by Graham Mol
This morning on the Bible App on my phone the “verse of the day” was Proverbs 4:23
Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. (CSB)
Here is another version of the same verse:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV)
These are wise words and there is a lot I could go into about this statement. But what I want to focus on is the Heart itself. When the Bible speaks about the heart its not talking about the vital organ that pumps blood around our body, and yet what it is speaking about is just as vital. The heart in Hebrew refers to one’s emotions, intellect, discernment (values) and will. We often make the distinction in English too, we are heart-sore when we are saddened, we do things wholeheartedly when we put in all our effort. We speak of knowing in our heart, the right thing to do.
When we receive God’s word, whether it is through reading the Bible, listening to a sermon or singing it in a worship song, we need to make sure that we do not just acknowledge that word with our mind, to intellectually accept it, but that we take that word into our hearts and allow it to transform us. This is why, in my opinion, the best sermons are those that not only speak to our minds but to our hearts, messages that don’t just make us think but make us feel.
The psalms give us a good example of how we should engage with God’s word:
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
8 “I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart.”
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
I want to encourage you as you read the Bible, as you worship, as you listen to sermons, don’t just acknowledge God’s word but receive it into your heart. Apply that word to your life, respond to it, meditate on it, allow it to shape your actions and your values. As Proverbs 4:23 states, the heart is the source of life, everything we do flows from it, make sure that the Word of God, Jesus Himself, is at the centre of it.