Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from our lips.
Sometimes God keeps bringing verses back around until He gets your attention. I keep coming back to the above verses. Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Watch what words are flowing from your mouth, and keep your speech clean and encouraging. And I love it when God connects His Word with this world in a unique way.
I was watching a TV show featuring gold miners, and at one point the mine owner was driving around checking everything when he noticed the water flowing from the plant into the creek was dirty…really dirty! He immediately radioed his crew and shut the sluice down to stop the water. They explained that the water being returned to the creek should be clear or they would face severe fines or even risk being shut down permanently. They knew that polluting the creek would lead to disastrous results and spent a week correcting the problem. The fix was costly and time consuming, but ignoring it had the potential to cause serious and far-reaching environmental problems and ultimately could have ended their business.
Do you see the connection? What flows out of our hearts must be monitored. Failing to do so can result in serious harm not only to ourselves but to those around us. How do we do this? One way is to take a look at our words. If perverse (coarse, unwholesome, wicked) or corrupt (crooked, rotten, unethical) words are habitually flying out of our mouths, then we can be pretty sure that our hearts have been polluted. Keep in mind that this includes words we say to others and words that we say about ourselves. Negative self-talk is a sure sign that the waters are dirty.
What if you manage to keep these perverse and corrupt thoughts to yourself but they inhabit your mind or heart? Well, verse 24 says to keep these things far from your lips and to be free of them. Allowing negativity, anger, pride, and a score of other heart damaging pollutants to dwell inside you is like storing hazardous wastes in your home … eventually leaks will occur. The results will ultimately lead to results such as broken relationships, loss of integrity, poor self-image, depression, anxiety, and missed opportunities to bless others and thrive spiritually.
I love that God gives us the solution in verse 23. Above all else, guard your heart. Above all else. Above the desire to please your friends, family, boyfriend, classmates, coworkers, or boss, guard your heart first. Take note of harmful feelings, thoughts, and habits that are trying to insinuate their way into your life. Then, with the power of the Holy Spirit evict them immediately. Guard your heart.
This makes me pause again because I’m not strong enough or wise enough to guard my heart against all that comes against it! I don’t think any of us are. If we were strong enough on our own, we wouldn’t need God to help us. I don’t know about you, but I need God to help me do absolutely everything. When I leave Him out of my plans, things go wrong real fast.
The actual solution, then, is to turn to your Creator and ask Him to guard your heart. He’s given us spiritual armor (the breastplate of righteousness, Ephesians 6:14) to help us be ready for each day’s battle. And if you see that your heart is in need of a good cleanout, He will create in you a clean heart.
God will lovingly show you where the problem is. He’ll gently lead you to repentance and restoration. And then you can watch the fresh, clear waters flow from your heart and look in wonder as God brings forth fruit and abundance where there was once stagnation and rot.
Trust the process of God’s restoration. You may need to face some things you’ve been hiding from, but the effort of cleaning out those waste dumps will be worth every tear. And those healing tears will begin the flow of fresh water streaming from your newly cleansed heart.
God bless and may His love refresh the spark in your life.