Guard your heart; who you are matters

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Proverbs 4:20–23

20           My son, give attention to my words;

Incline your ear to my sayings.

21           Do not let them depart from your eyes;

Keep them in the midst of your heart;

22           For they are life to those who find them,

And health to all their flesh.

23           Keep your heart with all diligence,

For out of it spring the issues of life.

 

During high school and college my practice was to read a chapter of Proverbs every day so that every month I would read through the whole book. If I missed a day I would read the chapter that corresponded to the day of the month. As I go back to the Proverbs I feel like I have returned to an old friend. The continual reminders to give attention to the words, to incline my ear to the sayings, to not let them depart from my eyes, and to keep them in them in the midst of my heart are blessed reminders to keep following Wisdom’s instruction.

 

Wisdom never grows old and never goes out of style. Politics change, cultures go from good to bad and from bad to worse but Wisdom never changes. Her call to treating people right, to thinking through our actions beforehand, and to fearing God first and foremost still make the most sense as a right way to live. Re-reading the Proverbs pushes the cultural smoke out of the way and reminds us that there is a right way and a wrong way and that the right way is the best way.

 

Verse 23 is one of the special diamonds of the Proverbs. It is a call to keep, to protect, to place a military guard around our hearts and to do so with all diligence. This brings to my mind an intentional strategy of protection. You have a lock on your front door, locks on your windows, and maybe even a security system of some sorts hooked up to alert you of intruders to your home. You may have guards that you hire or that your apartment hires for your protection. We like to be protected from potential harm. We should put this much intentional protection around our hearts.

 

From our hearts, the very core of who we are, come the most important issues of life. Stuff comes and goes, events come to pass and are gone, but the person we are comes from within us. The person others know us to be has to do with how we treat them, how we love them, and how we respect them. Watch over your heart, protect the core of who you are, that is what comes out.

 

Tomorrow is a big day, a really big day; I turn 60. Some may say that I am a young 60 but 60 sounds really old. I remember wanting to be 30; it may sound strange but as a pastor/preacher getting out of my 20’s was a good thing. Since then we spent years at Victory Homes, years in Aurora/Naperville, and now we are in Jakarta. This is a life that I could not have written a script for but am thankful for God’s continual leading. We have had our share of pains and trials, struggles with sin, the world, finances, family, friends, church, and health; through it all God has been faithful to His word to care for us, mature us, and keep us in His peace. I am thankful that Bobbi and I have been able to intersect with so many people and point them to the Savior. If we have the genes of our parents, we have another 25 years of service to go.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

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