Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know that all your problems did not magically disappear after you trusted Christ as your Saviour. The world did not simply get out of your way, and you did not immediately climb to new spiritual heights not before obtained. In fact, life may have become more difficult after your salvation because, as you endeavoured to grow closer to the Lord, you realized that even the smallest of sins can become a huge obstacle. Those sins come between you and God and must be eradicated. Sometimes, problems come from an outside source. Those cannot always be avoided, and we have to trust God to bring us through them. If we are honest, our strongest struggles that we must overcome are from within. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep (protect) our hearts. They are to be carefully guarded and protected. Why? Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20 that the things that come out of the heart of a man are what defile the man. The list includes things like: evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are not trivial or light matters; they are the issues of life. Your mind dwells upon what your heart longs for. If you are struggling with a secret sin, it may be because you have not protected your heart. You have allowed it to follow after whatever it wants. Think about this: Have you ever heard the saying, “Just follow your heart…”? That is not sound Biblical advice. Isaiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” This verse implies that your heart is capable of deceiving you. The heart represents emotions; and, though God is the creator of every emotion, they are not to be our leader. We are to follow the Lord in faith, and then our feelings will follow. Every Christian would do well to remember that it is our responsibility to protect our heart each and every day, for “out of it are the issues of life.”