“Guard your heart with all diligence; for out from it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Guard: (Heb. Natsar): Protect, maintain, keep, preserve, watch, observe
Issues: (Heb. Towtsa’ah): Goings forth, outgoings, boundaries
To get to the heart of the matter, our hearts are the pivotal points in our actions, discourses, courses or paths we take; decisions we make, and commitments we keep. Therefore, guarding our hearts could not be of any more importance in maintaining our equilibrium in the outgoings, or outflow of life.
How is it with your heart, the seat of your affections, affinities, desires, and intentions? Is your heart steadfast, firm, rooted and grounded in the Word of God and in the Holy Spirit? To stay in that holy place in the Lord requires constant vigilance, and protections from the onslaughts of life and wiles of the devil.
The heart needs constant maintenance to protect it from the wear and tear of daily living. The heart needs refreshing, restoration, renewal and revival. The constant bombardment of events and activities surrounding us can break our hearts, grieve us, crush us and stop us from advancing in our journey in our life in the Spirit. The heart needs protection and a guard to preserve and keep it in the times of trouble.
The heart needs daily cleansing and washing in the Water of the Word. The Psalmist cried: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). Cleansing and renewal come by daily attentiveness to the will of the Lord and taking heed to His Word (cf. Psalms 119:9). The Lord is a Sword and Shield to the saints in our distress (cf. Deuteronomy 33:29). It is only by putting our complete trust in Him that our hearts are protected and kept in safety.
Issues: The goings forth, the outgoings from our hearts will tell the world the condition of the heart. Jesus said, “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). The “abundance of the heart” the “good treasure” or “evil treasure” is brought forth through the mouth by speaking words of love, joy, comfort, peace, or words of hate, abuse, fear and torment. Oh, how we need to guard our hearts, lest we cause offense, strife and confusion and every evil thing.
Diligently seek the Lord. Fervently pray at all times. Be vigilant, watchful, awake and discerning. Live out of your spirit and listen intently to the voice of the Lord. Be on guard for evildoers, and walk circumspectly for the days are evil (cf. Ephesians 5;15).
Yes, we have come to the heart of the matter, and the heart of the matter is we have to be on our guard. We have to set a watchman over our hearts to preserve, protect and defend it all the days of our sojourn in the land of the living that the Lord our God has given to us to enjoy in our life-long service to Him.