Pastoral Perspectives

Keep Your Heart!

“You are what you think you are!” Do you agree with this statement? Our thoughts proceed from the reality of our hearts. We are sometimes influenced by what others impose upon us. In that sense, we are not free to be who we really want to be. How often we are easily swing from one end of the pendulum to another! It is often not easy to be yourself, isn’t it? When you think about the word, “heart”, what comes to mind? The real you? The inner person? I search and find that the heart is “the centre or core of our being.” It is “where we have our will, attitude, intentions, emotions and desires. It is the source of our thoughts, actions and words and the place from which prayer and moral actions originate.”

Two questions for us to ponder: “How do you keep your heart? Why do you need to keep your heart?” I would like to share my thoughts and understanding on this Bible verse:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

How do you keep your heart? It is not easy to keep your heart pure and right, isn’t it? The key word is: “vigilance”. It means “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” We are instructed to: “keep your heart with all vigilance.” In another Bible translation, it states: “Guard your heart.” As we know that we are prone to go astray and be corrupted, we really need to keep our hearts with all vigilance. In Jeremiah 17:9 ESV, it reveals this truth about the condition of the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Knowing the vulnerability of our heart, we cannot afford to let our guard down. One way to keep your heart with all vigilance is “to actively avoid evil and those who practise it.” (See Proverbs 4:14-15). Another way is “to guard it according to God’s Word.” (See Psalm 119:9). In Colossians 3:16, we are instructed to: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

It is, therefore, essential to constantly feed our hearts with the very Word of God: reading it, reflecting upon it and responding obediently to it. Maintaining a regular devotional time helps to keep your heart. Surrounding yourself with godly and matured Christians enhance the keeping of your heart. Through godly counsels of Christians, this will help each of us to keep the heart pure and right. By cultivating a consistent prayer life also keeps the heart. In James 1:5, it directs us to the wisdom of God:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5 ESV)

We need to ask God for His wisdom to help us keep our hearts with all vigilance.

Why do you need to keep your heart? I need to keep my heart because “from it flow the springs of life.” In another Bible translation, it states: “for it (the heart) is the wellspring of life.” It is so wonderful to know that the heart is the springs (fountain) of life or the wellspring of life. We can be a great blessing to others if we really keep our hearts with all vigilance. We need to keep our hearts so that they are always pure, right and pleasing in the sight of God. To keep our hearts pure and right, we need to constantly pray to God with these words from the psalmist in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a rightspirit within me.” When we store up God’s Word in our hearts, we will not sin against God. (See Psalm 119:11). We can also teach and admonish one another with the Word of God in our hearts. God’s Word will keep us from straying away from the paths of righteousness and holiness. It will build up and strengthen our faith in Christ in our hearts.

Hence, let us make every effort to “keep your heart with all vigilance.” The blessedness of such a heart which is yielded completely to Christ Jesus the Lord is the desired reward of keeping your heart. With God’s grace and help, I am certain that we shall all have such blessedness.