Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
Yesterday I was thinking about writing a blog regarding Proverbs 4:23-27. I never started it because I couldn’t think of how to put it together. Later, a funny thing happened. I was looking through INSTAGRAM. Most of you know about that. People post all kinds of pictures. I haven’t figured out how to really use it, but I go through and look at my friends pictures. As I was doing that there was a picture from a friend who lives in Pennsylvania. It was of a page in the Bible showing Proverbs 4:23-27 underlined. I smiled, as I don’t believe that things in our lives are a coincidence. So today, I would like to talk about this passage.
I have recently become reacquainted with Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” In my case, I paired this verse with 2 Corinthians 10:5 that talks about taking every thought captive. My thought life is one of the reasons I put myself into re:generation at church. While that was good and helpful, after looking at Proverbs 4:23-27, I think it should be taken as a whole. So this blog will be my attempt to do that.
First, verse 23. When God works in us, he always works from the inside out. So in this passage he begins with the heart. I think I mentioned this in a previous blog, but in Jewish thinking, the heart is beginning of everything we are as people. Our heart comprises our mind, thoughts motives and desires. In other words, the heart describes our “inner life.” Verse 23 goes on to say that from the heart, flow the springs of life. This means that the heart (or mind) drives our actions. Our outward actions spring from our inner life. That is why this is so important. Proverbs 23:7a says,”For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” So, putting all this together, verse 23 speaks of the importance of having our thought life controlled by God. The best way I have experienced this is to be in the Word and prayer. There is no easy path, but memorizing and meditating on scripture seems to be a key, at least for me.
Verses 24-25 moves from the inner life to the outer life. This part talks about our mouths and eyes. It says to put aside a deceitful mouth and devious speech away from us. This means that our conversation should be honest and with integrity. Integrity is not word that is bantered about much in our time. There used to be a saying, “my word is my bond” or something like that. That meant that you can trust what I say. If I say I will do something, I will do it. You can count on it. Our lives as God’s people need to reflect that. But it starts from having a pure inner life. Verse 25 talks about having eyes that look straight ahead and our gaze fixed in front of us. Matthew chapter 7 talks about entering through the narrow gate. I think that is the picture here. We need to keep our eyes on the prize, so to speak. There is so much out there today to distract and arouse us. By God’s grace, we need to keep our focus and keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).
Finally, verses 26-27. This is similar to that above but it speaks more of our walk with the Lord more than what we say. The road we walk has a lot of side paths. Again our world doesn’t make it easy for a Christ follower. It takes courage and strength to say “no” to all the side roads. But again, at the end, the rewards will be far greater than we can imagine. I read in one of my commentaries, “When tempted to go to a questionable place, ask yourself, ‘Would I like to be found there when Jesus comes back?” (William MacDonald-Believer’s Commentary).
Following Christ is a serious venture and we are not as strong as we think we are. We cannot follow Christ in our own strength. But remember, if we are “in Christ” we are new creations, or as we say in re:gen, we ‘have a new life in Christ.’ We need to believe that and trust God that He will lead us. He leads his sheep. of which we are. Our shepherd is not hireling. He already gave his life for His sheep. Dear God, please change us from the inside out and give us the strength and grace to follow you with all our hearts. Amen. God bless you all!