been awful. Then the boss called me into her office to discuss that project I was working on last week. My it's been a crazy mourning for me. How has your morning been?"
Do we not do the same things? Jumping to conclusions before we know what the entire story is? Our thoughts can get us in a world of trouble and bring us down. If we start thinking on wrong things or past mistakes or looking at around at what others do and don't do. We are now no longer guarded. We can go in all kinds of wrong directions with our thoughts, But we can also go in the right direction and that is to follow the Philippians 4:8 pattern. BUT WE MUST CHOOSE to think rightly. The only way we can accomplish this is by filling our minds with the correct things. First and foremost this is done with God's Word. We find strength, help and instruction from God in His Word. It makes it harder for Satan to get his ugly clinches in you if you are diligently, as the first part of the verse says, in His Word daily.
The second part of this verse : for out of it are the issues of life. What's going on in our mind and thoughts will flow out into our daily living. That's plain and simple I think.
I've heard the saying what you feed grows. If we are feeding our minds with God's Word and right thinking then it will flow out in our lives by how we act and treat others. If we are not, well whatever else we are putting in will flow out! Whether it be wrong thoughts, wrong books, wrong movies, you fill in the blank it will affect your daily life and how you treat others.
Think about this I read this from the commentary Biblical Illustrator referencing our physical heart as an organ. "It is the fountain of life, through which the blood passes, to be distributed to every part of the system. Stop the heart, and death follows!!!!"
Wow, think about that with our minds. Stop right thinking, right feelings and you are shutting down our entire purpose of living, which is bringing honour and glory to our Saviour Jesus Christ!
Shannon Grandinetti, Women's Missionary Fellowship Director, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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