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Grace Notes Ministry:
Guard Your Heart
We were all shocked to hear about the tragic death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. We were stunned, not that he died, for he faced tremendous dangers on a daily basis…we were, rather, surprised by the way that he died. About the only way that a Stingray could kill you is to stab you directly in the heart with his barbed spine. Who would have thought that the great Crocodile Hunter would go in this fashion? If ever we expected him to have a great injury we would think it would be his leg, his hand, or maybe his head…but no, it was his heart!
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The word “issues” is defined in Strong’s Concordance as - “boundaries” - “sources” - “outgoings”; We could term it as “Central Focus”. We use the phrase “the heart of the matter”, meaning the same.
Irwin was keenly in tune with nature, and knew his boundaries. He was very ‘centered’ and ‘focused.’
The word heart has reference to the center of an object. In the Hebrew it means the “kernel of the nut”. It has to do with one’s feelings, the will, and even the intellect. It is that object that does the decision making for the individual.
Today most of the health education is focused on keeping the heart healthy. Tomorrow my wife and I will have cholesterol checks. Why? More people die from a heart attack than any other killer. The same is true spiritually.
God always begins with the heart, then works outward. The heart comes first. This speaks of the inner life.
“Keep” is a personal responsibility. God would not give us an assignment that we cannot keep, or accomplish. All excuses are removed.
“Keep thy heart”--This is not optional. This is not speaking about a certain conviction. This is a direct command from God. Therefore, our action is to begin immediately “to keep thy heart”.
The heart is to be guarded at all cost. In armed warfare the vital part of the body is always protected. In our Christian realm that is always the heart. The reason we have so many casualties spiritually is because the heart is ignored.
David writes about a “fixed heart”. (Psa 112:7) "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD."
Notice also the term, “with all diligence.” The heart should receive the greatest effort. We protect our homes with security alarms, and dead bolts locks. We have security lights. Some have a weapon on guard, yet we ignore our heart. Too many Christians try to live their Christian life with no effort. The instructions “with all diligence” tell us it is a constant warfare and will require much spiritual energy.
If an athlete ignores his training and discipline and partakes in the wrong social life and diet, he will not be a very good athlete. If he lets his body follow the desires of the flesh, his athletic days are over.
The success of your Christian life depends upon following the principles that God has given us, and He gives those principles in Vs. 24-27.
I. KEEP YOUR MOUTH RIGHT Vs. 24.
I’ll never forget the look on the Crock Hunter’s face one time when he was unexpectedly bitten by a small, non poisonous snake he was holding. He was explaining that the creature would only strike if it perceived movement…and so, he held very still. That is, except for his lips, which moved as he explained himself…and then the little thing quickly bit him right on the mouth!
(Prov 4:24) "Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee."
Froward has to do with that which is bad. It speaks of uncontrollable, perverted, dirty, or foul language.
A. Your Mouth Will Have A Bearing On Your Heart.
Evil speech is a sure indicator of an evil heart. 1 Cor 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
People can somewhat control their speech when they want to, when it is in their best interest to do so. A foul-mouthed man will control his language in the presence of a boss who will not allow foul talk. But James says “the tongue can no man tame.” Only God can totally fix this problem, and He does it by changing out heart!
Prov 6:2 "Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth."
Prov 6:12 "A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth."
There is a connection between our tongues and our hearts.
B. You Will Become Like What You Talk About.
(Mat 12:34-36) "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
C. Your Mouth Will Do More Damage To Your Heart Than Anything Else.
Therefore in keeping your heart like it should be means you must also keep your mouth right. A wrong mouth and a right heart will not occupy the same body.
D. Don’t Allow Your Mouth To Overload Your Heart.
I know of situations where a person had talked so much until they had to do what their mouth said to keep face with their peers. That’s not keeping your mouth right.
E. The Tongue Is Uncontrollable.
(James 3:8) "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
The greatest problem most churches have is loose talk. Loose talk damages innocent people.
Rom 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
II. KEEP YOUR EYES RIGHT Vs 25.
If you watched the Crock Hunter as much as we did you will notice that he always kept his eyes on the animal, not on the camera. It wasn’t rude for him not to look our direction…if he did not, he would have died long ago. He came to know instinctively about what an animal was thinking by watching it. He admitted that he was somewhat out of his element in the water, and certainly vision is not as clear under such conditions.
(Prov 4:25) "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee."
What your eyes see will affect your heart.
Keep your eyes straight ahead.
A great bit of the temptation you face is brought on through your eyes. If the eyes are controlled you will eliminate one-third of the temptation. (1 John 2:16) "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
(Psa 81:12) "So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels."
Where does “heart lust” come from? It has to come from the eyes. What the eyes see the heart will want. Thus, the importance of keeping the eyes right. When you allow your eyes to run freely without any control you will have a “heart attack.”
“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.”
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.”
The eyes are the most influential part of the body. Most of your memory if formed by the eyes. You can remember more than 80% of what you see and only about 11% of what you hear.
Satan’s strategy in the garden of Eden was to persuade Eve to look. He succeeded in getting her to fix her gaze on the forbidden fruit. How desirable it appeared! The longer she looked, the more her desire grew. The longer she looked, the more difficult it was to tear her eyes away. Soon she lost all sense of proportion. She forgot about her husband, all about God’s warning of sure and certain judgment. The tree and its fruit was all she could see. At last the look became a lust.
Gen 3:6 "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
III. KEEP YOUR FEET RIGHT Vs. 26-27
Most stingray injuries come when they are stepped on. They love to bury themselves beneath a thin layer of sand. Experts say that if you ‘shuffle’ your feet [drag them] the ray will just swim away as you approach them.
(Prov 4:26) "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established."
A. A Planned Walk. (“Ponder the path...”)
Where your feet trod will cause a heart response. Don’t just turn your feet loose to go anywhere they want to go.
“Ponder” means to “weigh mentally”; “Choose well”. Don’t make rash decisions. Use wisdom in choosing your path of life.
I’ve made some decisions in life that I wish I had pondered first.
Before you buy a home, buy a car, plunge yourself into debt for 5 to 30 years, ponder it over first. Seek advice. Then follow advice. I find most people only come to me after they have already made up their mind about a certain thing. They don’t really want the preacher’s advice, but his approval.
B. A Protected Walk. (“Remove thy foot from evil.”)
Be careful whom you walk with. Amos 3:3 "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
Remember with me the steps of Abraham and Lot. On that eventful day when Abraham suggested to Lot that they part company because of the squabbling of their herdsmen over available pasture, both men made a choice. Gen. 13 records their decisions: (“Lot pitched his tent”) Gen 13:12. (“Abraham removed his tent”.) Gen. 13:18. There in a nutshell is the difference between Abraham and Lot.
Lot’s feet took him into the city of sin and shame. Abraham’s feet took him far away. He couldn’t wait to put distance between himself and the filthy cities of the plains.
IV. KEEP YOUR EARS RIGHT 5:1-2.
There’s no hearing under water. If Steve Irwin’s companions were trying to warn him that he was getting too close, they could not.
Ill--In our pool this summer my son would try to yell things to me while we were submerged…but a ‘mouthful’ is about all that came to pass for him [of water!]
It’s only wise to make sure ‘you got your ears on!’
Prov 5:1-2 "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge."
On the other hand, the ears hear things at times that they should not hear. They may hear correctly what was said, but there are times when we must put earplugs in our ears and go on and serve God.
You must “keep your heart with all diligence”. If you do not keep the heart protected you face serious spiritual injury. The barbs of this world will pierce through and through, and there may be no reviving you!
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