Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Prov. 4:23
What does it mean to keep your heart?
It means to guard your heart. It means to not have issue in your heart – with God or with your fellow man or brother. We have a problem with God when we sin against Him and more so when we are unable to humble ourselves and repent. It is the same with people. We are not to harbor anything in our hearts against anyone even if they have wronged us. And if something arises between me and another person which thing threatens to pollute my heart, I am to quickly let that thing go the way I would drop a hot coal from my hands.
Personally, I have come to realize that whenever I have an issue with someone (or with God), mortal fear strikes my heart. I never realized the reason for this until I read and understood this scripture. Then it was that I knew that as long as my heart is not right with God or with my fellow man, death, and not life, reigns within me. The fear that I feel is God’s way of warning me; it is God’s warning bell. He is telling me, “Step back!”
At that particular moment that I am nursing that state of heart, I am a dead man. Dead in my spirit. Were I to die physically at that particular moment, I probably would go straight to hell. I say “probably” because the grace of God is beyond my understanding in this regard. Probably God just might ask the doorkeeper to let me into heaven. But… even if I were to make it to heaven in that state of heart, I would never have the courage to lift up my eyes and look my Lord Jesus Christ in the face. How could I, one who had failed to guard my heart, look at the One who fully paid the price.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb. 12:3)
And that is forever.
No wonder the Apostle Paul writes:
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11)
How so grateful we ought to be to God! The Bible gives us an opportunity, right now while we are here on earth, to do all in our might to pay the price and follow Christ in denying ourselves and keeping that all-important pure heart)
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Mat. 5:8)
Do you want to see God when you get to heaven? Guard your heart and keep it pure. If something arises between you and a brother/sister, anyone, deal with it instantly.
When it comes to it being between husband and wife – which is all too common – the Bible specifically speaks to men thus:
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (Col. 3:19)
Is that not all too common with we husbands? Is it not all too common for us to be bitter with our wives? But we are to quickly let go the minute we feel that bitterness beginning to creep up on us. We are to quickly cry to God and make sure – make sure – our hearts remain open, pure, forgiving and loving. That is the cost we have been called to pay. It is the cost for our high calling as children of God.
And to the wives:
“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (1 Pet. 3:1-6)
Wives are quick to learn the weak points in their husbands. If the wife is not a spiritual woman, she will regard her husband’s weaknesses and despise him in her heart instead of honoring him.
But the wife should take note that she has been called to obey and be in subjection to her husband. In fact, Ephesians tells the wives to be subject to their husbands
“in every thing” (Eph. 5:24).
Are these things just too hard for us? But it is the reason we have been given God’s Holy Spirit. He is our Helper.
And this condition of heart is commanded for every child of God in every situation. If we have any hopes of beholding the face of God in His eternal Kingdom, Rule No. 1 is to guard your heart.
[We are to pay the cost to keep our hearts pure at all times]