Keep Your Heart

March 22, 2021

Keep Your Heart

By Russell George

Just as good housewives are diligent about housekeeping, all Christians need to be diligent about heart keeping. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” It means we need to keep it clean. A clean heart is a tremendous asset to any life. It gives peace of mind, knowing that we aren’t going about doing things we know we ought not to do.

In the spiritual realm, there is a close relationship between the heart and the mind. Mark 12:30 says,And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” The heart is sometimes called “the seat of the affections, but where is it? There is no reason to think that it refers to our physical heart. Proverbs 23:7 gives us further reason to say that there is a close relationship between the heart and the mind. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” We think with our mind. Possibly we could say that the heart has to do with our affections and the mind has to do with the intellect. The mind enables us to think and do things rationally. We give thought to what we do. The heart motivates us to want to serve and please God.

We need to keep our heart because the issues of life proceed from it. With our heart we decide what we should and shouldn’t do. We decide what should have priority. If our heart is corrupt, we will let corruption be a part of our life. Matthew 15:18-20 mentions some of the evil things that can proceed out of our heart. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” That’s another reason why we need to clean our heart and keep it clean.

Jeremiah’s admonition should help us understand why we need to keep our heart with all diligence. He says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” He says that the heart is deceitful. That means that we may think our heart is clean when it isn’t.

Before we can keep our heart clean, we need to be sure that it is clean. Psalm 139:23-24 gives us a prayer of David. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We too need to pray this prayer and let God speak to our hearts. Often we are doing things without realizing that they aren’t pleasing to God. They may not be outward sins that those around us can see. It is easy to sin in our thought life. We can let our minds dwell on things that we know we shouldn’t do.

These are called phantasms. We know that it’s something we shouldn’t do in real life, but just thinking about it is pleasing to us. You live the experience of it in your mind even though you don’t do it in real life. Letting ourselves think these thoughts weakens our resistance. If we are ever faced with the temptation to do it in real life it will be hard to resist. We couldn’t honestly say, “I wouldn’t even think about doing such a thing.” You have already been thinking about it.

We can’t expect to enjoy the full measure of joy that the Christian life offers us if we don’t keep our heart clean. Don’t neglect your heart. As we have seen, there are evils that can come out of our heart. We need to keep the law of God in our heart, as it says in Psalm 40:8. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” The first part of that verse says that if the law of God is in our heart we will delight to do the will of God. We will never go wrong if we do the will of God.

Christians have a great advantage in that they can call upon God to help them keep their heart. The prayer of David, that we have included in this article, is a good example. We also have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. If we are surrendered to him, he will convict us if we have thoughts and things in our heart that ought not to be there. Romans 8:26-27 tells us how the Spirit guards our hearts. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

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