November 18, 2012

Be Careful, Watch Over, Guard Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Solomon admonished his son with words of wisdom from God.

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching;… (Prov. 4:1-2)

In verse 23 of this proverb he says…

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:23)

This rendition is from the New American Standard Version. Different wording from other translations provide additional insight into this admonition.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” NIV

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”. TEV

We don’t take time to consciously think about most of our actions each day. Most of what we do is controlled by a wonderfully designed “automatic pilot.” The young child concentrates on putting one foot in front of the other when learning to walk.

Adults seldom think about it. They have “programmed” a part of their mind that can take over and run things without distracting our conscious thought processes. This amazing mechanism is sometimes referred to as the “heart.” We learn poems by heart, meaning we have programmed so well that we can quote without consciously thinking about it.

Solomon is referring to this process when he urges his son to “watch over,” “guard,” “be careful.”  Our “heart” is being programmed whether we are trying to do so or not. Continual repetition leaves an imprint. Solomon is saying, be aware of the fact that this is happening and be careful, be on guard. You are programming your heart and there is a lasting effect. “from it flow the springs of life” or “your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

How careful are we about what we allow to occupy our thoughts? Do we dwell on cruel injustice we have endured? That programming turns into bitterness and vengeance. Do we allow sexual desires for women or men who are not “ours” to live in our imagination? This turns into sinful lust and actual sin.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Movies, conversations, music make more than temporary impressions. Therefore “diligence” is wise. Solomon warned his son, “Be careful.” “Be on guard.”

This powerful life controlling mechanism works just as effectively with positive programming. Good movies (unfortunately rare), spiritual conversations, edifying music are life-molding forces that can strengthen and keep us automatically in the right path. Our creator understood this and designed activities to utilize these forces… “assembling together,” “admonishing one another,”  etc.

Solomon’s wisdom helps us appreciate what may seem to many to be fanatical. Preachers or parents who continually “harp” about the real danger of negative activities and the real benefits of spiritual activities are not being obsessive. They are demonstrating divine wisdom. Consider God’s instruction to Israel.

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)



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