Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Guarding the Heart

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Solomon gave this instruction to a young son; that’s who it’s addressed to. It’s important for all of us to be guardians of our own hearts, to watch those things that influence us. It’s important for all of us, no matter how old we are and how far along the path of life.

What’s 2 + 2?

Think about this: Imagine a test — and I hate these kinds of tests — where Question 1 asks you something relatively simple like “What’s 2 + 2?” That’s worth one mark. Question 2 says to take your answer from Question 1 and do another calculation, and that’s worth one mark, and Question 3 says to take your answer from Question 2 and perform a subsequent calculation, and so on and so forth.

In fact, the whole test is built on what you did in the first question and then in every subsequent question.

Passing and Failing

The point is this: If I fail on the final question of a test like that and I’ve gotten all the preceding questions right, I still can do quite well. But if I fail on the first question, it doesn’t matter how carefully I answer the subsequent questions; they will all be wrong.

Young people, the choices you make now have a far bigger and far longer-lasting impact than the choices I make now, simply because I’ve got less time left than you. My answers are already submitted for the first few questions: “Who will you marry?” “What will you commit your life to?” “What will be the priorities in your life?” I’ve already answered those questions to a greater or lesser degree, whether I’ve answered them correctly or not. But you’re still making those choices, and the choices you make early on dictate the final outcome.

Where You Go

Isn’t that what Solomon’s telling his son? The most important thing, Solomon says, “Above all, guard your heart, because from it are the issues of life.” The answers you come up with for what you let into your heart are going to dictate where you go.

And that’s why we need to be very careful what we choose to let in — bypassing intellectual, rational choice and speaking to our hearts, and changing how we think, changing where we’ll go, changing what we’ll be doing twenty, thirty, forty years down the road.

Solomon thought it was important, and the Holy Spirit of God thought it was important, and preserved his words and they speak especially to those who are younger.

A Full Heart

I think of the words of Philippians 4:8. It says this:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

We are to reject the media of the world and the philosophies of the world in whatever form they come to us, and instead dwell on things which are pure and true and lovely and right and honorable and noble.

Fill your heart with those things, and let those things direct where you go.

— Bernie, from The Power of Stories Part 1 (2021)
[Transcribed by Tom.]

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