Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
This scripture and many others highlight how important the heart is. The above verse states our experiences and issues in life is 100% based on the heart. In Matthew 15:18, Jesus says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” Jesus explains what destroys a person is not other people but what proceeds out of the mouth and from the heart.
The proverbs verse mentions something interesting. It states keep your heart with all diligence. Diligence means careful and persistent work or effort. God the Holy Spirit is urging us to be careful with our hearts and to be persistent in doing it. The question on my mind when the Holy Spirit began teaching me this was, “How do I do it?” He then led me to the following verse in Psalms 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” The way to protect my heart is by storing His words in my heart.
James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” This verse details how we fall into sin. All this happens in the heart. Desires belong to the heart, and desires can either be godly or sinful. In Psalms 37:4, we see God can give us desires and in this James verse, we see our desires can be sinful. When the Holy Spirit tells us that we must keep our hearts with all diligence, He is implying protect your heart from sinful desires. The way to do this is by keeping God’s word in your heart. The first part of Psalms 37:4, it encourages us to delight ourselves with the Lord. This process laid out in James happens for both sinful and godly desires. Conceiving desires from God, bring forth godly actions. For us to live godly lives, we must delight ourselves in the Lord, then when we get these desires we must conceive them so that we can producing godly actions.
How do we conceive these desires in our hearts? The answer is found in Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” This is what God told Joshua after he took over from Moses. We conceive desires (both godly and sinful desires) when we meditate on either the word of God or sinful things. The word meditate means a lot of different things to different people. But biblically it means think deeply or carefully about (something). After we read the Bible, we must set time aside to just ponder about what we read. How did what I just read affect me. This is how we conceive the word of God.
Proverbs 4:20-22, “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”