What is the purpose of a guard? A guard keeps watch for the enemy. He understands that the enemy is near, intent on his destruction. A good guard knows that the enemy could attack at any moment. The guard is posted to protect the camp, sounding the alarm, and giving the call to arms when the enemy approaches. An effective guard is always on high alert.
In this week’s episode, we continue our discussion on “Understanding the Mind” by looking at Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
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The words “above all else” in the verse I just quoted, Proverbs 4:23, refer to having a faithful, unwavering, and focused commitment to something – far more than you do to anything else. It means that this thing is so important that it takes the highest priority in your life. Simply put, nothing should be more important to you than to have a faithful, unwavering, focused commitment to always guarding your heart.
In Proverbs 4:23 we are commanded to always guard our hearts above all else. So, why must I set a guard around my heart? Your heart is so much more than the muscle in your chest that goes thumpity thump thump. And it’s far more than just where your emotions occur. The word “heart” here in Proverbs 4:23 is the Hebrew word “leb” and refers to the place where all of your thinking and decision-making happens. It’s the seat of all your understanding and knowledge. In other words, it’s referring to your mind. It’s the starting point of everything that you say and do. And God is telling us of the vital necessity of placing a constant guard over your mind.
Why is it so critical that our highest priority is to guard our minds? The answer is found in our verse (Proverbs 4:23). Listen as I quote it for you again. “Above all else, guard your heart (protect your mind) for it (your mind) is the wellspring of life.” In other words, everything you say and everything you do begins and ends with everything you think.
Your thoughts determine the kind of life you will live. Just like the fountains and wells in Bible times could be tainted, affecting the community water source, so also allowing sinful thoughts into your mind can pollute your entire life. This is why it’s of highest importance that you set a constant guard over your mind. If your thoughts are pure and holy, the things that you do will be just and good, pure and holy. If you allow sin to taint your thinking, your actions and your words will not glorify God. From your mind springs the decisions of life.
So, now that we are equipped with that understanding, let’s take another look at Proverbs 4:23. “above all else (with an unwavering and focused commitment, guard your heart (protect the place where all of your thinking and decision-making occurs – protect your mind) for (your thought process) is the wellspring of life (how you live flows from what you think).”
Are you tracking with me here? If we are going to glorify God in our everyday living, he must first be glorified in our every moment thinking. This isn’t just a quaint or trite little saying that I keep repeating over and over again. This comes from the very mouth of God as a mandate for every Christian. Above all else protect your mind! You are to have a focused commitment faithfully, unwaveringly on setting a guard of protection over your mind because from your thoughts come your actions. Do you get the idea that God wants you and me to be serious about what we think? Proverbs 4:23 is a clear-cut warning from Heaven to be constantly and consistently on our guard regarding what we allow to enter our mind.
Every day of our lives we are faced with a choice. Am I going to be a listener OR a doer of God’s Word (James 1:22)? If guarding your mind is not your highest priority, it needs to be – NOW! As you look into the mirror of Scripture, has God revealed a blemish in your life? As you are listening to the command of Proverbs 4:23 to above all else, at all times be diligent about placing a vigilant guard of protection around your mind, are you going to sit here and say, “Wow! Good point.” And then do nothing about it? If so, then God says you are deceiving yourself. NOT because you’re choosing to not heed my warning, but because you are choosing to ignore God’s Word.
The most effective way I’ve found to set a guard over my mind is to memorize Scripture. Psalm 119:11 challenges us to hide God’s Word in our hearts (in other words, memorize Scripture) so that when temptation comes – and we all know it WILL come – when temptation comes, we have God’s Word, God’s Truth, God’s principles, and standards at the ready to protect our mind from the enemies’ attack and in so doing we will not sin against our Heavenly Father. Setting a guard over your mind begins with filling your mind with Scripture.
