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July 6 – Keeping the heart

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 

Scripture reading: Proverbs 4:20-27

Heart in the Bible refers to the inner you; where you think, feel with emotion and make decisions about what you will do. It defines who you are because as a man “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

We like to think that we are good-hearted people, but the Bible disagrees. It tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked.” We all need to cry out with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” God does this renewing creative work in us as we turn from sin and look in faith to Jesus (Ezekiel 36:26). Now we can love God and make good decisions.

But be careful. Our Proverb urges us to keep our hearts “with all diligence.” Guard them with care and let them direct your life as God intends. We need to know how to do this.

The Psalmist leads us in the way when he says that he hides God’s word in his heart “That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). Then think in harmony with God’s word like the righteous man in Psalm 1 whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Set your affections on God’s ways and act accordingly. That will keep your heart focused on God and you can say with the Psalmist, “I delight to do Your will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8).

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for hearts to be renewed and guarded by God’s word.

Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.


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