Guard your heart! (1)
What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you saw the title of this post? I know you might say:
‘Hmmmm,he wants to write about the bad things we shouldn’t think about or the things we shouldn’t allow to enter our hearts’.
That is not my intention.
I want to address the topic from another perspective.Rather than write about the negative forces that compete with our hearts,my assignment is to let us know how precious are the treasures we have within our hearts.
I strongly believe that guarding or securing such treasures would be taken seriously when we know how invaluable they are.
So,I want us to take our mind away from those negative things that are warring against our hearts and concentrate on the positive treasures within us.
If we know the importance of what we ‘carry’,we won’t have to be told that our hearts ❤️ need to be guarded against external attacks.
I will start the ball rolling with this verse:
“Keep your heart with all diligence,for out of it are the issues of life”-Prov 4:23
The Hebrew word for ‘diligence’ is /mishmâr/ which is associated with: Prison,custody,ward or guard.
“And they put him into prison/mishmar/,till they might know what the Lord would command”-Lev 24:12
“Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in custody/mishmar/ in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker”-Gen 41:10
“So Joseph put them all in prison/mishmar/ for three days”-Gen 42:17
“But we prayed to our God and posted a guard/mishmar/ day and night to meet this threat”-Neh 4:9
When Solomon says:
‘Keep your heart with all diligence’,
This is what he means:
‘Guard it the way officers watch the prison doors’!
Why are the prison doors guarded by the officers?
1)To prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to the prison.
2)To prevent the prisoners from escaping.
The last reason is my focus in this series.I am not writing on ways to guard your hearts against wrong thoughts or whatever might want to gain access to your heart.Rather,I want your focus to be on what is ‘imprisoned’ within your heart ❤️.There is something very precious within your heart that needs to be well guarded.
So let’s go back to the book of Proverbs to find out what Solomon says about it:
“My son,pay attention to what I say.Listen carefully to my words.Don’t lose sight of them.Let them penetrate deep into your heart.For they are life to those who find them,and health to all their flesh.Keep your heart with all diligence,for out of it are the issues of life”-Prov 4:20-23
I think the central message of this Scripture is lost if we attribute it only to the prevention of negative influence on the heart.For me,I can’t see any negativity in this Scripture!Or can you spot any?
While it is obvious that one needs to censor the external influence on one’s heart,I strongly believe this Scripture lays more emphasis on guarding the treasure within one’s heart.
Let me paraphrase Prov 4:20-23 in case you didn’t understand it:
The son listens to what the Father says.He allows the words of the Father to penetrate deep into his heart.Because he knows that the words of the Father are life and health to his flesh,he guards the words:He won’t allow the words to escape from his heart ❤️.He will keep the words the same way prisoners are kept and guarded.
So,was Solomon talking about you preventing your hearts against evil thoughts? No,not at all.Though it is expected that we do that,we will fail to guard the heart if we don’t know the value of what we are protecting.
While you can leave your room unlocked sometimes,banks’ vaults are heavily guarded because they house large amount of money.It means that the extent to which you guard a possession is dependent on its value.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field”-Matt 13:44
This man knew how invaluable the treasure was,therefore he didn’t place it where others could access it.He hid it within the field until he was able to buy the field.
What are the treasures within your heart? What are the things within you that need to be guarded like the /mishmar/?
If you knew how important and precious they were,they would be guarded with all diligence.
Let’s converge here next Saturday for the continuation of the series.