Guard Your Heart!

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Guard your heart more than anything else,

because the source of your life flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 4:20-27 GW)


It's been said "the eyes are the windows to the soul." This is a popular version of similar expressions throughout history. A person's eyes are a truer indication of the state of their soul than their facial expression and words, their.

In this case, the eyes are windows for others to look inside another person—into their soul, their heart. A person can wear a smile on their face while trying to cover the grief within them that's seen in their eyes.

On the other hand, the eyes are also the gateway of our perception of the world around us—what we take in that enters our mind and heart, our very soul.

Jesus said that if a person's eye was healthy and took in what was good (light), then their heart would be filled with what is healthy and good (Matt 6:22-24). But if they take in darkness—what is unhealthy—their heart will be filled with unhealthy and dark influences.

This is the reason for the admonition to "guard your heart..." (Prov 4:23). It reminds me of the children's song that goes, "be careful little eyes what you see...." The warning in that song is suitable for all ages. We all need to watch what we observe and take in.

One obvious connection is to what we take in via gaming, news and other media, music, movies, or online. When we feed on unhealthy, dark things—gossip, hate, immorality, porn, rancorous strife, or violence to name a few—our heart is filled with these same influences.

A simple way of knowing what influences and impacts us is to observe what comes out of our mouths. As Jesus said in another place, "Your mouth says what comes from inside you" (Matt 12:34 GW).

But how can we guard our hearts?

The fuller context of this verse (Prov 4:20-27) gives clear insight into how we can guard our hearts. It requires both internal and external disciplines.

Verses 20-22 speak of the internal disciplines that need to be kept "deep within your heart." This is the truth of God and godly wisdom, what is found throughout the book of Proverbs and the Bible as a whole.

These will become life and healing for the whole body. God's truth and wisdom promote wholeness to a person's soul, mind, and body—a powerful influence for good.

The external disciplines are found in verses 24-27. These verses speak of what we take into our hearts and the actions we take—what direction we take with our daily life.

We need to discipline ourselves regarding what we take into our hearts and minds and how we live based on our internal values—what is stored in our heart.

But keep first things first. Our internal disciplines need to guide our external disciplines. Otherwise, the external disciplines will develop into a form of legalistic self-righteousness, which will not guard the heart but harden it with self-deceptive pride.

So, guard your heart since your source of life flows from what's inside it.


God's truth and wisdom promote wholeness to a person's soul, mind, and body, and are a powerful influence for good. What are you storing in your heart?

Prayer Focus—

Developing internal and external disciplines for our life is a continuing process that requires honest and personal intimacy with God in prayer. So, ask God to prepare you for each day and to guide you through each day.


Years ago, I developed a group of verses to help me guard my heart. If you'd like a printable copy of it, you can download it here— Guard Your Heart

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The Brighter Path

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The path of righteous people is like the light of dawn

that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday. (Proverbs 4:18 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 4:10-19 GW)

Most of us have a fascination with sunrises and sunsets—in paintings, photos, and especially in person. Whether along the coast, the desert or plains, or high in the mountains, the beginning and end of a day is an opportunity to pause, watch, and take in the majesty of creation.

Dawn and dusk often provided kaleidoscopic displays of color that overshadow whatever else occupies my mind, wherever I've lived.

Growing up near the beach on the west coast of California I watched the sun melt into the Pacific Ocean on many evenings. Once the bottom of the sun touched the horizon, it seemed to dissolve in the water like butter in a hot saucepan.

Walking on the beach on the east coast at first light, it seems to take much longer for the sun to rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. Once it pops above the horizon, its rise into the sky seems to accelerate.

This illustrates the way of wisdom. It may seem to be a long process for wisdom to be grasped and to take hold in our lives but its the path that shines with increasing brightness like the sun rising to its apex.

But when godly wisdom is ignored or shunned, the path of life darkens quickly just as the darkness of night follows the sunset.

I still enjoy watching a sunset, whether my day went well or it's been a difficult day. Yet, seeing the first light of day and watching the light intensify spurs me on to pursue all that God has in store for me each day.


It may require much time and perseverance to gain godly wisdom but it's far better to walk in the light than in darkness.  

Prayer Focus—

Ask God to show you where you might get off track from the bright path of God's wisdom and for His help to keep you from wandering off into the darkness.


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Cherish Wisdom

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Love wisdom, and it will protect you.

The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom.

Acquire understanding with all that you have.

Cherish wisdom.

It will raise you up. It will bring you honor when you embrace it.

It will give you a graceful garland for your head. It will hand you a beautiful crown. (Proverbs 4:6-9 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 4:1-9 GW)

What do you cherish? What do you love in a special way? Think about who and what you admire and value most. This is what it means to cherish.

Cherish is not a common word today but you get a sense of its meaning by how it sounds and the way it's expressed. When we cherish something or someone, we hold it or them in high regard with love, adoration, even worship.

The admonition to love and cherish wisdom shows how important godly wisdom is and its intrinsic value. Its importance and value are seen in how godly wisdom benefits the person who acquires and holds on to it and its influence on others.

