The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Heart
Where Life Makes Up Its Mind
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
The term heart in the Bible generally refers to the innermost part of life. It is the decision-making center, the source of motives, the seat of the passions, and the center of the conscience. It is truly the place “where life makes up its mind.”
Proverbs has a great deal to say about the heart. It is the source of wisdom (2:10) and understanding (8:5, KJV), the origin of both deceit (6:14) and joy (15:30). The heart may backslide (14:14, KJV) or trust in God (3:5). It may be cheerful (15:13), prideful (16:5), bitter (14:10), haughty (18:12), or prudent (18:15, KJV). The heart may lust after an adulterous woman (6:25), rage against the Lord (19:3), and eventually be hardened against God altogether (28:14). The Lord tests the heart (17:3) because He knows what is in it (24:12), which is why the heart must be guarded all the time (4:23).
Jesus almost certainly had this verse in mind when He spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34b: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” This verse cuts both ways. Whatever is on the inside will eventually come out-whether good or bad (v. 35). If a person’s heart is dirty, he cannot produce purity in his life. Likewise, if the heart is stayed on the Lord, it will be seen on the outside eventually. The King James Version of Proverbs 23:7 reads, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
- If you think angry thoughts, angry words are sure to follow.
- If you fill your mind with sexual fantasies, your body will find a way to fulfill those desires.
- If you dwell on your problems, they will soon overwhelm you.
- If you feel like a victim, soon you will become one.
- If you give way to worry, don’t be surprised when you get ulcers.
- If you focus on how others misunderstand you, you will soon become angry and bitter.
What goes in must come out. Sooner or later your thoughts translate into reality. You’re not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.
The flip side is also true.
- If you focus on the truth, you will speak the truth.
- If you look on noble things, nobility will mark your life.
- If you seek out lovely things, your life will be lovely to others.
- If you dwell on the right, the wrong will seem less attractive to you.
- If you look for virtue, you will find it.
- If you search for higher things, you will elevate your own life.
Recently a friend sent me this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. It seems a fitting way to apply the words of Proverbs 4:23.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What words would you use to describe the state of your heart right now?
What has your heart been dwelling on recently? What has that produced in your own life?
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