I've been doing more intentional reading this year than ever before. Two of the books I've read this year so far have been centered around stories that come from the battle field (Unbroken & You, The Warrior Leader). From these two books there are numerous examples of integrity, grit, commitment, self will, focus, leadership, friendship, team work, and so much more!
Recently, in my reading, I came to Proverbs 4:23 "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Just as on the battlefield soldiers are living in the threat of constant attack, King Soloman reminds us that our heart is under a similar attack...constantly. Your enemy (Satan) wants to defeat you, to destroy you, and to distract you. "Keep" your heart. This is an intentional action on our part. No other person will keep your heart in the same manner as you. From the wise words of Soloman, the reason we are to keep our heart with ALL vigilance is because from our heart flows LIFE (The way I follow God, how I treat my spouse, how I respond to my parents, the way I do my work).
I am going wilderness camping in a couple days with 16 other guys. There are a couple of places on our route where we will have to cross streams. These streams start from springs. We will drink water from these springs. These springs will provide life to us (water) they provide life to all of the nearby vegetation as well. What would happen if a person chose to contaminate any of these little streams that we will be crossing? The contamination doesn't stay does it? It starts flowing down stream contaminating as it flows. Then other people that come in contact with the stream see how it has been polluted, so they may be more likely to pollute the stream as well. You see the cycle starting don't you?
Our lives are similar. When we fail to guard our hearts the potential for contaminates are inserted and it affects our entire life..."for from it flow the springs of life." When we don't keep our heart from jealousy, anger, & lust, our life becomes contaminated...flowing through all areas of my life, affecting the way I interact with family, strangers, & people I see every day. Others then see how contaminated I have allowed my life to become, so they intern become eager to insert their contaminates into my life as well.
Is your heart being guarded? Are you vigilant, guarding what you allow inside? Consider the more complete statement of encouragement that Solomon gives in Proverbs 4:20-27 -
"My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. for they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the sprigs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil."
KEEP YOUR HEART WITH ALL VIGILANCE! FOR YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK!
Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Student Pastor, and Lover of all things Garlic and Bacon.