Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 19, 1964

"Keep Thy Heart"

Lloyd Moyer

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23) This brief statement reveals the basic principle upon which our spiritual life rests. Without proper understanding of and sincere obedience to this principle, all religious activity becomes mere formality. It is a "form of Godliness" but denies the power therof.

I believe the failure to understand and properly apply this principle is the reason so many people are so neglectful and indifferent concerning spiritual things. It is not uncommon to see members of the church who allow petty things to keep them from attending the services of the Lord's church. It is quite apparent that many members do not study the word of the Lord, nor are they interested in studying because they will not attend the Bible classes. Covetousness and worldliness in the lives of members of the church are but a result of their not "keep (ing) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Solomon said of man, "For as he thinketh in his heart so is he...." (Prov. 23:7) Jesus said, "....for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matt. 12:34) On another occasion Jesus said, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man' " (Matt. 15:19,20) The way a person talks and acts simply reveals the kind of person he (or she) really is. No wonder we have the command to "keep thy heart."

The phrase, "keep thy heart with all diligence," means "above all keeping." In other words, above all things, "keep thy heart." I am fearful that very few people keep this commandment which is the basis upon which rests ALL other things in our service to God. If even half the effort was put forth in keeping the heart as is put forth in keeping the physical body, more righteousness would be manifest in the lives of the members of the church. Since all that we do in God's service must be done from "the heart," it becomes necessary that we know what the heart is and how to "keep" it.

Thayer says that the heart is "the centre and seat of spiritual life, the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.... inner man...." Page 325.

The Bible teaches that we "think with our hearts." (Proverbs 23:7) We understand with the heart. (Matthew 13:15) We "believe with the heart." (Romans 10:10) We "reason" with the heart. (Matthew 2:8) We "obey" from the heart, (Romans 6:17) We must draw nigh to God with "a true heart." (Hebrews 10:22) We must "love one another with a pure heart." (1 Peter 1:22) We must "sanctify the Lord God in your (our) hearts." (I Pet. 3:15) We must "let the peace of God rule in your (our) hearts." (Col. 3:15) God is able to "discern the thought and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12) We must "give" as we have purposed in our "hearts." (2 Cor. 9:7) There are many other things which could be mentioned, but these are enough for us to see that the heart is truly the "fountain" from which all spiritual service flows. If the fountain is contaminated, then all that flows from it will be impure. Hence, Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8)

We "purify" our hearts by obeying the truth. (1 Peter 1:22) Jesus said, "Thy word is truth." (John 17:17) Again He said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) How does the truth make us free? The answer is found in the second chapter of Acts. When the truth had been preached the people were "pricked in their hearts," and asked, What shall we do? They believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Peter told them to repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:37, 38) This would give them "remission of sins." Or as Peter put it, "purify your hearts in obeying the truth." The next question is, How do we "keep our hearts," souls, minds; which are the "fountain" of spiritual life?

The Holy Spirit guided the apostle Paul to say, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:3-5) The weapon which children of God are to use is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph. 6:17) Thus we learn that the word of God is the only thing that is able to cast down the vain imaginations of man and bring his thinking into obedience of Christ. Please remember, as we think in our hearts, so are we. Now we see the importance of allowing the word of God to guide our thinking. This is why there are so many admonitions in the scriptures to study. We must meditate on the word of God both day and night — that is, continually be governed by God's word. To do this is to "keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

It is my plea that every member of the Lord's church will study diligently the word of God every day. Attend ALL Bible classes, Go hear the gospel preached every time it is possible. Discuss the teaching of the scriptures with friends and brethren on every occasion presented. By doing these things you will be "keep(ing) thy heart."

— 41325 Kathlean, Fremont, California