“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Two of our camp directors were sitting in church one morning when one of them caught the other looking up into the rafters, studying them, and lost in his own daydreaming. (Yes, it happens to us too.) After the service the one approached the other because he thought he knew exactly what the other had been daydreaming about.
“Were you daydreaming during part of the service?”
“Were you imagining you were a ninja and discerning how you would drop from the rafters onto unsuspecting armed men who had entered the church, thereby saving all the congregation from certain doom”.
“Yes, that’s pretty much how it went.”
“I thought so.”
The truth is , many of us have great delusions of grandeur, picturing ourselves as heroes, able to save people from certain doom. We dream of guarding our friends, our neighbors, our families from imminent attack. Most of us will never have these dreams become a reality in life, at least in the fantastical way we daydream. Yet, each of us are called to be the guards we dream of being. It just looks a little different than our dreams, especially the daydreaming described above. We are called by God to guard our hearts.
In the passage above the word “keep” can also be translated “guard”. In fact in many translations that is exactly the word that is used. Sadly, many of us are far from vigilant. We are not ready at all to guard anything, much less our hearts. We are that overweight security guard with a box of donuts on our laps, indulging ourselves as our feet are kicked up on the desk in front of us. Being an effective guard takes work, training, practice.
According to the verse above this training means being attentive to God’s Word. Reading it! Savoring it! Further it means keeping God’s Word in our heart, meaning knowing it, understanding it, and thinking about it. Most importantly it means surrendering it daily to the only one who can redeem it, fulfill it, and empower us to effectively guard it: our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Guard your heart! Be very careful about what you let your heart be exposed to. Don’t just let it be exposed to whatever comes it’s way. Guard it from what is false, immoral, perverted, distorted, corrupt, and wicked. Add to this guarding your heart from what is vulgar, crude, obscene, dirty, rude, sarcastic, ill-mannered, impolite, and inconsiderate. Be even more vigilant, guard it from what is trivial, shallow, and superficial. Don’t be duped into thinking what you watch, what you hear, what you talk about with others, what you play, and who you hang out with has no impact on your heart and your future. Guard your heart!! Be that ninja you’ve always dreamed of being. What’s at stake in all this: LIFE itself – eternal life!!