“Listen carefully, child of mine,
To all that I teach you
And pay attention to all I that I say.
Fill your thoughts with my words
Until they penetrate deeply into your spirit.
When you unwrap my words
They will impart true life and radiant health
Into the core of your very being.
Above all, guard the affections of your heart—
Since they affect all that you are.
For out of your innermost being
Flows the wellspring of life.”
-Proverbs 4:20-23 TPT
Many things in life are important. But few are quite as important as this:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Did you catch that? How you keep your heart affects everything.
As in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
As in ALL things.
There are many significant “one things” in the Bible. In Psalm 27:4, David says:
One thing I have asked of the LORD; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple.
In Luke 10:42, after Martha had a little meltdown over her sister Mary’s decision to sit with Jesus rather than join in Martha’s busyness, Jesus responded:
But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.
In Philippians 3:13-14, after Paul reveals he has not yet attained all that Christ’s death and resurrection purchased for us, he declares his own one thing:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Although on the surface these “one things” may seem different, they all reveal essentially the same thing:
The position and condition of the heart.
Because that ONE thing will determine the outcome of all other things.
Trust, faith, devotion, and even intimacy with God, will look like different things at different times in our individual lives. But ALWAYS these things look like keeping our hearts before Him. This is the one nonnegotiable facet of faith that endures. It is the one thing that makes ALL the difference in determining how well we run and, ultimately, finish the race.
I often wish I was more consistent in various spiritual disciplines. I want the outward manifestation of my faith to be consistently steadfast and mature. I want my words, my thoughts, and my emotions to consistently line up with the truths I believe.
It’s what I want–and the longer I walk with Him, I do become more consistent–but it STILL isn’t always what I walk out. Not by a long shot.
The truth is we all face real-life situations that cause pain, sadness, and a variety of other not-so-pleasant emotions. We all experience unfairness and injustice that can cause anger, confusion, and frustration. Sometimes we handle these things well…and, well…sometimes we don’t.
But the bottomline isn’t how well we handle the emotions of any given moment. The bottomline is where we go with them.
Do you run to Him or away from Him? Do you share your emotions–good or bad–with Him or do you allow them to draw your gaze from His?
When people pull away from God it is usually because of disappointment that has not been processed in His presence. That gap leaves room for offense. Offense leads to disconnection.
And a heart disconnected from God is a heart ripe for deception and bitterness.
But when you do stay connected–even if you’re kicking and screaming, and gritting your teeth in the process–you can work through your disappointments with Him. You can work through confusion much faster when you position yourself in the presence of perfect Peace–whether you feel that peace in the moment or not. When you keep showing up with your heart open before Him, you learn to work out the intricacies and complexities of a living, breathing relationship that doesn’t always go the way you think it should.
And that, beloved, is how you guard the affections of your heart…
“For out of your innermost being flows the wellspring of life.”
This is the last in my brief series on Monday Morning Meditations. Here is the FB Live on this morning’s topic: