The Safe-Keeping Of Our Hearts. 05/01/2014 (Morning thought)

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

This passage of scripture enjoins upon us the sacred duty of keeping our minds stayed on God, so that we do not become distracted by the fleeting pleasures of this world. Many of the activities we label as "Entertainment" are really allurements of the devil designed to draw our hearts away from God. A popular song writer once penned the words "Just one look, that's all it took", and these very words found their fulfillment in the life of Samson, one of the earlier Judges of Israel.

Samson, like so many Christians, grew up in a God-fearing household, having a good understanding of the instructions and warnings, given to guard the feet of the unwary. But like so many of us, he decided to mingle on a casual basis with those who had not the fear of God before their face, and the sure result found fulfillment in a life that was cut short, because he did not keep his heart with all diligence. With Samson, as with so many Christians, all it took was just "One look". Let's read:

Judges 14:1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.

This "One look" was enough to derail Samson spiritually to the point where the heartfelt entreaties of his parents to the contrary, fell on deaf ears. Let's read:

Judges 14:3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

It is very possible that if Samson's eyes had not beheld the fatal beauty of the woman of Timnath, that he would not have rushed headlong into one of satan's most successful snares. But the sight of beauty triggered desire, and desire in turn trumped principle, which, as the word of God declares, ends in death, literally.

When Christians venture on satan's enchanted ground, we should be aware that he has the power to infuse thoughts into our minds that were not previously there, and if these are not immediately repulsed, they take root and spring up, bringing a bitter harvest of shame, guilt,and in some cases, actual physical death.

The manager of a popular band I used to play in was one of the most handsome men that a woman could desire. Tall and good-looking, with lots of the niceties of life at his disposal, he was the envy of all wherever he went. But like Samson, he fell a prey to someone, by taking "Just one look". The illicit affair continued for a while until he suddenly began to experience dramatic weight-loss. After visiting the doctor on several occasions, he was finally admitted to the main hospital, where it was discovered that he had contracted the Aids virus.

This experience took place in the 1980's, when very little was known about the disease, and no cures were available. As a result, our once jovial manager, with a bright future before him, succumbed to the Aids virus and died a slow agonizing death, being among the very first casualties of the deadly disease. How did it all begin? "Just one look", hence the reason why the passage for today stresses the importance for us to keep our hearts with all diligence. In accordance with this important instruction, we should not permit our minds to dwell on anything of a demoralizing nature, but should rather ask God for help to stay focused on Christ, and on eternal realities. This is what is meant in the following verse. Let's read:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We are not able to keep ourselves from falling, only God can do that, however, He requires that by His grace, we cooperate with Him by not deliberately or carelessly placing ourselves where the forces and agents of satan are firmly entrenched. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that tells us of the method by which we can fully cooperate with God in the process of sanctification. Let's read:

Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

If by the grace of God, this counsel is adopted and diligently carried out, there isn't any temptation that will cause us to stumble, for we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us. May we contemplate the meaning of these things, and may practical godliness form an integral part of our daily experience. God bless!