Keep thy Heart with all Diligence

Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)

The Lord commands us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23 because our hearts determine the course of our lives. Would you agree that whatever determines our experiences in life is of utmost importance to us? So what does it mean to keep your heart?

To unravel this command, we must understand the term “heart” as used in this verse. Solomon uses heart here to describe something we can control or guard. Therefore, the heart refers to our conscious inner life, classically categorized as our thoughts, feelings, and will. This emphasis is significant because the term heart can refer to the human spirit, soul, or everything inside us( spirit and soul). Here, it refers to everything inside of us from a practical perspective. Solomon is simply referring to what we know about and interact with daily—our thoughts, emotions, and will (desires, decisions)

How do you keep your heart? The term “keep” means watching over something or protecting it from injury, harm, or danger. Imagine how presidential guards protect presidents. Similarly, God says you should protect your heart as these armed guards protect important personalities. This implies there are things in life attempting to injure or influence our thoughts, emotions, and decisions. If they succeed, they will control us as we control TVs with remotes. For example, if someone makes us bitter, they might control us remotely for the next 25 or even 50 years of your life if we allow it.

So this is God’s command: diligently protect your thoughts, feelings, and desires/decisions because these things determine the life you live every day.

Read more: The Hidden Man of the Heart.

Please take a moment to think carefully and mutter the verse above?

Do you genuinely believe Proverbs 4:23 above? God says your life results from the thoughts, feelings, and desires you keep. Be proactive and protect your heart: remove what does not need to be there, increase what has to be there, and close its doors against harmful or useless vices.

Ask the Spirit of the Lord to help you protect your heart diligently.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7–8, KJV)

Jehovah Mekaddishkem showing washing gloves, cleaning fluid and sponge

As the Great I AM that I AM, God revealed Himself as the Lord who sanctifies His people in the Old Covenant—Jehovah Mekaddishkem. But this was only a shadow of something greater that was coming in the New Testament.

Jehovah Mekaddishkem is the English transliteration of the Hebrew words for “I am the Lord which sanctify you” ( “mekaddish” = sanctify, “kem” = you). Divine names and titles in the Old Testament often reveal an aspect of God in relation to His people.

There are three keywords that underlie the meaning of sanctification: “wash,” “consecrate,” and “separate.” Sanctification essentially means to make something holy. Sinlessness is a core aspect of holiness, but there is more to holiness than sinlessness. It is the very nature of God. However, when used in reference to us humans, it means to be cleaned from sin, set apart for God, and consecrated to Him.

In the passage above, God tells the people first to sanctify themselves and then reveals He is the One who sanctifies them. Thus, He gives us the two sides of sanctification—the God side and the human side. There’s something God does and something His people do for their sanctification.

This truth was only a shadow in the Old Testament. It is in Christ that we see God fully revealed as Jehovah Mekaddishkem to His people through the sanctifying work on the cross. In speaking to the Corinthians, Paul revealed,

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV)

This is Jehovah Mekaddishkem fulfilled in Christ: We were washed and sanctified. Note that these are in past tense, describing something God has already done. The day you received Christ, you received the bath of your life, a heavenly bath by the Spirit of God that removed every stain of sin through the precious blood of Christ. And as you continue to live on earth, the Spirit continues to sanctify you daily.

Following the sanctifying work He has already done in us, He commands us,

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, KJV)

Now that you are clean, washed, and sanctified, He tells us to put that sanctification to work outwardly. Paul explicit states it is what God wants—His will. He gives us a very specific example of sanctification here: abstain from sexual immorality. Few things defile us, like sexual impurity. But sanctification certainly includes more than abstaining from fornication or adultery. As above, it includes living a consecrated and separated life to God daily in the way we talk, act, think, feel, and handle our bodies.

He is Jehovah Mekaddishkem, the God who has Sanctified you in Christ and continues to sanctify you every day.

Meditate

Is our sanctification completed, ongoing, or both?

Apply the Word

This is the crucial part of this devotional. Until you receive the truth that God has already sanctified you by His Spirit, you will not be empowered to be sanctified practically. Put God’s sanctification power to work in your life daily by faith in the finished work of Christ.

Pray

Ask the Lord to help you in your daily walk of sanctification.

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