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Guard Your Heart

As we know, Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Despite the many miracles that they had witnessed from the Lord Almighty, this still grumbled and complained. In all our years, I’m sure we have all had moments of grumbling and complaining. What could the Israelites have done to avoid the 40 year journey? What can we do to ensure our eternity with God? It’s revealed to us in Proverbs 4:23, NKJV.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

How true and important this verse is to us. Yet many of us do not realize that this verse is something that a Christian will have to do the rest of their lives. So how do we guard thy heart? There are 6 things I am learning from an Author by the name of John Flavel. John Flavel lived from 1627-1691 and was an English Puritan Presbyterian minister. He wrote the book “Keeping the Heart.” These 6 duties of the Christian can be found on pages 8 and 9 of this book.

1. Frequent observation of the frame of the heart

2. Deep humiliation for heart

3. Earnest supplication and instant prayer for purifying and rectifying grace when sin has defiled and disordered the heart

4. Strong engagements upon ourselves to walk more carefully with God

5. Constant and holy jealousy over our own hearts

6. Realizing of God’s presence with us, and setting the Lord always before us

Lets start with number one. We must look inward at our own hearts and determine the state of our heart. What form is it in? Does it cause grumbling and complaining? Is there bitterness and anger tied to it? Whatever it may be, identify it and bring it before the Lord. He can do a deep work in you that nobody else can, if you allow Him. He can cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, NKJV says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Next, there must be a deep humiliation for our heart. This would be identifying where your “wound” is. I love what John Flavel says on page 8 of “Keeping the Heart.”

"It is with the heart well kept, as it is with the eye; if a small dust get into the eye it will never cease twinkling and watering till it has wept it out: so the upright heart cannot be at rest till it has wept out its troubles and poured out its complaints before the Lord."

Cry out to the Lord in humiliation. Whether you have pride in your heart or jealousy in your heart, or whatever it may be, the Lord can cleanse you of this unrighteousness. He can make beauty from ashes. He can make all things new. In Revelation 21:5, NKJV it says, ‘Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”’

Next would be earnest supplication and prayer. I will share with you my prayer.

“Lord, cleanse me of my unrighteousness. Align my heart with your heart. Help me to walk more closely to you, to love what you love and to hate what you hate. Help me to be more like you! Don’t let me be lost to the enemy!” You can pour out your heart in prayer however you feel you need to express to our Father. When you are praying, do not stop until you feel breakthrough. Breakthrough for forgiveness, breakthrough for healing…whatever you may be praying for. Pray until you feel at peace with the Father.

Next is walking more closely with our Father. There are times when we get so busy with our lives that we let the moments consume us rather than being intentional and spending time with the Lord. The one who saves, the one who provides, the one who makes a way when we feel that there is no way. My advice to you and to myself…discipline yourself…make the time…be intentional. The things of the earth are just things. The things of God are eternal. 1 John 2:16-17, NKJV says, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Our next duty as Christians is to have a constant holy jealousy over our hearts. We must recognize what stirs us. What causes us to sin? Then we have a choice to make. We can let sin enter by following our flesh, or we can stand on the word of God, which will never fail us and will never fade away.

Our final duty in guarding our hearts with all diligence is this: Realizing God’s presence with us and always setting Him before us. It is not ourselves or our desires that save us from anything or help us to excel at something, it is the Lord God who goes before us and is always with us. He will not force Himself on us. He gives us the option of free will because He wants us to choose Him. Recognize, God is for you, not against you. He loves you with an everlasting love. He draws you to Himself with loving-kindness. If we walk in the light as He does, we will never walk in darkness.

My brothers and sisters, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)

© 2022 Leslie Wittenmyer—All rights reserved

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