Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 5 May 2013
Page 16

Guard Your Heart

Royce Pendergrass

Royce Pendergrass“Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the ultimate results of life” (Proverbs 4:23). What an order! According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, the meaning of the word “keep” here is to “watch.” Watch over what enters your heart and guard it diligently because it is what enters the heart that determines what you do with your life. The “heart” is described as “the seat of moral life”; so the statement in Proverbs is more understandable with that definition. It makes perfect sense that what enters the heart is what exits in one’s daily living.

Regarding this verse, the commentator Burton Coffman, says: “The heart, as the word is used in the Bible, means the mind which is the center of human intelligence, emotions and will. The fact here stated is that the whole moral conduct of human life and its every action, attitude and purpose are determined by what one thinks and believes. The great corollary of this is that ‘thought control’ is the prerequisite of all moral rectitude and uprightness.” I thought about this subject as I was watching TV this week, and I saw an advertisement for an adult “fashion show” that was to be shown on prime time Tuesday evening. It amazes me to see how times have changed just in my lifetime. There was a time when things such as this were done in private and not talked about openly. Now, it’s all open to the public eye. In fact, even those of us who will never watch or read such things are subjected to the advertising for them. Nothing is left to the imagination. Sometimes, it seems that some programs are geared to seeing just how lewd they can be because they think that is what appeals to the general populace, and they may be right!

“Political correctness” has caused our country to come to terms with making things open and public that were previously private and unmentionable. Products are advertised on the “tube” that could prove to be very embarrassing if you were in mixed company, and that’s shameful. It is so sad to see all this “correctly” being presented to our children and grandchildren as the accepted way of life. Young boys (and girls) no longer have to hide “girlie” magazines or other forbidden material under the mattress. All such things are as close as the nearest public magazine rack, video rental and the TV in their own living rooms! Is it any wonder that God has commanded that we be careful about what enters our hearts? We cannot just be careful because there is so much “stuff” out there. We must be diligent to protect what enters our minds. We have to work at it. All previous “ages” have had many sinful things to deal with and, in some cases, maybe worse than what ours is now (e.g., the Roman Empire). However, we have known a peaceful time in our own country when God was more the center of what happened around us than Satan, and I can see that slipping away. Not only does it make me sad, it upsets me.

Paul told young Timothy “Don’t be partakers of other men’s sins but keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22). This is exactly what we must be teaching our young folks today. They need to understand that if they participate in sinful things, it will rub off on them and become a part of their daily living. They must not get caught up in the trap that sin offers. You cannot even say it is okay for others to practice sin because that causes you to be “partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 11).

There is a way to avoid the allurement of sin. Paul said, “I keep my body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul had to work at it! He encouraged the Philippian brethren: “The peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). If you are sincere about your efforts to avoid sin, you will get the help and strength that you need to do so. God loves His creation and He did not leave us alone and helpless. We must know His will and make every effort to apply it to our lives.

Proverbs 23 is full of wisdom. Regarding our subject at hand, the Wise Man said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (verse 7). What one thinks about and internalizes is what he will be. Then in verse 12 we find: “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the words of knowledge.” Heed God’s teaching about what sin is and what it brings to your life, and “do not let your heart envy sinners” (verse 17). Exercise positive thought control and think Godly things, not sensual things, and “keep your heart with all diligence!”


Paradise Lost and Regained

David Sargent

Sarah Darling saw him and had compassion on him. Billy Ray Harris is homeless and often finds refuge under a bridge in Kansas City, Missouri, which is also Sarah’s hometown. Sarah took out her change purse and emptied out the contents into Harris’ cup. However, Sarah later realized that she had donated much more than she intended.

It was not until the next day that she discovered her engagement ring was missing. She remembered that she had removed the ring from her hand because the ring was irritating her skin, and she placed it into her change purse. With a sinking feeling, she feared that the ring was part of the contents that she had emptied into Harris’ cup. She returned to where she had seen Harris, but he was not there. She went back the following day and found him. She approached him and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I think I gave you something that is very precious to me.”

Harris responded: “Was it a ring? Yeah, I have it; I kept it for you.” He handed the ring to her. Sarah was floored and elated! “I actually feel like I am especially lucky to have this ring now. I loved it before. I loved it so much, but I love it so much more now,” she later told a television host.

To show her appreciation, Sarah set up an online fundraiser for Harris. The donations and praise have poured in from all over the world. In the first week of the 90-day campaign, over 3,400 donations were made totaling nearly $95,000. Adam and Eve lost much more than an engagement ring when they disobeyed God’s instruction (Genesis 2:16-17). They lost their innocence and their home in the beautiful paradise of the Garden of Eden, including access to the tree of life that would have enabled them to live forever (Genesis 3:22-23).

The sin of Adam and Eve has been repeated by their offspring – including you and me. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And as a result, we also earn the “wages of sin,” which is death (Romans 6:23). Yet, God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). Through Jesus, we can have forgiveness of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life. What was lost in the paradise of Eden may be regained – through Christ – in “the paradise of God.” “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). God will forgive and give access to the tree of life (eternal life) to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Those who “overcome” by remaining faithful to Him will be rewarded with eternal life in the paradise of God.

“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). Paradise lost can be regained through Christ – when we submit our lives to the Savior. Won’t you?


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