Keeping your Heart
By David Cox
Sunday School Class Volume 3, Number 1
Sunday School Class on keeping your heart. Your heart is like the tiller of a boat. It decides where you will go.
Prov 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
The Hebrew here doubles the verb, “keep keep,” which means that we must keep it this very intensely. The heart is something extremely important for our soul and our future in eternity. The text gives us the motivations coming out of our heart. Our being (what we are) is defined by what is our heart. We go to heaven or hell because of what we are spiritually, in our heart, we are sinners. If one is a Christian, then he or she “is” (or seeks to be) the moral essence of Christ. He seeks the moral character of God, and is interested in the things of God, the work of God, and wants to know more and more of the Word of God to be more like his Savior whom he loves intensely. What the person “is” is defined by the moment of saving faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ. If “he is” a child of the Devil, equally, he hates or is not tolerant of the things of God, he seeks to limit his encounter with these things of God to the least possible or avoid them entirely. He is very interested in the things of the world, the pleasures, the sins, and the rest that is not of God. Where his life is going, he discerns what essence he is, a son of God or son of the devil, and follows his spiritual “father.”
1John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
God commands us to keep our heart, because the heart is the source of life, that is, where “what we are” comes from. The heart is a representation of everything else in our life. Everything in our life “flows” from our heart. It refers to the center of our personality and soul. From this center, “life springs” or life develops around what is in our heart, and what our heart is like spiritually. “We do” things according to what we are. What you are is defined by what your heart is.
Matt 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Jesus explained that what really “contaminates man” (sin), which is our actions and attitudes, and we are not contaminated for eating one food or another, or eating with unclean hands. The heart is the problem, and because of this, we act as we act, because what we are.
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
The heart is what corrupts us (makes us black with sin*), and this was because they knew about God, but they did not honor him as God. There is a lot of difference between knowing about the Bible, and knowing God personally, and having a relationship with Him, where Jesus saves you, and you honor Him as your God. They did not value God above their own will. They did not hold him, and they were condemned by God.
* Being black with sin has nothing to do with one’s skin color, but refers to purity as white, and dirty as black. Black people can be good Christians, and pure in God’s eyes. Caucasians are not really white, but flesh-tone by the way.
Ps 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
The heart is also the place where we “put the Word of God“, and this is to prevent sin in our lives (if we heed God’s Word). We put the Word of God in our hearts by memorizing it, but much more than to be able to repeat it, we study the Word of God to understand what God wants, and we give God what He wants from us.
Prov 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
God warns us that there are dangers and punishments in the way of perversity. Keeping your soul from walking in these ways will protect you from this punishment from God on sin.
Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The psalmist’s attitude is to lay out his life before God so that God examines and rebukes (to change his life). When there is any element of sin in our life, we should seek to remove it from our life.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Prov 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
The arrogant will not have his life blessed by God. He who follows the desires and pleasures of his heart against God’s counsel is following things that have no root or part in eternity or with God.
We have to trust in God. God knows better than us. It is ridiculous to think that God (who knows everything) does not understand your life, your problems, and already knows how to remedy them. We have to look for God’s direction, or we will suffer serious problems in life.
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
When one accepts Jesus as their Savior, Satan gets upset with this. Then Satan works with the attitude of the person so that he “makes bitter“, that is, he has a bad attitude about how things are turning out in his life. The author of Hebrews warns us not to fall into a bitter attitude trap towards what God does in your life.