5th Dec, 2012- by Timothy Tai –
There are some things we do in life because we NEED to, like eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom for example.
At other times, we do things simply because we WANT to, like watching our favourite TV shows and going on Facebook.
And then there’s that last category of things that we do because we’ve learnt that we’ll suffer embarrassing and/or painful consequences if we forgot to do them; like if we forgot to zip up our jeans after we’re done in the toilet or when we forgot to put on our clothes before going out of the house.
This article is really about something that falls in that last category. In fact, it’s the one thing that King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, said that we MUST do above all else. And this is it:
“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
In case you think this proverb only applies to those who are prone to being ‘emotional’, hold on right there. King Solomon’s #1 piece of advice applies just as much to those who are ruled by their head as well as those who are ruled by their hearts.
You see, the Bible doesn’t make a separation between the head and heart like many of us do today. The word ‘heart’ in the bible comes from the Hebrew word ‘leb’ and the Greek word ‘kardia’ and whenever the bible talks about the heart, it is never related to our physical heart i.e. the organ that pumps blood to our body. Instead, it always refers to our spiritual heart which is the centre of all our THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS.
Your heart is the well-spring of your life and everything that you do flows from your heart. You love from your heart, relate to others from your heart, reason from your heart, give from your heart and lead from your heart. In short, it’s the very essence of who you are and that’s why King Solomon tells us to guard our heart ABOVE ALL ELSE.
Honestly though, when was the last time someone reminded you to guard your heart? Instead, we’re frequently counseled these days to “just follow your heart” whenever we’re in doubt, as if following our heart will always lead us to do the right thing. God’s word never tells us to just follow our heart. Instead, it cautions us to guard our hearts not just because it is the well-spring of our life, but because the truth is that all of us have a heart condition. Just look at some of the verses in the Bible that talk about the heart:
Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (NKJV) and in Psalm 81:10-14, God speaks about how He gave the people of Israel over to “their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices”
Finally Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these things come from inside and defile a person.”
It wasn’t just the people in the Old Testament whose hearts were deceitful and prone to stubbornness and prone to turn away from the Lord. Our hearts are just as prone (if not even more) to do the same things today.
Hmmmm… Maybe old King Sol was on to something when he said guard our hearts…. So there you go. You’ve just learned the ONE thing that you MUST do above all else. We’ll see how we can go about guarding our heart in Part 2 of this article.
Note: Timothy grew up in Kuching and worked in KL before jumping off the corporate ladder in 2006. He moved to New York City where he served at an inner-city kids ministry for almost 6 years. He has since returned to KL and has just married his Irish fiancee Sarah.
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