Guard Your Heart

Protect your heart by maintaining your unwavering gaze upon the Lord God.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and meditation of his heart?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root.

Your body is a sacred place.

1 Cor 6:19-20 – Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. (MSG)

Don’t you see?
Your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit.
The whole, physical, natural, spiritual parts of you all belong to God.
Do you see and hear and feel and experience God in and through your body?

Let people see God in and through your body.

Matt 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

What is your light? How do you let it shine before others?
How do we let people see God in and through our body?

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (ESV)

Only to the degree that we know and follow Jesus will we reflect his light.
Follow: union, a road, to be in the same way with, accompany, as a disciple.1

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen [selected] race, a royal [kingly in nature] priesthood, a holy [sacred, consecrated] nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [incite by word or order] you out of darkness [obscurity] into his marvelous light [to shine or make known]. (ESV)

You are chosen. You are royalty. You are holy, consecrated.
You are a people for his own possession.
That you may proclaim his excellencies.

Possession/peculiar: to or into indicating the point reached or entered of place, time, or purpose. Acquisition, preservation, purchased, saving.2

Do you know who you are? Have you discovered your unique message and pathway to proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light?

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind until you can receive the Lord God’s words that tell you who you are. Ask the Lord God what it means for you to follow him. Ask God to reveal to you how you are to follow him. Wait in his presence for his revelation. Don’t rush ahead of him, assuming your own feelings, logic and desires can figure it out.

What thoughts and questions and emotions arise?

Does a word satisfy? Encourage? Convict? Prod? Instruct? Empower? Give hope?

How can you let people see God in and through your body?

Prov 4:23-27 – Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Keep crooked speech out of your mouth, banish deceit from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze on what lies in front of you. Level the path for your feet, let all your ways be properly prepared; then deviate neither right nor left; and keep your foot far from evil. (CJB)

Above everything else
Guard your heart.
Guard/keep: to guard, protect, maintain, obey, hidden thing, observe, preserve, watcher.3

Are you acquainted with the watcher of your heart, the one hidden inside, the one who observes, preserves, guards, protects, maintains and empowers you to obey the one you have been called to follow?

Isa 41:10 – fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)

Guard your heart with diligence: a guard, the man, the post, or the prison; a deposit; watch. To hedge about as with thorns, attend to, take heed.4

2 Tim 1:8-14 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (ESV)

Let your eyes look straight ahead: Straight, even, to be or make right, pleasant, prosperous.5
Level the path. Ponder the path. To roll flat, prepare a road. Weigh mentally.6
Your ways: a course of life or mode of action, manner.7
Be properly prepared. Be established. Set up. Be ready. Be right. Be stable.8

By the power of God. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within.

Pause and open your body, mind and spirit to the Lord God. His word is so deep and broad and rich in meaning that a quick reading cannot begin to reveal the hidden wisdom in each and every word. The work of meditation and contemplation is required if we want to follow Jesus, in union with him, by the power of God, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

Guard your heart. Become conscious of what’s influencing, motivating and guiding you.

Mark 7:20-23 – And he [Jesus] said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

Eccl 5:13 – There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, (ESV)

Mark 14:38 – Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak [feeble, impotent].” (ESV)

Watch: Keep awake. Be vigilant. Be watchful. Collect your faculties. Rouse from sleep, disease, death, obscurity, ruins, nonexistence.9
Pray: Ask for humbly and earnestly. Worship.10
Willing: Ready. Predisposed. Passion, as if breathing hard.11

Are you awake to the passion and will of the Spirit in you? Are you still asleep, dead, unconscious of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you?

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Receive awakening, healing and guidance as you chew on God’s word, waiting for him to bring them to life in you.

Guard your heart. See and consider life from the Lord God’s perspective.

Ps 119:37 – Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. (ESV)

Ps 119:59-60 – When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. (ESV)

So often we read such texts and think that to keep the Lord God’s commands is about obeying rules. I’ve discovered that God wants much more from us. He wants us to develop a relationship with his word so that we treasure it, so that it becomes our food, so that it comes alive within us as we keep it.

