Guard your heart! Proverbs Week 4- Day 5

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  (24)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.  (25)  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.  (26)  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  (27)  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Proverbs 4:23-27

Explanation:
In yesterday’s passage we looked at three categories of terms.  One category was body terms.  He used the words like ear, eyes and heart.  Remember that the Father has pleaded with his son to listen to his words, to keep his words in front of his eyes, and to keep them in the midst of his heart.

In verses 23-27 that body language continues.  Let’s walk through the text by looking at these terms for the body.

1. The term “heart” in verse 23.  The heart is the critical piece of this whole framework.  The father told his son to keep his words in front of His eyes and in the midst of his heart.  Why?  Because out of the heart are the issues of life.  The heart describes the inner man.  It is the thoughts and emotions of the person.  In this verse the Father tells his son to “keep” or guard his heart with all diligence.  He is saying that his son must make an effort to guard the inner thoughts and emotions because it is out of that inner person that we make our choices.

2. The terms “mouth” and “lips” in verse 24.  The idea here is to avoid using our mouths for destructive, degenerate, and disgusting speech.

3. The terms “eyes” and “eyelids” in verse 25.  This is continuing the “path” and “way” language.  The idea is to keep the eyes focused on going in the right direction and not even looking at other evil paths.

4. The term “ponder” in verse 26.  This isn’t a part of the body, but describes the activity of the mind.  The idea here is to think about what path you are going to take.

5. The terms “feet” and “foot” in verses 26-27.  This is the part of the body that takes the rest of the body down the “path” or the “way”. 

Application:

We must be careful as stewards of our bodies to use our whole selves, the inner-man and the outer-man, to honor God by taking the right path.  The Word of God in our ears and eyes effect our hearts.  Out of our hearts we make all the choices with rest of our body.  We decide what path to take.

How do we maintain our heart?

1.  Be careful about what comes in the eyes and ears.

2.  Spend time in the Word of God.

3.  Spend time with wise and godly people.

Response:

What do you need to do most to guard your heart today?

Romans: Week 3- Day 5- Romans 2:28-29

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

(Rom 2:28-29)

Explanation:

The person who has been accepted by God and is right with God, and therefore has a secure position with God is not one who has primarily dealt with exterior conformity to the law alone, but rather has been transformed inwardly in the inner man.  This is not exclusively a New Testament concept.  This idea of “circumcision of the heart” was spoken in Deuteronomy 30:6.

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

(Deu 30:6)

God has never been content for people to just externally conform to a set of rules without any inner transformation of the heart.  This is Paul’s argument.

Application:

External conformity to rules tends to make other men the audience, while inner transformation of the heart forcuses on the Lord.  Don’t be confused.  This does not mean that God has no opinion on the external.  Of course God wants us to be obedient externally.  His desire though is that their obedience is motivated by an inner transformation that God has done in the heart.  This means that doing the right thing flows from a right relationship and worshipping of God on the inside, and not just an outward conformity to the rules borne of a motivation of duty to God or conformity to men.

Response:

  1. Have you had the inner transformation that happens when you accept Christ as Savior?
  2. Are there any “rules” you are keeping for the wrong reasons?
  3. Take some time to check your heart attitude today, and ask God to continue to work on you.

Week 12: Day 2- Deuteronomy 30:6

(6) And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Deuteronomy 30:6

Explanation
Circumcision was an outward sign of the children of Israel’s covenant with the Lord. It was an outward expression that was to represented an developed attitude of devotion and relationship with God. It was an accepting of the covenant between God and His people.

The problem with outward signs is that they were supposed to be an expression of the attitude and heart of a person. Yet, often outward religious signs were not reflective of what was going on in the heart. This can be true today. Much or religion is man going through certain ceremonial motions brought about by shere tradition.
Moses tells the people that once they returned from being scattered (see yesterdays post) God would “circumcise their hearts”.

The result of this inner surgery is that they and their children would “love the Lord thy God with alll thine heart, and with all thy soul”. Frankly, it would mean that the outward sign of covenant between them and God would begin to match the inner man. There would be a love for God, for the law of God, for the purposes of God and it would be reflected in them and in their children.

Repentance would lead to a return. The return would lead to an inner revival of the heart. This revival would lead to right living. God would remove the hardness of their heart and give them a heart that is soft and responsive to Him.

Application
There can be so much that turns our hearts away from the Lord. We often think that religious participation will generate spiritual life in us without an inner change. We think we’re good with God simply because we attend church, pray before our meals, and avoid the “big sins”. This is a dangerous place to be, because we think we are good with God, and may have no relationship with Him at all. We may just be participating in the ritual. What we are living on the outside may not match on the inside. That kind of relationship with God gets passed on through the generations and wreaks havoc on their spiritual lives.

God emphasizes the heart.

Proverbs 4:23
(23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Matthew 12:34
(34) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

To be what we ought to be we must have a heart that has been transformed by God. That starts with regeneration. We must believe in Christ and be made alive by His Spirit at salvation. Repentance will lead to a return to God and a revival of the heart. This will allow us to be responsive to God as we grow to be more like His dear Son.

Response:

Here are some good verses to pray today:

Psalm 139:23-24
(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.