What motivates you? What seems to move you through life?
Are you concerned about your appearance or status? How important are the opinions of others, or their agreement with what you choose to do or not do?
Do you find it hard to navigate various distractions and allurements in life? If so, maybe it's time to recalibrate your internal compass.
My son, pay attention to my words. Open your ears to what I say.
Do not lose sight of these things. Keep them deep within your heart because they are life to those who find them and they heal the whole body. Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.
Remove dishonesty from your mouth. Put deceptive speech far away from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead and your sight be focused in front of you. Carefully walk a straight path, and all your ways will be secure. Do not lean to the right or to the left. Walk away from evil.
(Proverbs 4:20-27 GW) [Context– Proverbs Chapter 4]
Guard your heart more than anything else
- What is the fatherly advice given in these verses? How is it both similar and different to the advice in the verses before this?
- What is the most important thing to guard above all else? Why does it say this is so important? In what way does the source of our life flow from our heart?
- What are the simple and practical directives given in the last few verses? What are the three general areas involved?
- Looking at all these verses— What are the encouraging assurances given to a person who follows this fatherly advice?
Make it personal...
When you hear the truth and seek to gain wisdom, do you think and mediate on them?
Can you discern the difference between what goes on in your mind, and what is settled in your heart (soul)?
What are the areas you struggle with the most? What you say? Where you wander (mentally or physically)? Or, what you gaze upon?
Some things in life can be controlled...for a while. Most any effort we make to control our behavior will fall short at some point, unless we have a reliable internal compass. But where can we get such a compass, and how can it be developed?
When the truth and wisdom of God are internalized, they becomes the basis for us to have a reliable internal compass. The truth and wisdom of God need to be embedded in our inner nature. When this takes place, our day-to-day responsibility is to guard ourself from disruption or corruption of this internal source of guidance.