Summary: Catch your balance. Steady yourself. Above is supposed to describe us. Don’t look down . . . DON’T LIVE DOWN!
Pt. 1 – Heart Attacks
Above. When I say that word there are certain meanings that come to mind instantly. Above . . . perspective, looking down on, higher than. Above . . . position, prominence, higher in order. Above . . . distance. Above speaks to perspective and position!
Over the course of the next few weeks I want to us to examine Scripture and see what it tells us about “Above”!
Today I want to examine a passage of Scripture that deals with order or importance.
Text: Proverbs 4:23
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
The wisest man on the planet is about to offer us wisdom for the ages. He could have said a lot of wise things. He could have followed suit of some kids who gave advice. He could have said, “Above all else . . .
• “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.” – Michael (14)
• “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.” – Michael (14)
• “Stay away from prunes.” - Randy (9)
• “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.” – Kyoyo (9)
• “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.” – Naomi (15)
• “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.” – Joel (10)
But, the wisest man on the planet goes for the most important above statement he could make and he says, “Above everything else guard your heart”. Think about the implications of that statement. Above a good education. More important than using your gift. More crucial than driving the right car. Of greater importance than training your body until you become a fine tuned athlete. Above all else . . . this above should grab our attention and cause us to take serious notice and pay special attention to the next statement. Above all else guard your heart. One version says; “with all diligence” guard your heart. In other words, the heart should receive the greatest effort.
We protect our homes with security alarms, and dead bolts locks. We have security lights. Some of us arm ourselves so that we feel protected. Yet for all of our diligence to secure our homes, our valuables, and our goods we often ignore our heart. Too many Christians have switched on cruise control and believe that once they meet Jesus they can coast through life. We try to live our Christian life with no effort. The instructions “with all diligence” tell us it is a constant warfare and will require much spiritual energy. Too often we think, “I’m saved. My heart has been cleansed. My job is finished. My heart will never need any more attention.”
One man said, “Heart worship, heart love and heart obedience are far more difficult to recognize than the outward forms and duties of religion, because they are unseen, unrecognized and unrewarded of men. Not only is heart work difficult, it is constant.”
We need to go back and listen to the wise man and get back to work. Guard our hearts!
Everyone is talking about heart health today. You can’t go to a restaurant without seeing the little heart emblems by food items to help you protect your heart. You even determine what kind of butter and cereal you eat determined by how it affects your heart! You can go and get scans of your heart just to make sure how healthy it is. Maybe we need to do a heart scan today in light of what the writer of Proverbs teaches us.
Why is it so essential to “above all else guard our heart?” Why is heart health important? Why would the wise man say ABOVE all else? Could it be because he knew what Jeremiah knew?
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Maybe he knew that if we aren’t careful to guard our heart that a sick heart is almost incurable. Could it be that he knew that if we don’t manage our heart that left to our devices we will crash, burn and take others with us? Could it be because he had the same revelation Jesus gave us? Listen to Jesus’ take on our heart.
19For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
If Jeremiah was right and if Jesus was right then the writer of Proverbs was on point when he said that it is essential to guard our heart! Because if we don’t the end result is less than desirable! The result of an unguarded heart is destruction! Is it possible that the root of all murder, divorce, affairs, immorality, stealing, lying, gossip, grudges, and crime isn’t our eyes, but our heart? We try to ascribe our problems to other things like . . . He had wandering eyes so our marriage fell apart. No, it wasn’t his eyes it was the fact that he had a wandering heart! She is just has this problem with lying. No, what she has is a heart condition! He has a work ethic issue. No what he has is a heart problem. She has a pride problem so she is rebellious. No what her problem is her heart!