“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 4:23, NIV
A wellspring is the place where something important comes from. It is the source of a stream and then a river. It’s where things begin. And our Scripture for today tells us that it is the centre of our being, the wellspring of life.
The heart, not our physical blood-pump, but the very core of our being, is, therefore, absolutely central to who we are as a person. It’s where our thoughts, feelings and emotions come together and express themselves and influence the will choices that we make. It is, therefore, of critical importance. No wonder we are told here to guard our heart. For if we don’t we will be vulnerable to influences from every possible direction and to the temptations which the enemy may put before us.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that it is the thoughts and the attitudes of our heart that are judged by the living and active Word of God, described here as being sharper than any double-edged sword. It’s as if the Word of God becomes the straight edge, or plumb line, against which the choices we make are measured. For when the motives of our heart are out of tune with God, we are in danger of heading for trouble.
Paul warns us to be very careful what we think about. He encourages us “to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). For the ungodly things we dwell on in our minds penetrate the defences of our heart and we can then become vulnerable to putting those thoughts into action – and so a cycle of ungodly thinking motivates the heart and leads us into ungodly actions.
These actions then, in turn, store up ungodly memories for the mind to dwell on, thus feeding a cycle which can dominate and control and become the root of addictions and addictive behaviour. This is serious stuff!
How precious it is when a child comes to faith in Jesus when they are young, before their mind and their heart have been challenged by the degrading standards that are prevalent in the moral behaviour of the adult world. The sooner their heart is turned towards the Lord, the easier it will be as they grow and mature to maintain a pure heart at the centre of their lives.
Under the deceptive guise of making sure that a child’s human right to choose for themselves, when an adult, are protected, society is trying to remove every Christian influence that there is in our educational systems and undermine the influence of Sunday Schools which, sadly, are very much in the decline. Christian foster parents, even, are being told not to share their beliefs with the children in their care.
But all of this is simply a strategy of the enemy to try and stop children discovering the truth about Jesus before their hearts would be affected by the pressures of the world. Samuel and Jeremiah are just two of the Bible’s key players who recognised how precious it was that they were called when they were young.
Christian parents and grandparents have an enormous privilege and responsibility to gently lead the children in the family to faith in Jesus when they are young. How I thank God that at the age of nine I knelt at my bedside with my father and invited Jesus into my heart. I have never forgotten that most important moment in the whole of my life.
Satan would want our heart to be polluted by ungodly desires. But Paul in his letter to the Philippians urged believers to counter the enemy’s inroads by thinking on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8). By so doing, Paul was giving very practical advice on how to guard our hearts as we are urged to do by today’s Scripture.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that with You as the Lord of my life, I can keep my heart pure. Help me to resist the temptations of the enemy and guard my heart, so that Satan is not able to blow my life off course and rob me of my destiny in God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.