“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Pretty weighty proverb written by the wisest man who ever lived, have you ever taken time to give it some thought? Diligent heart keeping is essential to experience healthy character development. The heart in this case represents the health of the mind and all of the abundance of what our thoughts and passions are. Left to ourselves, we are helpless and hopeless sinners, but when we consent to be brought into subjection to Christ, the Holy Spirit cleanses us from all defilement. After doing such, we must choose whether we will abide in Christ or not, this is a moment by moment decision. It is our duty to as a follower of Christ to keep our hearts undefiled. Many seem to think that the religion of Christ does not call for the abandonment of daily sins, the breaking loose from habits which have held the soul in bondage. They renounce some things condemned by the conscience, but they fail to represent Christ in the daily life. They live a religion of show, where they seek to please God by outward show but their heart is far from Him.
They do not bring Christ-likeness into their home. They do not show thoughtful care in the choice of the words they speak to their spouses and children. Too often, fretful, impatient words are spoken, words which stir the worst passions of the human heart. Such ones need the abiding presence of Christ in the soul. Only in His strength can they keep guard over their words and actions.
In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness and humility, pleading for help. The Savior has told us to pray without ceasing. We should cultivate a love for meditation, and cherish a spirit of devotion. “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Repeating scripture text when we are going through a stormy season of trial and temptation truly works, because we truly make a decision by seeking the Lord’s wisdom in those situations. As we repeat His words and rebuke the enemy we are imbued by His power and grace to overcome our feelings and live by principle. When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then our thoughts will be of things eternal, and this will spill out to our actions being loving. To do such will put life and earnestness into all of our endeavors. It is our privilege as Christians to be “increasing in the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. When we exercise, it helps to increase our appetite, and gives strength and vitality to our body, so will devotional exercises bring an increase of grace and spiritual vigor to our hearts!