The heart of the matter (Proverbs 4 v 20-27)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

Our path in life is full of dangers. The deceitfulness of sin and the influence of foolish people conspire to undo us. And so we must be on guard… “Be very carefully, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5 v 15-16).

Heart health
Read Proverbs 4:20

Solomon mentions “the heart” twice in these verses. In Hebrew thinking, much like in ours, the heart is the centre of the will and emotions. Your heart is the thing that determines your actions and desires.

• What are we supposed to keep in our hearts (v 21)?
• What are we supposed to do to our hearts (v 23)?
• What reason does Solomon give in verse 22 for doing this?

Dangers, toils and snares

Imagine walking through a bad part of town with a large wad of cash in your pocket. You would be constantly aware of any potential threats. You might keep checking to make sure it is all still there. Your treasure is valuable and vulnerable, and so you would be vigilant.

In the same way, Solomon tells us to guard the treasure of our heart. That implies, of course, that there are threats out in the world from which we must protect ourselves with all diligence. As we read through Proverbs, we are confronted by things like the allure of illicit sexual pleasure (chapters 5 – 7) and the pressures of foolish friends (1 v 10).

Read Proverbs 4:24

In order to guard our hearts, what specific things should we do…
• with our mouths (v 24)?
• with our eyes (v 25)?
• with our feet (v 26-27)? (These verses are using imagery, so really the focus is on our decisions.)

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APPLY
• How concerned are you about guarding your heart?
• Is there anything you need to stop doing, or start doing, with your mouth, eyes or decisions to help guard it?
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PRAY
Pray that God would show you ways that you have been allowing dangerous things into your heart.
Ask God to forgive you for your foolishness.
Ask Him to help you be vigilant and discerning about the things that you watch, read, and think about. Ask Him to protect you.
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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published March 22, 2012.

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