Mark 4: 24 "Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you--and more [beside] will be given to you who hear".
Guard your heart with all diligence out of it comes the issues that govern life Proverb 4: 20-23
What does it mean to Guard? It means” to keep diligent watch over to prevent intruders”,” to protect against invasion”. Expressly we have an instruction here – “Guard your heart with all diligence”. In other words, keep diligent watch and prevent intruders from getting into your heart, diligently protect your heart from an intruder or trespassers, why, because out of it flows the issues that govern life. The forces that govern life flow from your heart. What flows out of you determines how well your life turns out. Jesus said “it is not what goes into a man that defiles a man but what comes out of him”. Good and evil flows from a man’s heart to change the direction of the man’s life, so also does good decisions and bad decisions, good answers and bad answers, good thoughts and toxic thoughts, excitement or depression.
Sometimes we assume that it is what is outside of us that makes us happy or define our lives, things like a new house, a new car, plenty of friends, money in the bank, until we started seeing celebrities commit suicide, new house owners that are depressed, a socialite who is lonely, millionaire who still steal. All of a man’s actions, reactions and inactions are a product of t the content of the man’s heart. Shakespeare said “there is not act to see the content of a man’s heart on his face”. However, if you track the outcome of a man’s life, you can tell what the content of his heart has been. Why? Because:
1. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It will show up in your speech, just wait.
2. A man’s outcome in life is a product of the seed that he sows, especially in himself. If a man sows seed of pornography, he will be promiscuous. If he allows greed invade his heart, he will cheat and steal, if he allows godly, thankful and success thoughts invade his heart, he will act likewise (Galatians 6: 7-8).
3. The real personality of a man is what he thinks in his mind. If he thinks evil thought long enough, he will act it, if he thinks and promotes good thoughts long enough, he will act it. Hence the war of attention (Proverbs 23: 7a).
4. The direction of a man’s life is a product of the content of his heart.
The war of attention:
1. Every man has control over what he exposes his minds to. Yes the media may put up some, but you have control over your expose yourself to. The weather may be hot or cold, rainy or dry, but nobody abandons himself to whatever nature has to give, no we control our own environment as much as we can. Whether rich or poor, we always endeavour to exercise our maximum control on our environment or else protect ourselves from it caprices. Why do we think our hearts should be treated differently? We cannot abandon ourselves uncontrolled to absorb all the caprices and the evils that go on around especially on television. We can’t keep letting every tom, dick and harry become our friends and influence us, nobody goes to the centre of a hurricane because he wants to belong, why would we put ourselves in the centre of capricious thought and understanding because we want to belong. No that is an evil under the sun. We need to begin to determine what we expose ourselves to.
2. People have said for a long time that there is a war going on for the souls of men, but nobody has said anything about the subject of the war. It is a fight to get the attention of men. If godliness gets your attention, then godliness will pervade the life of the man. If ungodliness wins the war, then the man is in trouble. But you are the confirming witness. You decide what wins or loses.
3. You have the ultimate responsibility for what gets into your heart. It is what you choose to pay attention to that gets in. It is your responsibility to guard your heart with all diligence. You know, oftentimes we think we should be able to control the direction of our lives and then we complain how bad our morality and spirituality is getting. But we do not realize that we are fighting the tip of the iceberg, leaving the real issues. What are you looking for in the bars or night-clubs? What are you looking for on the “rated” TV channel? What are you looking for with that bad company? Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character (I Cor. 15: 33). We fight wars of morality in our different closets but we have dealt with the root issues - what is getting our attention and invade our heart.
4. The issues that invade our heart are not absorbed involuntarily. We can voluntarily control what gets into our heart otherwise God will not ask us to guard our heart. Someone may say it is my “orientation”, it is not. You accepted it, change it. You are always the confirming witness. The battle is lost and won with you only. Whoever you subject yourself to wins.
Good people have been known to become bad men because they allowed the wrong things invade their heart. Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners. He that walks with the wise shall become wise, and a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Bad people have become good, poor have become rich, sick have been healed, lost have been saved, the misdirected have been redirected, criminals have become renowned preachers and teachers of the word of God, because they changed what the content of their heart and after that, jealously guarded it against intruders.
Memory verse: Mark 4: 24 "Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you--and more [beside] will be given to you who hear".