Readings for the Day
Proverbs 4-6, Romans 8
Verses for the Day
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
The Proverbs are part of what is called "wisdom literature" in the bible. Wisdom is personified, and in this case has words to say to a "son". In some ways we can make a parallel between Jesus and His Heavenly Father, when he lived on earth. Jesus is also been said to personify "wisdom", as the wisdom from God come down to earth.
In this Proverb the focus is on the son paying attention to the "words of wisdom". Not only should the son pay attention to these words, but he should always keep them in his sight, and keep them within his heart. So it is not just seeing and hearing the words but hiding them in his heart. In the Old Testament, unlike sometimes today, the heart and mind are not bifurcated into merely feelings and thoughts. The heart in Jewish thinking was the center of the will, and out of which all actions flowed.
That is why wisdom says, "above all else, guard your heart as it is the wellspring of all life". The heart is like a fountain where either clean, life giving water flows, or brackish water. When we look at our actions they usually stem from our heart condition. That was the problem of legalism, it didn't measure the heart. Jesus said in Matthew speaking to a primarily Jesus audience, "It is not what comes from outside a person that makes a person unclean, but what flows from what is inside of them through their hearts."
So wisdom tells us to guard our hearts above all else. Meaning put as first priority our heart condition. How do we do this? By focusing on God's Word. And we know that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. So how can a young person keep their heart pure? By focusing on and listening and learning to follow Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can change our heart condition, as we hear the Good News and live according to it.
What is your heart condition like? You might look at what is coming out of you? Your thoughts, your words and your actions. The only way we can change what comes out of us, is to experience transformation on the inside. Above all things guard your heart, because everything else in your life will flow from it.