Proverbs 4:23- Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
We each face different battles in our lives. Some of us have the battle of a desperate home situation. "Why are my parents always fighting?" you might ask. Some of us have the battle of physical illness. Either you or a loved one is battling a serious physical disease. Some of us have the battle of finances. Perhaps your parents have been struggling to put food on the table and pay the rent for the house. These are all serious battles, and I would never belittle them. But there is a battle that all of us face every single day of our lives- the battle for our hearts.
When I say our "heart," I am referring to that innermost part of us- the part where we find our deepest emotions (fear, love, jealousy, anger, sorrow, etc.), and our deepest passions. Your heart is the real you. And the Bible speaks much of the heart. One of the most important verses about the heart that you will find in the Bible is Proverbs 4:23: "Keep (protect) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." This is a profound verse! This verse is teaching us that every issue of our lives is ultimately determined by the condition of our hearts.
I have seen teenagers that were raised in wonderful, Christian homes completely turn their backs on everything they were taught and walk away from God. I have also seen teenagers who experienced unspeakable trials- abusive homes, alcoholic parents, etc.- and yet they became wonderful, dedicated Christians. What is the difference? The difference is the condition of the heart. Many teenagers blame their circumstances for their sinful lifestyles. But our circumstances alone do not determine who we become in life. Again, the Bible says that out of our hearts come the issues of life, not out of our circumstances.
This may not make much sense right now. Really, this topic is too big to tackle in one short blog post. We will continue to deal with this in the next few days. But for now, let me leave you with this: what is the condition of your heart right now? Are you in love with God, or are you bitter at Him? If your heart is right with God, you can face any adversity and have the confidence that God is working out everything for your good. If your heart is truly tender before God, then you will be in tune with Him, and you will be able to sense His leading in your life. However, if your heart is angry at God, or even unbelieving towards God, then you will not sense His leading, and you will make some horrible decisions- decisions that will cost you.