Issues of Life

Gary Bird
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

In America today, there is much debate about what we should keep. Many are debating if we should keep our tradition of honoring our flag. Some are asking if we should tear down our history. Others are debating if we should keep businesses closed for the sake of our health. There are even groups who debate the value in keeping the nuclear family intact or the gender that God gave them at birth!

It may seem to some that these problems appeared out of nowhere. However, that isn’t the case at all. Just sixty years ago people began asking if they should keep other things. The questions were raised if we should keep prayer in school, if we wanted to keep marriage sacred, and if unborn children’s protection was worth keeping around.

How did this all happen in such a short time, you may wonder? As many in our country began to toss out the fabric of our society, there was something that God reminded us to keep. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to “Keep thy heart with all diligence.” As a mother keeps her children, as a businessman keeps his investment, as a sailor keeps his course, and as a bear keeps her cubs, we too are to keep our heart.

First, we must ask ourselves why the Lord asks us to keep our heart. The answer can be found in the second portion of the verse, “Out of it are the issues of life.” All of the “issues” we are dealing with today and all of the “issues” we dealt with sixty years ago have stemmed from hearts that weren’t protected. This begs the question, how does one “keep” their heart?

In Proverbs 4:24-27 we are told to protect or “keep” our heart through guarding these portals of our heart:

1.     Our ears

2.     Our eyes

3.     Our feet

4.     Our hands

By keeping our ears, eyes, feet, and hands from sinful and harmful things, this will keep our hearts. By keeping our hearts, the issues in life we face will be much easier to navigate.

A simple physical examination will help us to determine how we have done in keeping our heart:

· Examine our ears: What have we allowed to enter into our hearts through our ears?

o   music

o   gossip

o   discouragement

o   negativity

· Examine our eyes: What wickedness have we allowed to sneak into our hearts through our eyes?

o   television

o   computers

o   magazines

· Examine our feet: Where have we visited and who have we kept company with that has caused us to stumble?

o   ungodly fellowship

o   unfruitful relationships

· Examine our hands: What objects have our hands allowed to come into our hearts that have caused us pain?

o   phones

o   social media

o   alcohol & drugs

o   violence

In closing, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” comes to mind. If we expect to allow the world’s philosophies and teachings to surround us day in and day out and not be impacted, we would be most naive. To be godly, we must keep our heart. God eloquently reminds us in Psalms 101:3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

As the world throws out the old and brings in the new, may we “keep” our heart by keeping our guard. Let’s protect the portals of our heart so we can navigate the issues of this world.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He assists with multiple minsitries. He and his wife Jessica have four children.

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