I’ve often struggled in what it looks like to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul and mind. Jesus said that doing so was obedience to the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37). What comes out of our hearts when we love God, through our relationship with Christ as Savior, is the second greatest commandment. We are enabled to love our neighbors as ourselves. Those who annoy us, serve us, teach us, hate us, or who desperately need us to act - we can love them all because we as sinners have been loved.
Our heart is the seat of an obedient life, and it impacts our ability to sync with the will of God. Both Christ in the New Testament and Solomon of the Old Testament considered the heart to be a significant factor in our relationship to God. We must protect it so that what comes out of us is the life of the redeemed in Christ, not a life controlled by sinful desire.
Proverbs 4:20-27 offers some practical wisdom on how to guard your heart so that you can live wholly devoted to God in Christ. How do you disallow sin to be your driving force for decisions? How do you practically allow the Spirit of God to minister to you so that you can continually behold new life in Christ?
First, Proverbs commends a wise son (just as applicable to a daughter) to receive instruction. This doesn’t mean you wait around for someone to confront you on sin in your life, or that you idly rest in nominal Christianity. In Proverbs, wisdom must be sought after as a treasure. That means you have to situate yourself in a place to receive instruction and give honor to what is good. You actively humble yourself to faithful Christians who are more wise than yourself. Where have you placed yourself? Under whom are you learning to be a perseverant saint?
Secondly, you choose a straight path. This means that daily choices reflect the same values as when you sit in church. They are based on a redeemed relationship in Christ. Walking a straight path is difficult when your heart is not fully devoted to God. Most of us choose devotion to ourselves, love interests or even food – much more readily than we do Christ. Our choices should reflect our devotion to God in Christ, a place of humility as God’s grace is heaped upon us to do what is right.
It really is that simple. Humble yourself to a place of learning, and seek out a Biblical teacher who will instruct you on a faithful Christian life. And start making choices that keep you on the right path, a protection for your heart in Christ.
(C) by Kendra Hinkle 2008.