A Resolution to Contemplate
It is again that time of year. A New Year is dawning, ready to see the old year fade away. A new start, a new beginning, a new day of sorts, so what are we to do with it as Christians? As always, New Years resolutions from A to Z abound every where. Are any kept successfully? Can they be kept successfully? How can they be kept successfully? Let’s take a look at one that is worth shooting at. For if we aim at nothing, we will surely miss everything! For this one item, as King Solomon mentions, the wisest man, second only to Jesus, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us we should guard, above all else, with all diligence, the heart from which flow all the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23: "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." The NIV states it as, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Above all else, above all studies, above your greatest interest, study your heart. It will be a hard, difficult, time consuming effort, but O, what aches it will save you! Jesus says that out of the heart come a cesspool of evil thoughts, deeds of coveting, wickedness, and a host of other ugly things. No one can understand the heart. Out of the heart these evil things proceed and defile the man.
It will be our greatest business in life to keep, guard, and watch over our hearts. John Flavel, English Puritan says, "The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterwords. The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God, and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God." It must be guarded protectively, looked after vigilantly, and watched over attentively.
And it must be done diligently. The word diligently is only used eight times in scripture. It is a steady, earnest, and energetic effort at accomplishing things. Solomon states in Prov.12:27, that this possession is precious in God's eyes, highly valuable, prized, splendid, and so it will be for us if we can carry out this order, this duty, this command of guarding our hearts. For what the heart is to the body, the soul is to man, and what health is to the heart, holiness is to the soul. To preserve the soul (heart) from sin, and falling out of communion with God should be at the top of any resolution list that I can dream up. It will not be easy, though the duty is ours, the power must come from God. For without Him we can do nothing.
A closer walk with Thee will be a good place to start. "Walk by the Spirit so that you will not carry out the desires of the flesh” (Gal.5:16). Reading the Word to know the mind of the Spirit, praying to God to know the will of the Spirit. This will take time spent in the closet (Matt.6:6). We must be afraid of entertaining sin. We would not willingly entertain one in our house who had a deadly plague. Speaking, ie, conversation, is key too. With our mouth we bless God, and curse man, made in the image of God. A fountain can not produce both fresh and salt water.(James 3:10,11) But Paul says in Col. 4:6, "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." The Word of God has a remedy, a cordial, instructions that are all-wise for keeping your heart.
John Flavel ends our conversation this year, "Furnish your hearts richly with the Word of God, which is the best preservative against sin. Keep the Word and the Word will keep you. As the first receiving of the Word regenerated your heart, so the keeping of the Word will preserve your heart." Happy New Year! Thank you for spending time here with me this past year!
Elder Randy Slak