Proverbs 4

Perhaps my favorite verse comes to us in Proverbs 4.  Verse 23 reads, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  I’m not a fan of cryptic messages and riddles.  If you need help with a crossword puzzle, or you’re heading up a group activity to a breakout room, count me out!  I won’t be of much help.  I’m more of a fan of the straightforward messages – say what you mean and let’s get on with it.  While not all the verses of Proverbs are easy to understand, this one is crystal clear.  Your heart has to be guarded above all else!

We all know that if your physical heart is compromised, you are in serious trouble.  Now please don’t do this this, but if you’re ever at the end of a long line in a doctor’s office all you need do is complain of chest pains. I guarantee the doctor will see you immediately (though he’ll probably be angry when he realizes you were faking).  Why?  Because if you’re having a heart attack, nothing else matters!  The muscle that is our physical heart is the most important one in the entire body.  If it’s not cared for, bad news is on the horizon.

The spiritual heart is even more important than our physical hearts.  What is the spiritual heart?  A look at the original Hebrew from the text will help give insight.  Translated as “leb” in Hebrew it refers to the inner person, mind, and personal will.  It appears innumerable times throughout the scriptures, predominately in Proverbs and Psalms.  As an aside, underline each time the word “heart” is mentioned in reading Proverbs this month.  At the end you will see nearly every page with a highlight!  In each instance, God is asking who controls our spiritual hearts.  When God controls our hearts, all is well even if the world is going crazy.  However, if God is not in control of our hearts, we are in trouble.  Just like a physical heart attack, nothing else matters if our spiritual hearts are sick for nothing else will work!

Imagine trying to worship God with a spiritual heart where God doesn’t rule.   How could we praise, give, forgive, or love like he asks us to do?  We couldn’t…at least not in the full measure God intends.  For that reason, we must protect God’s place as first priority in our hearts above all else and constantly check the health of our spiritual hearts.  In that light, I have three “heart check” questions that I want you to answer as we conclude.  They will help you in discerning if God is ruling your spiritual heart.

  1. What’s the first thing you allow into your heart when you wake up in the morning? Is it God by prayer, scripture reading, or meditation or something else?
  2. What’s the first check you write after you are paid? Is it to God’s church?  If not, where does it go and why?
  3. Who do you run to first when you are angry, sad, or upset? Is it to God?  If not, who is it and why?

Here’s to keeping our spiritual hearts healthy in 2021 by keeping God first!