A lot of people today are dying from heart related diseases which can be easily prevented by taking great care of one’s diet. I for one, used to love oily and salty foods a lot. The salt shaker was my favorite item on the table. That salty taste plus a lot of anxieties eventually led me to be diagnosed of hypertension.
My problems didn’t end there. I was also a great lover of sugary fizzy drinks. I drank the sugary stuff to dilute the salty thirst! I was soon diagnosed of diabetes. Finally, I woke up to the realization that I was doing a lot of damage to my kidneys, liver and heart. I had to stop the fats, salts and the sugars immediately.
This is the physical aspect of the heart. There is the spiritual aspect, which if heeded would also take care of the physical.
Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. NIV
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. NLT
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. NKJV
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. ESV
Keep vigilant watch over your heart, that’s where life starts. MSG
Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it. GWT
Above all else, guard your heart, watch over it, with all vigilance.
Ø Because everything you do flows from your heart
Ø Because your heart determines the course of your life
Ø Because out of your heart springs the issues which will affect your life
Ø Because out of your heart will flow the springs of your life
Ø Because out of your heart is where your life starts (and most probably ends)
Ø Because the source of your life flows from your heart
These are the amazing truths we discover by reading different Bible versions of such a seemingly insignificant passage of scripture.
Out of your heart… Guard it, keep it, and watch over it, daily, consistently, with all vigilance and diligence. Your life depends on it.
I remember when I was still a young girl and in a boarding school. As the new term began, my father would walk me to the bus stop which was about three kilometres from our home. When we got there he would hand over to me the suitcase which he would have carried for me. Then he would take out from his pocket the exact amount of school tuition fees and neatly tuck the small bundle of cash inside the shoes I was wearing. Then he would count several coins into my hand, exactly equivalent to the bus fare to school.
I was to guard very closely those two sets of cash; for the ticket to school which was in the palm of my hand and the one in my shoes which was to be handed over to the school office upon arrival. Losing or dropping any of those small fortunes would have resulted in no schooling for me; my father always made that very clear.
I loved school, and my grades were always high, and so I had no intention of becoming a school dropout. So I guarded my cash very closely. Every now and again I would squeeze my hand just to feel that the cash was still there and I would pull up my socks higher in case the school fee was climbing out of my shoe!
Today I am a grown up Christian woman, and God has entrusted me with something very special to Him and to me - my heart. It has always been there inside me, beating and pumping. But it was without Christ, without the Holy Spirit. It was full of fear of the unknown - what would happen to me if my father suddenly died and I had no school fees. It was full of mischief - what if I just buy myself some fancy stuff with that school fees and just pretend it fell out of my shoe. My heart was also full of resentment - why didn't my father just give me more?
My heart was full of envy when I Looked at what the other students had that I could not have. I was a bright student and studied hard because I wanted to be noticed. That way I could make up for what I didn't or couldn't have. I was poor, envious, unfriendly, resentful and too serious with basically everything. The only time you would see a hint of a smile on my face was when they were calling out my name for prize giving. And that smile would fade quickly since my parents could not afford the cost of coming to school functions.
But I made it. I didn't know Christ; He was not in my heart. But He knew me, saw all my struggles as I grew up and pursued my heart with love and tenderness. Not human love and tenderness; that failed me too. But as a colleague led me to the Bible and my eyes started to behold what I never knew existed, my heart was transformed, light and life came and I began the journey to life - true life, meaningful life.
I found purpose in life. My life began to flow, in a way that made sense and gave me joy. Certain elements in my life that were big issues of discontent started to evaporate. It was as if the Spirit's flow into my heart was cleaning out all the filth of the yesteryears. I began to breathe easily, laugh with joy, make friends, reach out in reconciliation to those who had hurt me, as well as those that I had hurt as I traveled the road of bitterness.
I now feed my heart daily with God's Word. I don't seem to get enough of Bible reading and Biblical courses. Gone is the gloominess from my heart; now I sing or sing-along Christian music all day long. Prayer comes easy. In difficult seasons I am filled with hope and peace because I know that God is with me. Gone now are the sleepless nights and the anxiety and depressive attacks.
I gave God my dark, sad and bloated heart. He took it, healed it, gave it life and gave it back to me to enjoy.
Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this (earthly) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never be thirsty again. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life". John 4:13-14
I am so thankful for my father who gave me what he could; the earthly water. He gave me a good start in life. Other helps have also come alongside me over the years. But this water, though good for me, was not enough. I also needed the living water that only Christ could give. Now I am overflowing.
Maybe this devotional has touched a raw nerve in your heart. Christ is ready and waiting to give you the eternal water that will quench all your thirst. Be blessed.