Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

  • We have a heart because we are made after God’s own image.
      • Acts 13:22 after removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
      • Jeremiah. 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.
  • We like to think of the heart as good. But left alone without help from God, it is not!
      • Jeremiah. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
      • Mark 17:21-23 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
  • He knows the heart
      • Psalm 44:21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
      • 1 Corinthians 14:25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
      • John 2:24-25 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
      • Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart
        and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct,
        according to what their deeds deserve.”
  • Definition of guard: watch over in order to protect or control.
    • For example to prevent an attack.
      • The out and out assaults
      • The sneaky ambushes.
      • Like falling off a cliff.
      • Or getting lost.
        • Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
        • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
          and lean not on your own understanding;
        • Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
          and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
        • Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
        • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
        • Psalm 26:2 Test me, Lord, and try me,
          examine my heart and my mind;
        • Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
          for they will see God.
        • Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
          Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
  • But there is hope!
    • Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
    • Psalms 51:10 Create in me a pure heart,O God,
      and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    • Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
    • Isaiah 57:15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—
      he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
      “I live in a high and holy place,
      but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
      to revive the spirit of the lowly
      and to revive the heart of the contrite.
  • Let’s compare our spiritual heart with our physical heart and see the things that are bad for our heart and ways to protect it. If we are not willing to examine our hearts, really examine it, then we are in a world of trouble spiritually! (A lot of the following I got from www.gotanswers.com.)
    • Hardening of the Arteries. Definition of Arteries: any of the muscular-walled tubes forming part of the circulation system by which blood (mainly that which has been oxygenated) is conveyed from the heart to all parts of the body.
      • From the heart to the body.
        • Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
      • What hardens our spiritual heart and what is the prevention?
        • In the body things that cause hardening of the artery is fat deposits. So what is the comparison to fat? Pride, self indulgence, wanting what I want when I want it. I can have my fat and eat it too! We cause this ourselves. Like walking right off a cliff, or going astray.
        • We will call it; Rebellion: Non-obedience is the cause. Definition: the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.
          • Resisting God! Anyone ever do that? Let’s be honest. Do you have things in your life that you know God wants you to stop doing. Or things you know He wants you to start? And you just keep resisting? That is disobedience. Rebellion!
            • Keep that up and your heart will harden.
          • Psalms 95:8-9 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
        • Obedience is the prevention. Being submissive to God.
        • Maybe pray asking God to show you and help not have a hardened heart. Search me O’ God!
          • But then you have to listen for the answers.
          • Look at yourself on the inside…. See what God shows you.
    • Heart attacks. Myocardial Infarctions: is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is abruptly cut off, causing tissue damage. This is usually the result of a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries.

      • Temptation: Abruptly giving into the temptation.
      • James 1:14-16 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
      • Sin starts in the mind. If we stop it there our heart will not be affected.
        • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
    • Abnormal enlargement of the heart: Cardiomegaly is a medical condition in which the heart is enlarged. … Many times this condition results from high blood pressure (hypertension) or coronary artery disease. An enlarged heart may not pump blood effectively, resulting in congestive heart failure.
      • Let’s call high blood pressure Pride! One increase in blood pressure does very little damage to the heart. More and more and more equals more and more damage.
      • Causes of high blood pressure of the spiritual heart?
        • Anger. Getting angry once in awhile will not damage your heart.
        • But angry living will.
          • James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
          • Proverbs 29:11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
            but the wise bring calm in the end.
          • Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
          • Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
          • Matthew 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
          • Psalms 37:8-9 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
            9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
            but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
    • Heart murmurs: are sounds during your heartbeat cycle — such as whooshing or swishing — made by turbulent blood in or near your heart.
      • Not the normal sounds from the heart. Not the sounds God meant for the heart to sound like!
        • Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
        • 1 Corinthians 10:10 And do not grumble, as some of them didand were killed by the destroying angel.
        • Numbers 14:2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!
        • Exodus 16:8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
  • Ways to guard our hearts:
    • Keep your eyes on Jesus and run your race! (My life verses! I love this one. We have a mission, run our race, focus on Jesus and don’t give up!)
      • Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow wear and lose heart.
    • Ask God to check your heart!
      • Psalms 51:10 Create in me a pure heart,O God,
        and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    • Check your own self!
      • Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
      • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?
      • Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.
    • Avoid evil!
      • Romans 16:17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
      • Proverbs 4:14-15 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
        or walk in the way of evildoers.  Avoid it, do not travel on it;
        turn from it and go on your way.
      • 2 Timothy 2:16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
      • 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
      • 1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
    • Practice Good
      • Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
      • 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
      • Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
      • Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
      • Matthew 22:36-39 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
      • 1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
    • Cast your cares!
        • Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
        • 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  • Guarding your heart is work. It takes an act of the will, time, effort, humbleness and staying focused from now until we are made perfect.
  • Are you willing to guard your heart above all else?
  • Remember what it said …. Guarding your heart DETERMINES the course of your life! That is heavy stuff.