at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Heart Check: Above All Else

For my 31st birthday, I decided to write down 31 of my favorite proverbs, or wise sayings from the Bible that I had been studying.  This year, I am hoping to take a deeper dive into each of them and share some thoughts on them with you here.

The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of instructions for living and wisdom for daily life. But one instruction stands above all else: guard your heart. The heart is our deepest self, our true self that we are commissioned to keep safe. Everything we do flows from our hearts. It's the essence of who we are. So how do we guard that and keep it safe?

I like how Matthew Henry lists out some specific examples:
"...keep our hearts from doing hurt and getting hurt, from being defiled by sin and disturbed by trouble; keep them as our jewel, as our vineyard; keep a conscience void of offence; keep out bad thoughts; keep up good thoughts; keep the affections upon right objects and in due bounds."
We often hear people talk about "guarding your heart" against being hurt in regards to love and romance, and rightfully so. But hurts can come from other places, too.  It is typically the people who are closest to us who can hurt us the most emotionally, and vice versa. Other people may hurt us, but keeping that hurt is a choice. To store up hurt in one's heart is a poison that festers into bitterness or resentment. On the flip side, careless words and actions can hurt the hearts of those around us, and we need to watch that, too. In fact, the very next verse addresses our speech:
“Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” --Proverbs 4:24
Sin in general is a poison that can take root in the heart -- hardening it, desensitizing it.  If left unchecked, sin can weave its way into your entire outlook on life and change you at your core. The very nature of sin is to twist things from the way they were meant to be -- and it can keep you from being who you were meant to be.

Thought patterns affect the heart, too. Hearts may be troubled, worried or anxious. Fixating on negative thoughts makes the heart heavy. Focusing on the positive and trusting in God's truth makes the heart light.

The heart should be full of love and affection, again with a focus on the right things and within proper bounds -- that we may truly love others the way God loves them.

I thought it would be good to do a "heart check" in light of this verse.  How do you determine if your heart is in good shape spiritually?  If the heart is the wellspring of life and everything we do flows from it, I think that means you have to take a hard look at your words and your actions.
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." --Luke 6:45
Our actions reveal our hearts and who we really are at our core. Sometimes that's a scary thought, when I realize that my own actions do not align with who I want to be or even who I think I am. Looking at my own words and actions compared to the list of ways to keep one's heart, I've definitely identified a few areas to work on to keep my heart better guarded and protected. How about you?  Is this something that's on your radar?  Do you have a way you do a regular "heart check" or check your "spiritual pulse"? 

Your heart (who YOU are) is a precious treasure. Keep it pure. Keep it secure. Above all else.

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!