Love can make us happy, and Love can make us sad. Love can make life exciting, but love can make life miserable. Love can inspire one to live greatly, and love can desire one to die quickly. Love can bring a smile in your sleep, but love can also make one lose their sleep. Love has the power to give a person peace, but love has the power to give a person pain. Oh, love is more than just a word. It is a force to be reckoned with.
The beginnings of love is often rooted for the affection one begins to conceive within their heart. The heart is the motivation for what man does in his life, and it is in the heart that love begins to influence a person. Solomon knew this fact all to well, and he issues to his son an exhortation of protection upon the source of man’s affection in Prov. 4:23
“Protect your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
I. The Command to Protect the Heart: “Protect your heart with all diligence”
Solomon commands his son to protect his heart. This basic command might seem “no duh” to most people, but look deeper to what Solomon is saying. The Hebrew idea of “heart” was more than simply a cardiac thumping within one’s chest. It was the inner being, the core of who a person was. Solomon understands that the “inner being of the heart” is the motivation for our animation. When the heart is motivated, we move excitedly. When the heart is depressed, we move somberly. The inner person, the soul of a person, the heart of a person is where the motivation for living is enticed.
What is the most cherished treasure you have? (an heirloom perhaps?) Would you let just anyone hold it? The way you treat something indicates if you value that something. If you only let someone you can trust wholeheartedly handle your treasures, then you are dealing carefully with your treasure, which means you value it. But if you’ll let someone hold your valuables just because of how they look, then you are in for a rude awakening. You can always tell how much someone values something by the way they treat it. A friend won’t let you drive their car. A mother won’t let just anyone babysit her child. A mother who won’t let anyone touch her fine china. If you value it, you protect it. This is the idea Solomon is portraying about the heart. You need to protect and value your heart, and not let just anyone hold it. You should not give your heart to someone who is wreckless with love and dating. If you wouldn’t let a nice looking guy drive your car because you don’t trust him, how much more should you protect your heart from someone you couldn’t trust, even if that person looks like a greek god or goddess.
The value of your heart should excede the value for all your personal possessions, yet so often, people today will fall in love with the first pretty face and nice body, completely ignorant of how they will handle their heart. Oh, I cannot stress how important this command is. Protect your heart.
Notice, the degree to which Solomon commands: “protect the heart WITH ALL DILIGENCE.” The word diligence is used in the Hebrew to refer to “prisonlike guard.” In a prison, an inmate is constantly in a controlled environment and is always under constant watch. There is never a time an inmate should be able to go around and live freely. Likewise, allow your heart has no permission to run wild. Only special visitors are allowed in prisons, people who are trustworthy, and even then, that person must be kept under surveilance. The heart is no different. When someone pays a visit to the inner part of your being, you must constantly watch them, and constantly, have control of the situation. You are to guard and watch your heart at ALL TIMES as a prisoner is guarded and watched in a prison. But why does the heart need to be guarded?
Because, the heart acts criminally. Jeremiah 17:9 explains that “the heart is deceitful above all, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Clearly, the Bible reveals that the heart cannot be completely trusted. The heart is the emotional response to the life in which you live, and the heart will deceive you to do things without any rational though. Consider a man who finds his wife cheating on hiim. The heart feels angry desiring revenge ,and the man kills her and her lover. The emotion of the situation deceived the man to do what he knew was wrong, and what he would regret. The heart will always act out in the physical how it feels in the emotion. If your heart controls you, your mind is useless, because being fueled by emotion is to be ignorant of reason. The heart is the emotional element of self, and this is why the heart should be treated as a prisoner, because it can cause us to act criminially. The heart is a criminal, even a thief, desiring to steal control of your body. Do you see why you must guard it and not let anyone untrustworthy influence it. If one controls the emotional being of a person, they can control the entire person. Dare not give anyone that kind of power over you without knowledge of who they are.
II. The Reason to Protect the Heart:
“For out of it spring the issues of life.”
The issues of life are what matters in your life. If you don’t care about the Red Sox, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose. The issues of your life are only an issue in your life, if they have access to your heart. The issues of life are what entices our emotions within ourselves. The heart is where we respond to what happens in our life.
Whatever upsets you, controls you. A broken heart can kill a man, but a joyful heart can bring peace to many. When you let something come and take hold of your heart, you let that something impact how you are going to feel the next day about life. Romance can bring a joyful heart, yet when the romance ends, so does your joy. Hearts can only be broken by people who hold them. Whatever you let influence your heart, will be what influences your actions in life.
Whatever you let effect your heart must be something that either can be trusted or something that you know is worth crying or dieing over. Something to be trusted could be a special someone who has always been there for you. They have proven themselves worthy of your trust, and, in doing so, you trust them with access to your heart. Something to be trusted could be a noble cause, such as finding a cure for cancer. The cause is worthy of your trust, and you allow it to influence your heart, and you are motivated emotionally in your heart to achieve your goals. Both examples are worthy of influence over your heart and emotions. Reason is not enough in love, be it love for a cause or love for a person. Yet, if you let the wrong things have access to your heart you will painfully endure abuse because you have no rationality.
A guy sees a beautiful girl and asks her out. They get into a relationship and she belittles him and is mean to him. Yet, she is so beautiful, so he endures it. A woman marries an abusive man because he is secure and wealthy. Though she lives well-off in the world, she lives a life abused and emotionally tattered.
Don’t be so foolish. Allowing the untrustworthy people access to your heart will influence your reason into irrelevance. You will rationalize offenses because you have let something control your heart and because the heart loves that person, it will doom you to live a life in rationalized abuse. I’ve known girls who will not break up with boys who are cruel to them. They always say “but I love him, and he loves me, he just gets angry is all.”
How foolish to allow just anyone access to the heart. This is why I write this to you. In looking for someone to hold your heart, consider a person dedicated to the standards of God, such a person is worthy of tears and worthy of your life. Don’t you understand!!! Iinfluence over your heart gives someone influence over your life. The influence you want over your heart is an influence for godliness and betterment.
Because the heart is wicked and deceitful, you do not want someone who will make it more ungodly. You want someone who will bring into a peaceful state of holiness. So I implore you, lock up your heart and guard it. Be careful who you let near it, for who is near your heart influences your heart. Yield your heart only to what is worthy to be live for, cry for, even die for.
You are the one who yields the power to break or make your heart. It is at this moment, I beg of you, guard your heart as a wicked prisoner and yield it freedom only to the proven faithful that your mind can peacefully trust.
Let no untrustworthy essence touch your heart, lest you commit suicide in your soul.