Summary: Be careful what you allow into your mind.
Guard Your Heart
How many of you love to receive advice? Oh, isn’t advice great? It’s cool as cornbread. That is as long as you’re the one giving it. The great thing about advice is it’s free to give out. You can give out all you want to, spread it all around, and it doesn’t cost you a dime. We preachers love giving advice. Oh, and what about parents? Every dad’s given a speech at one time or another, right? It goes something like this, “What do you mean you want a pair of tennis shoes, two-hundred how many dollars? Money doesn’t grow on trees you know! You just don’t understand the value of money. Why, back when I was your age I got up at two o’clock every morning, went out into the freezing cold on my paper route, rode my bike 20 miles there and back, uphill, in the snow, both ways, came home, milked the cows, butchered the hog and cooked the bacon for breakfast, walked 5 miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways. You just think you’ve got it rough! Now, what was it you were asking for?”
But you know, sometimes we get great advice and it pays off. Let’s turn to Proverbs chapter 4.
Here’s a father talking. “Here, I’ve learned from experience some lessons in life that will help you tremendously if you just pay attention. Would you like to live a long life? Would you like for your life to count for something? Would you like to stay healthy? Then just listen to me…”
Yes, I know it’s just a dad giving his son advice, but wait, there’s something important here. This guy’s getting this from God. God inspired this for you and me to read this evening for our benefit. It’s more than just an idle speech. So Solomon says, “Pay attention!”
He starts out (v.4) by saying, “Do what I say and live.” Whoa! What is he going to do? Whack his son if he doesn’t do what he says? No, look at what he says, (v.5) Get wisdom. Wisdom, (v.6) will preserve you, and keep you safe.
Solomon says wisdom is the principal thing. Learning and living out all that God desires for us should be our chief aim. While we are passing through things temporal on this earth, we should not lose sight of those things that are eternal.
You may be wondering, and thinking to your self, “I’m having a good time just the way things are.” “I may not be the best Christian, but I’m certainly not the worst. Sure I’ve got a few friends that wouldn’t pass inspection if I brought them home, but we’re just having fun.” But you must be aware that this world’s idea of fun and fulfillment often destroys health and shortens the lifespan of those who get involved. That’s why Solomon says in verse 10, “Listen to my words and you’ll live longer.” Living a holy life by its very nature will prevent many diseases, accidents and prolongs life.
I would like to give you this evening the prescription for a godly life. (Read vv. 23-27)
God is telling us this evening through this O.T. writer, “Guard your heart! Watch out what you allow into your mind and thoughts. Because what you put in, is surely what will come out.”
I. Why Should We Guard Our Hearts? (23)
The treasure that Solomon is concerned with is our heart. Not the blood-pumping muscle that keeps us alive, but our mind, emotions and will. The very center of our being. What we are told to do is keep our heart with all diligence. The word keep, means ‘to guard”. It was used in the O.T. to mean to guard diligently against the enemy, or to regulate with careful discipline, or to maintain with proper supplies.
Why all the hubbub over our mind, emotions and our will? Because what’s inside of us, our thoughts, our priorities, our desires, the sum total of all that we allow into our eyes and ears and our mind is what comes out in our actions and our words. That’s what v.23 means when it says, “for out it are the issues of life.”
(Volunteer to help w/ illustration) Have them cup both hands. “Here, we’ll put your brain in your hands.” “On second thought, you may just need one hand,(just kidding).” “Now we will put some things into your brain.” E.g. T.V. Guide, video tape, CD, magazine. Do you realize that the sounds and images we allow into our minds become a part of us? They stay there and interact with our thoughts. It doesn’t matter how long ago we heard it or saw it, it’s always there in our mind to be brought back at a later time. Here, I’ll prove it. Take objects out of hands. What do you think of when I say, “Oh, I wish I were an…” “You deserve a…” “When E.F. Hutton talks…” “Where’s the…” “I’ve fallen…” “I am stuck on…bandaids…” You see, some things you haven’t heard in years are still in your head just waiting to come out.