Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.
How does God intend for us to live? The book of Proverbs beautifully takes practical matters, interweaves the spiritual, and makes life the beautiful thing God wants it to be. When a person knows God and is right with God, they will find they live a perfectly natural, intensely practical, and deeply spiritual life all at the same time. That’s what God intends.
“Keep your heart with all diligence...”
In the Old Testament the word “heart” is used more than 800 times, but more than 200 times it deals with the thought life, the emotions, the wellsprings of life, those things that motivate and mold us. The Bible calls that the heart. I’m calling it the thought life.
The Majesty of the Thought Life
Why is the thought life so important? Why did Solomon tell his son, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life?” Because the thought life controls the rest of your life.
If you tell me what you think, I’ll tell you who you are and the life you live. What you think is what you are. The thought life controls you. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 3:7).
Your thoughts—positive, negative, good, or bad—control your attitudes. Your attitudes are the sum total of your thoughts. Your attitudes lead to your actions.
The thought is the father of the deed.
All good psychologists will tell you that. Someone once said, “Sow a thought, reap a deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
What are you going to achieve in life?
Before you can do a thing you have to think it. Your thoughts lead to attitudes; attitudes lead to actions; actions lead to those achievements. It all begins with the thought life. Your achievements will be the sum total of your thoughts.
This is so fundamental that God destroyed an entire civilization because they had “heart trouble.”
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually before God.” Genesis 6:5
God said, “The thoughts of their heart are so evil, I’m going to have to destroy them,” and He sent the flood because of the thoughts of men’s hearts. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. We’re still having the same problem they had.
The Mastery of the Thought Life
“Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
When God gets ready to change someone, how does He do it? By changing how they think. God changes the thought process.
What Solomon said to his son was, “Son, guard, protect, and be careful of your thought life. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to present our bodies to Him, including our minds, that He might transform us. No wonder the devil battles for the mind. How important that we learn to keep our hearts, because a fierce battle is raging for the control of your mind.
When God is in the heart, then we think right, live right, do right. When God is absent, we think wrong, do wrong, live wrong.
How am I going to guard my thought life?
Be careful what comes into your mind. You have to think pure thoughts. Now, a text without a context is a pretext, so context is important. In this passage Solomon is talking about the sexual affairs of a young man. Solomon is warning his son about having impure, immoral thoughts in his heart and life.
Let me tell you something wonderful. God made you where you can’t think two things at one time. So how do you keep from thinking what’s wrong? Just think what’s right. And if you’re thinking what’s right, you cannot be thinking what’s wrong.
It’s another way of saying, “Just load up on My Word. Get My Word into your heart.”
- “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”
- “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.”
- “With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:9-11)
Store up on the word of God.
How are you going to think pure thoughts? By thinking positive thoughts. Not thinking about flowers and birds and trees, but the mighty Word of God. “The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Get it in your heart. It has power to cleanse and keep you.
The Ministry of the Thought Life
From your thought life and through your thought life God wants to minister to you. A God-controlled thought life will—
- Govern your speech (v. 24)
- Guard your sight (v. 25)
- Guide your steps (v. 27)
If you want to know what is in your heart, just listen to what escapes your mouth. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). As they say in the country, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.”
When your mind is clear and right with God, when you think the thoughts of Christ after Him, when you have the mind of Christ, when you’re being transformed by the word of God and the power of God and the Spirit of God in your thought life, then you’re going to be doing the will of God.
God has a plan for you, a wonderful plan. The book of Proverbs shows you His plan for having health, wealth, and wisdom. It begins in your thought life.