Guarding your heart

[Day 4 of 31 Days of Wisdom]
Key verse:“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Prov. 4:23

When I was growing up, one of the biggest contentions I had with my parents was the music I would listen to. They had zero tolerance for anything non-Christian, and anything with a beat. It was tough! What made it worse was that the alternative they provided was a radio station that had no cultural relevance to me. Ever hear of Family Radio? I have nothing against Family Radio, but needless to say I wasn’t interested. That station would be playing all day long. We had many debates about what was acceptable for a Christian to listen to. But again, if it had a beat, sounded good, made you want to dance then it was a big no-no.

I think back to the many times I heard youth leaders, pastors, and older people in general preach against secular music. I wasn’t sold. Even today I enjoy some secular music. I’m really feeling “Happy” by Pharell Williams. But one thing is different now: as I matured in Christ, I became a lot more selective when it comes to what I listen to. As I took my walk with the Lord more seriously, things started to bother my spirit that didn’t bother me before. I started to understand God’s standard as to what I should be listening to. And the freeing thing about it all was that it didn’t just come down to whether listening to this song or that song was a sin. It wasn’t about sin. It was about guarding my soul against things that just weren’t healthy for me spiritually. My values changed and so the music I would listen to began to clash with what I believed.

I can think back to Onyx. When they came out with “Slam”, I listened to that song everyday. They had a really violent edge to their music and I remember the Lord dealing with me about that. He began to show me that what I listen to does affect me, no matter how “strong” I think I am. He showed me that what I choose to watch will impact me too, no matter how “mature” I felt I was.

Can you think of a time when you heard or saw something that had an impact on your mood or day? Which brings up today’s word of wisdom. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  Today, we are faced with a lot of issues. People are drowning in issues affecting their finances, health, friendships, walk with God, etc. But where do these issues come from? According to verse 23, many originate from our heart. In other words, we live out what has been planted in our heart. This is why we are encouraged to ‘guard’ our hearts.

The word ‘issues’ can also be translated as “a flow” or “a going out”. Wisdom tells us to guard our heart because there is a flow or a going out that originates from it. And that flow, or stream of force, has a major part in determining what you experience in life. Verse 23 can read like this: The flow of your life is determined by the flow of your heart; so watch what you allow into your heart.

Here’s 5 things you can do to guard your heart:

1)      Refuse to indulge gossip
2)      Reject boredom; embrace spontaneity and fun
3)      Surround yourself with spiritual people.
4)      Put the word of God before your eyes
5)      Remove things from your eyes that encourage ungodly living.

Can you think of any other ways to guard your heart? Please share them in the comments below.




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