Keep: to hedge about as with thorns, guard, protect, attend to, take heed, mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save self, sure, lay wait for, watchman.12

Ezek 18:28 – Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions [breaking away from just authority] that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (ESV)

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Let them take root in the depths of your soul, sprout, blossom, produce fruit and transform you from within.

Guard your heart. Consider your ways. Ponder the path of life.

Prov 5:6 – she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. (ESV)

Hag 1:5-11 – Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” (ESV)

Consider your ways. My house lies in ruins. Don’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?
“Build my house that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified,” says the Lord.
But her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Each of you busies himself with his own house.
You experience dryness within. Unsatisfied longings.

Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matt 10:37-39 – Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)

Follow me. Love me more than all others. Take your cross and follow me.

Guard your heart. The Spirit gives knowledge of God’s will.

Col 1:9-10 – …we have not stopped praying for you, asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all the wisdom and understanding which the Spirit gives; so that you may live lives worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to him, being fruitful in every good work and multiplying in the full knowledge of God. (CJB)

Praying
Asking God
For what the Spirit gives
To fill you with the knowledge of his will in all the wisdom and understanding
So that you may live lives worthy of the Lord
Entirely pleasing to him
Being fruitful in every good work
Multiplying in the full knowledge of God.

Do we have any idea of what the Lord God longs to give us if only we desire it, ask for it, wait for it, receive it and treasure it and then let it shine in and through us, the very light of Christ Jesus in us?

Guard your heart. Be established by the Lord.

Ps 37:23-24 – The steps of a man are established [ordered, prepared] by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. (ESV)

Ps 40:2 – He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. (ESV)

2 Thess 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (ESV)

1 Peter 5:10-11 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Delight in the Lord’s ways.
Delight: to incline to, to bend, to be pleased with, desire.13

How do we learn to delight ourselves in the Lord’s ways?

Ps 147:10-11 – He takes no delight in the strength of a horse, no pleasure in a runner’s speed. Adonai [the LORD] takes pleasure in those who fear [revere] him, in those who wait for his grace. (CJB)

Wait for his grace.

Read the texts again. Set aside your own thoughts, perceptions, judgments, your own agenda to allow response from your inner depths to surface. What do you discover?

Now respond from the depths of your soul.

Ps 26:2-3 – Prove me [examine me], O Lord, and try me; test [search] my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love [grace] is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness [stability, truth]. (ESV)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him.

Search my mind and heart, O Lord. For your grace is there before my eyes, and I live my life by your truth.

Inhale. (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

Search my heart and mind, O Lord

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

Your grace is there before my eyes.

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

Inhale.
Exhale.
Breathe the Lord God’s words all day every day.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Follow: NT:190 <START GREEK>a)kolouqe/w<END GREEK> akoloutheo (ak-ol-oo-theh’-o); from NT:1 (as a particle of union) and keleuthos (a road); properly, to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany (specially, as a disciple): KJV – follow, reach. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Possession/peculiar: NT:1519 <START GREEK>ei)$<END GREEK> eis (ice); a primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases: KJV – [abundantly-], against, among, as, at, [back-] ward, before, by, concerning,  continual,  far more exceeding, for [intent, purposefore],,  forth, in (among, at, unto, -so much that, -to), to the intent that,  of one mind,  never, of, (up-) on,  perish,  set at one again, (so) that, therefore (-unto), throughout, til, to (be, the end, -ward), (here-) until (-to), … ward, [wherefore-], with. Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) expressing motion (literally or figuratively).

NT:4047 <START GREEK>peripoi/hsi$<END GREEK> peripoiesis (per-ee-poy’-ay-sis); from NT:4046; acquisition (the act or the thing); by extension, preservation: KJV – obtain (-ing), peculiar, purchased, possession, saving. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Keep: OT:5341 <START HEBREW>rx^n*<END HEBREW> natsar (naw-tsar’); a primitive root; to guard, in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.) or a bad one (to conceal, etc.): KJV – besieged, hidden thing, keep (-er, -ing), monument, observe, preserve (-r), subtil, watcher (-man).

