23Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life
Proverbs 4: 23 (NLT)
Of course! We need to be intentional in our lives that we’re not ingesting things that will cause us to stumble…but I’m not talking about food!
What we watch, what we listen to, the conversations we allow ourselves to take part in, all of these “things” shape our hearts and determine the path that we will ultimately follow.
How powerful is this?
Consider this, companies spend billions of dollars every year trying to convince you that your life will be so much better with that new car, new house, that pair of jeans or even their pizza for dinner. That’s their job! They are experts at speaking into the eyes and ears of the general public and guiding people to make decisions without the people even noticing.
So, to the point of this verse, we must take intentional steps to guard what we allow into our hearts.
Proverbs 4 goes on to say:
24Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. 25Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
We can always rely on God to show us how to take action, so here are a few steps we can take to guard our hearts:
- Avoid perverse, corrupt speech.This includes foul language, talking poorly about others, gossip, and any other talk that can hinder us. Have you ever noticed that when you’re mad, and you start to talk about why you’re mad, you tend to get even more mad as the conversation goes on? Feelings get out of control and things escalate quickly. When you feel these things coming on, the best thing to do is to be silent, spend some time in prayer and reflect on what is happening. The situation will diffuse and you’ll find that you put your foot in your mouth less often.
- Look straight ahead. Keeping our heart clean is so difficult in today’s culture, where modesty is discouraged and companies tend to use the body to sell all types of products. Our eyes are constantly drawn to different things that will build up inappropriate thoughts and make a mess out of our hearts. This tip is 100% practical, and I’ve heard guys talk about it in the past (not that it’s only for men, women benefit from this too). Any time you see something attractive that draws your eye, or pulls at your attention, look the other way; look “Straight ahead” as if to focus on what’s good in front of you, and avoid looking to anything that draws your attention away. If it is an add on TV, immediately change the channel or turn the TV off. If it is a picture on facebook, get off the computer. If it’s a person walking down the street look the other way. Whatever you have to do, intentionally keeping your eyes from focusing on that temptation will help keep your heart clean.
- Mark out your path. I see this as having a plan. The idle mind is a dangerous thing. If we sit around and wait for life to happen, with no goals, no plans, and no purpose our heart will lead us into all different directions where we shouldn’t be. Be intentional how you live. If you have free time, fill it with the Word of God. You can guard your heart by not allowing it to go down an idle, destructive path.
I love it when God’s Word gives us practical steps to follow. I find this encouraging as we start our week because we’ll surely have times where we need to use these skills. Let’s hold each other accountable and be in prayer for each other.
I love you guys!!