Keeping Our Hearts (2)
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Proverbs 4:23-27: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
I fear we sometimes fall into a trap. We know that the work of salvation from its beginning to its end is all God’s work. He does not need our help, cooperation or permission to deliver us from our sins. This does not mean, however, that there is absolutely nothing for us to do. Being saved from sin does not mean that we now sit back and put no effort into faithful, obedient living. As citizens of God’s city, we cannot say, “The protecting of this city is God’s work,” then just sit on an easy chair on the top of the wall and watch the enemy march up to the gates.
Philippians 2:13 says that it is God that works in us. Here is the end of verse 12, where we are told to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, yet we are told to work it out. Jude 24 comforts us that it is God who is able to keep us from falling. Still, in verse 21 we are told to “Keep yourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” There is work which we must be busy doing, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved.
When we keep our hearts with all diligence, our godly living will be evident from our mouths, eyes and feet.
Proverbs 4:24 declares, “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” What is in our hearts becomes evident by what comes out of our mouths. We will not have a froward mouth. Froward is an old fashioned word that we don’t use any more. It means disobedient. A froward mouth will not submit to God’s law. Such a mouth shows no concern for the purity of God’s law. God will not tell us what to say.
That was Jeroboam. He knew where the people of Israel were supposed to go to worship God. In those days, there was no other place to worship God than in Jerusalem. Jeroboam knew what he was supposed to say to the people. Because of what was in his heart, he set up idols for the people to worship. He wanted to remain on the throne so he lied and said that the golden calves were the gods that had brought Israel out of the land of Egypt. Jeroboam disobeyed God and made Israel to disobey Him also.
Today, if evil speech gives me pleasure, that is what I will do. If I can think of some mean thing to say about someone, I will say it. If this mean thing makes others laugh at somebody else, so much the better. If I can show by the words I use that someone is not welcome because I am too cool for them, that’s what I will do.
In Proverbs 4:25 we are told, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” Jesus tells us that the eyes are the light of the body. The things that we see can lead us into sin. Jeroboam saw the throne of Israel and that is what he wanted, even if he had to disobey God to have it.
Our eyes can tempt us too. We might be tempted to cheat on our work by “borrowing” some information from a neighbour’s paper. We might want to be seen by others as being special. It is not very often that we try to impress our friends by our godly living. Too often, even in a Christian school, the way to impress others is in the way of disobedience. Watch me! I am pretty bold! Let’s see if the teachers can make me obey! If they try, there are always things I can do and say when their backs are turned to show that whatever obedience I render, is only an external show. I will take my opportunities to show how brazen I can be.
Our eyes are to look ahead. In front of us is God’s law. To the sides of the path are temptations of every sort. Our eyes must be fixed on the one goal of walking the path which leads to heaven.
Finally, as far as our feet are concerned, we are told in Proverbs 4:26-27, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
We are told to think about the way we are living our lives. There are many snares and traps Satan sets for us. He seeks to trip us and make us fall into sin. Are our lives not quite what they should be? Are some sins beginning to become habits for us? Then we are beginning to turn off the path God has marked out for us by His perfect law. Our feet are beginning to walk in evil.
Jeroboam and Israel began to walk the path of idol worship. The longer they continued to stray, the farther from the right path they went. It became impossible for Israel to put away her idol worship. Their sins became worse. Not many years later, Israel would be ruled by Ahab and Jezebel, and we know what they were like. Finally, the only remedy for Israel was the terrible way of utter defeat and captivity.
We must pay attention to how we walk in life. Are we beginning to walk in sin? Then repent! Repent quickly by God’s grace!
Obey Solomon’s godly advice. “Keep they heart with all diligence.” God has already defeated the enemy for us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By His grace we can talk, look and walk as those who are thankful to be delivered from their sins.