4Diligence: OT:4929 <START HEBREW>rm*v=m!<END HEBREW> mishmar (mish-mawr’); from OT:8104; a guard (the man, the post, or the prison); (figuratively) a deposit; also (as observed) a usage (abstract), or an example (concrete): KJV – diligence, guard, office, prison, ward, watch.

OT:8104 <START HEBREW>rm^v* <END HEBREW> shamar (shaw-mar’); a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.: KJV – beward, be circumspect, take heed (toself), keep (-erself,), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Let look straight: OT:3474 <START HEBREW>rv^y* <END HEBREW> yashar (yaw-shar’); a primitive root; to be straight or even; figuratively, to be (causatively, to make) right, pleasant, prosperous: KJV – direct, fit, seem good (meet),  please (will), be (esteem, go) right (on), bring (look, make, take the) straight (way), be upright (-ly). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Level the path. Ponder the path. OT:6424 <START HEBREW>sl^P* <END HEBREW> palac (paw-las’); a primitive root; properly, to roll flat, i.e. prepare (a road); also to revolve, i.e. weigh (mentally): KJV – make, ponder, weigh. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Your ways: OT:1870 <START HEBREW>Er#D#<END HEBREW> derek (deh’-rek); from OT:1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively, a course of life or mode of action, often adverb: KJV – along, away, because of,  by, conversation, custom, [east-] ward, journey, manner, passenger, through, toward, [high-] [path-] way [-side], whither [-soever]. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

8Be properly prepared. Be established. OT:3559 <START HEBREW>/WK<END HEBREW> kuwn (koon); a primitive root; properly, to be erect (i.e. stand perpendicular); hence (causatively) to set up, in a great variety of applications, whether literal (establish, fix, prepare, apply), or figurative (appoint, render sure, proper or prosperous): KJV – certain (-ty), confirm, direct, faithfulness, fashion, fasten, firm, be fitted, be fixed, frame, be meet, ordain, order, perfect, (make) preparation, prepare (self), provide, make provision, (be, make) ready, right, set (aright, fast, forth), be stable, (e-) stablish, stand, tarry,  very deed. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

9Watch: NT:1127 <START GREEK>grhgoreu/w<END GREEK> gregoreuo (gray-gor-yoo’-o); from NT:1453; to keep awake, i.e. watch (literally or figuratively): KJV – be vigilant, wake, (be) watch (-ful).

NT:1453 <START GREEK>e)gei/rw<END GREEK> egeiro (eg-i’-ro); probably akin to the base of NT:58 (through the idea of collecting one’s faculties); to waken (transitively or intransitively), i.e. rouse (literally, from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively, from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence): KJV – awake, lift (up), raise (again, up), rear up, (a-) rise (again, up), stand, take up. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

10Pray: NT:4336 <START GREEK>proseu/xomai<END GREEK> proseuchomai (pros-yoo’-khom-ahee); from NT:4314 and NT:2172; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship: KJV – pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

11Willing: NT:4289 <START GREEK>pro/qumo$<END GREEK> prothumos (proth’-oo-mos); from NT:4253 and NT:2372; forward in spirit, i.e. predisposed; neuter (as noun) alacrity: KJV – ready, willing.

NT:4253 <START GREEK>pro/<END GREEK> pro (pro); a primary preposition; “fore”, i.e. in front of, prior (figuratively, superior) to: KJV – above, ago, before, or ever. In comparison it retains the same significations.

NT:2372 <START GREEK>qumo/$<END GREEK> thumos (thoo-mos’); from NT:2380; passion (as if breathing hard): KJV – fierceness, indignation, wrath. Compare NT:5590. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

12Keep: OT:8104 <START HEBREW>rm^v*<END HEBREW> shamar (shaw-mar’); a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.: KJV – beward, be circumspect, take heed (toself), keep (-erself,), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

13Delight: OT:2654 <START HEBREW>Jp@j*<END HEBREW> chaphets (khaw-fates’); a primitive root; properly, to incline to; by implication (literally but rarely) to bend; figuratively, to be pleased with, desire: KJV –  any at all, (have, take) delight, desire, favour, like, move, be (well) pleased, have pleasure, will, would. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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