Please hear me. Please listen closely. It is vital that we are extremely careful about what we allow our eyes to see. What you see strongly influences what you think, and what you think becomes what you do. I know, I know, if you’ve been following this podcast for any length of time then this probably sounds like I’m just droning on and on about the same thing over and over again. And in a sense, you’d be right. But do you understand why?
If what we DO is to glorify God, then does it not make sense that what we think must also glorify Him? And if what we think is to glorify God, then does it not also make sense that what we see and what we hear should be glorifying to God as well? Every day you are faced with choices about what you’re going to say and do. Right? Which means every day you are faced with choices about what you’re going to think. Are you going to choose to see only those things that encourage you to think godly thoughts, thereby living a godly life?
Speaking of “those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh” (2 Peter 2:10), in verse 14 Peter says, “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning.” What you see influences what you think, and what you think impacts what you do. If your focus is on ungodly, sinful things, your behavior will be ungodly and sinful.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23) I find it interesting that Jesus used the word “lamp” to refer to something that shows the body which way to move. In other words, what you see has a direct impact upon what you do. If your eyes are “good,” if they are focused on the things that will glorify God, then the deed you do will also be “good” (glorifying to God). But if you all you yourself to continuously see things that are ungodly, your lifestyle will eventually reflect that choice.
This means that daily we need to make decisions about what we will read, watch, or ever what we’ll listen to. Are there certain types of media that God has put His stamp of approval on? Are there others that He has definitively said not to watch? The answer is a definite “YES!” – but not in the way you might expect or desire. You see, The Apostle Paul challenges us in Ephesians 5:15-17 to “be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
God does have a will for you in what you should be seeing and what you shouldn’t, and He says the wise man will understand what God’s will is. But here’s the thing: you will not find a listing anywhere in Scripture that says, “Thou shalt watch these things and thou shall not watch those.” Wouldn’t it be so much easier if God published “Heaven’s Weekly Theatre Reviews: God’s Movie Guide for the Christian” to show us which movies and TV shows receives His two-thumbs-up? Instead, God expects us to exercise godly wisdom and discernment – which the Holy Spirit graciously gives to each of us through God’s Word. God says in Proverbs 17:24 that “a discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Oh, my friend, don’t be a fool. Understand God’s will for purity and godliness, and don’t let your eyes wander!
Be sure to come back next week for Episode 84 as we continue this discussion of understanding and protecting our mind. In the meantime, let me encourage you to go back into our archives and listen to any of the episodes you may have missed. And if you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com
One of those resources is a book I’ve written entitled “Are You a Super Man? How to Become God’s Man of Steel.” It’s available on Amazon.com, and if you’re a man looking for a 12-week men’s Bible study that you can do with your accountability partner(s) or with your men’s small group (or even by yourself) this book is a must do. “Are You a Super Man of God? Becoming God’s Man of Steel” is a fun look at what it means to be God’s Man of Steel in a world that is Anti-God, Anti-Christ, and Anti-Bible. As Christian men we try to be the Super Man of God that others want, need, even expect us to be. We do fairly well most of the time at presenting the “spiritual man of steel” persona to those around us, yet inwardly we know we are far from being the godly man we want to be.
As a Super Man of God your strength, your ability to effectively live a life that honors and glorifies God, comes directly from the SON. The closer you are in relationship to Jesus Christ, the greater your power to resist the archenemy of your soul (the devil) and watch him flee from you (James 4:7).
Yet, truth-be-told, you also have a weakness. It’s your Kryptonite, that radioactive element of your life before Christ that your spiritual archenemy uses to his advantage. The fact is, when you play around with your Kryptonite, it weakens your will and ability to stand firm and fight the fight of faith.
In this 12-week men’s Bible study you will learn how to identify your Kryptonite, steer clear of it, find your super-spiritual strength as you daily draw closer to the SON, and be the man of steel God has called and equipped you to be. So, let me encourage you to go to Amazon.com today and purchase your copy of “Are You a Super Man of God?”
And if you have not yet subscribed to this Point of Purity Podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.