Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4: 23
This week’s Bible verse addresses matters of the heart. Solomon says, “above all else, guard your heart, because it is the well spring of life.” In scripture, the word “heart” occurs over 1000 times, so we know it has an important role in our well-being. We know that when the heart stops beating, we die. But what happens when the heart is infected by sin? Scripture treats the heart as the core of one’s humanity. It is central to our moral, emotional, intellectual and spiritual substance. Even the prophet Jeremiah notes, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked (not just wicked, but desperately so). Who really knows how bad it is (NLT: Jeremiah 17:9)?
Cain’s murderous thoughts began in his heart and resulted in his murdering his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8). David’s adulterous thoughts began in his heart. He saw with his eyes, and that gave birth to desire in his heart. Desire gave birth to adultery (2 Samuel 11: 4) and adultery ultimately gave birth to the murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:16). Sin often enters through the eyes, but percolates in the heart before it is acted upon.
Friend, what are you looking at? What books, movies, magazines, text messages are you looking at and forwarding to others? Are you struggling with a besetting sin and wondering how you got there and why it is so difficult to kick the habit? Trace your steps back to what you allowed your eyes to dwell on. The Psalmist declares, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them (NLT: Psalm 101:3).” God calls us to be holy, even as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We can only do this by inviting the Holy Spirit to come in and guard our heart. Everything we do, good and bad flows from the heart. That’s a sobering thought. With the proliferation of pornography and indecency in our world today, it is important to be on guard and to shield our eyes, hearts and minds from filth, because once filth enters the eyes, it’s a slippery downhill slope.
Dear Lord, you are a holy God who will not inhabit a filthy vessel. Stand guard at my heart, that I might not sin against you. Give me heavenly wisdom that will help me reject that which does not glorify you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.