By Tope Banso
GUARD YOUR HEART WITH ALL DILIGENCE
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 New Living Translation).
Your heart is very central to all you do in life. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do” (New Living Translation). The heart referred to here is not the muscular organ that pumps blood through the body.
The Hebrew word translated heart in this scripture is leb, which means, “the inner man, the mind, the will, the heart, understanding the inner part, the midst” (Online Bible Thayer’s Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon).
The World English Bible says out of your heart is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23b). In other words, your heart is the source of all life. According to the Young’s Literal Translation, out of your heart are the outgoings of life. The Bible in Basic English renders Proverbs 4:23 thus: “And keep watch over your heart with all care; so you will have life.”
Satan always wants to possess your heart by sowing evil seeds there. If that happens, your heart becomes a fertile soil for breeding sin. Matthew 15:19-20 gives us a list of sins, which it describes as thoughts, and remarks that all of them proceeds from the heart, and defiles one. This means that before anyone commits a sin, it first exists in his heart as a thought. You must protect your thought life.
No wonder Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” (Acts 5:3 New King James Version). And as a man thinks in his heart so he is (Proverbs 23:7a).
Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? Only the LORD. He searches the heart and tests the mind, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (verse 10). Therefore, you must protect, keep or guard your heart with all diligence.
How do you guard your heart?
You need a renewing of your mind; you need to receive a new mind, which is the mind of God. You will thereby be able to unlearn the wrong things you’ve learnt before. Your thoughts and choices are then guided by the Word of God. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (New King James Version).
You cannot renew your mind yourself. You can only expose your mind to the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit will transform your mind in line with the Word you’ve exposed your mind to. The New Living translation renders Romans 12:2 thus: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”
Did you see that phrase? – God will transform you into a new person. God does that through the Holy Spirit working on the Word of God you have received.
In addition, keep the Word of God in your heart. Don’t just read or study the Word and forget about it. Keep it in your heart, so that when temptation comes, you have different scriptures coming up in your heart to tell you what God says and why you must not do what the devil is telling you to do. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (New Living Translation). That’s why you should meditate on the Word of God day and night (Joshua 1:8). The Bible talks a lot about meditation.
What more must you do? Keep the gates to your heart from any sinful thought. These gates are your eyes, mouth, ears, mind and feet (activities) (Proverbs 4:20-27). So what do you do? Don’t watch (or read), hear, say and think what will make you fall into temptation, and don’t go where you’ll be tempted.
There’s a time to stand to resist the devil and he’ll flee (James 4:7; Hebrews. 12:4). And there’s a time that in order to resist the devil, you’re the one who must flee from temptation; you don’t stand there commanding to flee the person Satan is using to tempt you! Joseph had to run away from Mrs. Potiphar (Genesis 39:7-13).
The Bible says you should abstain or keep from all appearance of evil or every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). And that is why Psalm 1:1says you should avoid walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of the scornful. “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22 New King James Version).
There’s no way you can be exposing your eyes and mind to pornographic materials that you’ll be able to withstand sexual temptation. You can’t be listening to sexually suggestive songs and be able to keep yourself holy. It’s impossible for you to be engaged in foolish talk and unbefitting jokes, and not go deeper into sin.
Ephesians 5:3-5 says, “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks. Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God” (World English Bible).
You have to discipline yourself just as Job did, making a covenant with his eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman (Job 31:1). David failed in this regard and committed sexual immorality with Bathsheba, plus killing the husband to cover up (2 Samuel 11). But David’s sin found him out.
Protect your heart. Don’t let Satan enter into you. “Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went over to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them” (Luke 22:3-4 New Living Translation).
Don’t harbour any sinful desire in your heart. Don’t tolerate it. Evil desires give birth to temptations, and temptations result in sins. (James 1:4). You can’t gain victory over evil or sinful thoughts by resisting them, but by replacing them with godly thoughts.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 New Living Translation). Guard your heart with all diligence.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: I shall keep watch over my heart with all care in Jesus’ name. Satan shall not fill my heart with evil and sinful thoughts.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 260 in-depth and insightful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso, heads Cedar Ministry, International, Abuja, Nigeria,
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947.
How do I guard my spirit and mind in the face of competing desires of today?
By Tope Banso