Keep your heart useful. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea, because waters flow into it from the Jordan River, but nothing flows out. There must be inflow and outlet to sustain life. Guard the flow of your heart coming and going. As the truth, love, and grace of God flow in, obedient, service, and generosity should flow out. Be a river, not a reservoir. Pour into the lives of others from the overflow of the Lord’s goodness to you.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23
Proverbs 4:23 consists of an exhortation and an explanation, a command and a reason. The verse begins with a call to keep your heart with all vigilance. Like a soldier defending his post against attack, you must guard your heart.
We typically associate the heart with our emotions. In scripture, however, the heart represents the mind, the will, and the emotions. The heart is the seat of personhood. It is one’s innermost being; the control-center of life.
The command to keep your heart reminds us of the priority of the inner self. What happens within us is always more important than what happens around us. The attitude of our hearts matters more than the circumstances of our lives. The heart of the matter is always the matter of the heart.
Keeping your heart is an ongoing responsibility. It is not like setting an alarm and trusting your house is safe, as you go about your day. It is like posting armed security at the door to protect the house against intrusion or invasion. You must keep your heart with all vigilance. Do whatever it takes to guard your heart. Practice diligence oversight of the state of your heart.
Why is keeping your heart important? The heart is the wellspring of life. From it flow the springs of life. Your thoughts, choices, and feelings flow from what is in your heart. The heart is a mighty river. Life is an overflowing stream. The flow of the river determines the life, health, and strength of the stream.
Many people struggle to experience meaningful life-change, because they deal with their problems downstream instead of upstream. They work downstream to get debris out of the water.