I was reading the Bible this morning and got to Proverbs.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23
It’s always great when reading the Bible and you get to a part that really speaks to you. It’s more amazing when you can do that with a single sentence. This verse immediately reminded me of Jesus.
At this point in Matthew 15, the Pharisees were attempting to challenge Jesus, as they were wont to do, by asking Him why His disciples break the tradition of the elders.
Jesus respond by asking why the Pharisees break commandments for the sake of tradition, giving specific examples. Jesus then calls a crowd and says:
Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.Matthew 15:10-11
So what does this mean? This means that what say exposes who you are. It’s very profound.
I like to put it this way: What you say and do expose the real you.
Jesus clarifies this point when explaining it to the apostles and disciples.
Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and the out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a personMatthew 15:17-20
What you say and do expose the real you.
The rest of Proverbs 4 tells us how we can protect our hearts. Listen to instruction. That is, remain in the Word.
Also, avoid evil. Avoid it at all costs. Sounds a little too simplistic, but perhaps it’s not always the choices in our life that are difficult but the gravity we give to them that complicate our lives.
Proverbs 4:24-27 gives some specific examples, but mainly the advice is to abstain from choices you know are wrong. If you have a friend, for example, that you know isn’t the best influence then avoid that person.
If you have a vice that you already know about, like alcohol, give it up. You don’t need it. Life is hard enough, don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by choices you already know are wrong or that will lead to other bad choices.
As it is you’ve probably already identified some of the things that need changing or eliminating in your life while reading this. Maybe I listed something that applies to you. Maybe I didn’t but you are struggling with something. Let it go and give it to God. Sounds easier said than done, right?
Absolutely. But cry out to God. He hears you. He knows you. Make Him your priority.
And make your choices by the eternal, not the temporal. You’re going to make mistakes, but the mark of a true believer is that you recognize sin and understand your need for a savior, Jesus. You’re not perfect. You’re not going to be perfect until we see God and He glorifies us, that part of salvation called glorification (1 Corinthians 15).
While we aren’t perfect, perfection is the goal. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
Christ died for you so that you may live for Him, and He demonstrated His power at the Resurrection. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.