“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

There’s no doubt that our emotional well-being is extremely important. But that’s not what this verse is talking about. We often remember verse 23 more because it has a nice ring to it, using metaphors and emotions. That’s not a bad thing. It helps us to remember it so that we might apply it to our lives. But in order to truly apply verse 23, we have to see it in light of verse 13 and all the verses in between.

“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:13-23, NIV).

Verse 13 appeals that we hold onto God’s wisdom. For us, that means the Bible. We’re engaged in spiritual warfare, in which Satan and his demons are trying to keep us from reading God’s Word. God’s Word is our life. It tells us how to live. It tells us everything we need to know about God.

Verses 14 and 15 give us practical ways to guard God’s Word in us. Don’t walk on the wicked path.
Walk on your own path, which ought to be according to God’s Word.

Verses 16-19 describe the wicked person and compare him to the righteous person.

Verses 20-23 return to the command to hold onto God’s Word.

The heart (verse 21) in the Old Testament is a symbol not only of the emotions, but of the mind.

So verses 13 and 23 essentially say the same thing. Cling to God’s Word, and never let it go.

Pastor Chris Huff

Pastor Chris Huff has been with us since July 2009.  He and his wife, Abby, have four children.  Chris is originally from St. Louis, MO and even though he was raised as a city boy, he has a small town heart. Chris is all over the internet, so you can find him on Facebook, Twitter,… (read more)

Bible Passages: Proverbs 4:13-23
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