If we forget, abandon, or turn away from godly wisdom in some way, we'll suffer consequences for it. Whatever we might gain from having it will be lost.

This kind of wisdom isn't just learned out of a book or in a class at school. It's intended—by God's design—to be passed on from generation to generation by parents to their children.

The fifth of the Ten Commandments says that children are to honor their parents (Exo 20:12). It's the only specific commandment with a stated blessing.

This shows the responsibility God gives to parents and the importance of parents in the lives of their children. Godly wisdom is to be implanted in the hearts and minds of children at an early age so that it can grow in them as they mature.

When it is embedded in their lives it becomes a treasure of lasting value—to be cherished throughout a person's life.


Godly wisdom is a lifelong treasure to be cherished. It brings blessings for those who cherish it and the lives they influence with God's wisdom.

Prayer Focus—

Ask God to give you a heart that cherishes wisdom and a mind that understands it, if you don't already. If you love and cherish wisdom, ask the Lord how to share it with others and how to let it flow through your life to others.


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Not Afraid

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Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the destruction of wicked people when it comes.

The Lord will be your confidence. He will keep your foot from getting caught. (Proverbs 3:25-26 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 3:21-35 GW)

Fear can paralyze or energize us. It's called the flight or fight effect. But the fear of fear—of sudden terror—is a bottomless pit. There's no end to it. It doesn't paralyze, it puts a person in a comatose emotional and mental state.

A fear of sudden terror is understandable for war-torn regions of the world and for people living under an oppressive government. In those situations, a general fear for one's life is realistic, but it's not for those of us who live in nations with some form of democracy or representative government.

Godly wisdom—what the Lord reveals to a person who trusts in Him—enables us to see beyond immediate circumstances. The wisdom of God provides a view of the present and future that releases a person from the grip of sudden fear.

Godly wisdom—an understanding that sees beyond the immediate and what is obvious to all—comes with trusting in God Himself.

Inevitably, people in our life will disappoint us and let us down, just as we do with others. This is why trusting God is essential for godly wisdom to enable us to see beyond our circumstances and other things in life beyond our control.

Consider the godly wisdom and counsel of this text in Proverbs 3:21-35. We find several admonitions in the form of do's and don'ts but also blessings and a promise.

I've often heard people denigrate the Bible as being full of rules and do's and don'ts. Most of those people haven't read the Bible. Ironically, a glut of books and blogs offer advice on a myriad of subjects with lists of do's and don'ts, some of which is questionable or contradictory.

The counsel in these verses is beneficial to others, as well as the person receiving this advice. First, don't live in a state of fearfulness but with confidence in the Lord's care and guidance.

What we are advised against promotes peaceful relations with those around us and is wisdom for pursuing peace and contentment for our own life. This is an alternative to getting pulled along by the current of evil and selfishness that often surrounds us.

A further blessing in all of this advice is that God will reveal wisdom to those who trust in Him and give us grace and honor no matter our status in life. Freedom from a fear of sudden terror comes with putting our trust and confidence in the Lord.


The wisdom of God provides a view of the present and future that releases a person from the grip of sudden fear and gives them an understanding that sees beyond immediate circumstances by trusting in God Himself.

Prayer Focus—

Choose to daily lay your doubts, fears, and concerns before God in prayer and ask for His wisdom to guide you regarding all your circumstances and relationships. Trust in the Lord to free you from fearfulness and worry.


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Wisdom Is a Tree of Life

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⌊Wisdom⌋ is a tree of life for those who take firm hold of it. Those who cling to it are blessed.

By Wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth.

By understanding he established the heavens.

By his knowledge the deep waters were divided, and the skies dropped dew. (Proverbs 3:18-20 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 3:13-20 GW)

What's your great pursuit in life? What do you put most of your energy and interest into? Success... fame... love... pleasure... honor... respect... fulfillment... peace... contentment...?

Short-sighted pursuits are easily short-changed, even leaving a person empty. Taking the longer view may lead to discouragement and impatience along the way.

When the focus of our pursuit has an enduring and essential value, benefits come with the pursuit. This is the benefit and promise of pursuing godly wisdom.

Countless people who've attained lofty goals and pursuits experience an emptiness that seems unfillable. This is the honest admission of many athletes, entertainers, and successful business people.

Why? Their goals and accomplishments—no matter how significant—were neither enduring nor essential to life.

The value of godly wisdom exceeds any treasure or riches someone can possess and outstrips any desire known on earth. And yet, fulfillment and a measure of wealth, even contentment, are benefits promised along the path of a life that pursues godly wisdom.

The wisdom of God is a tree of life that grows and spreads its branches as its roots deepen in a person's heart and mind. It grounds a person in the very foundation and origin of all creation.

This wisdom enables a person to endure and weather the storms of life while drawing life and nourishment from the sun and earth of God's goodness. It's a worthy life pursuit.


Is your life grounded in godly wisdom or are you pursuing other things? Those who pursue, take hold of and cling to the wisdom of God will reap great benefits and fulfillment in life.

Prayer Focus—

Be willing to lay your goals, desires, and hopes in God's hands. Ask for and trust Him to guide you each day by His wisdom planted in your heart and mind.


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