Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Guard

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
-Proverbs 4:23

A few weeks ago in my church John Neufeld, a former counselor and pastor, spoke on this verse. Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) believed that the most important thing above all else was to guard your heart. I remember in Seminary being taught that in the Jewish understanding of things, the heart wasn't separate from the soul and mind - they are all one entity. As followers of God guarding our hearts is one of the most important things we can do.

So how do we do this? John had a fairly simple sermon which suggested three ways to guard our hearts:

1. Read the words of God.
2. Memorize the words of God.
3. Meditate on the words of God.

Disappointed? I was a bit. But as he explained how powerful these practices were I was very moved. He shared about how in his decades of counselling he has never counselled a couple in trouble where both people read the Word on a daily basis! Of course he admitted this was possible, he has just never seen it. He also talked about how if you know how to worry, you can meditate. So for the last week and half I have been memorizing Proverbs 4:23 (I'm a fast reader and slow memorizer) and reading/meditating on Psalm 119. I'm trying to get into the habit of guarding my heart, above all else.

There was something about this simple, almost old-fashioned sermon that touched me very deeply. I fought back tears - something I don't do a lot in church and a sign to me that God was saying something important to me. I need to start guarding my heart and reading his Word more consistently, making it a higher priority again. And already I have noticed a difference. I feel more sensitive to sin and my own predisposition to it. I'm becoming more careful, more on guard of things that could hurt my heart. Thanks John for a sermon I needed to hear . . .


Aneta said...

"if you know how to worry, you can meditate" -- good thought!

I've been listening to dailyaudiobible.com on my ipod for the past year, and it's amazing how much more meaningful the Bible is to me now. A great way to 'read' the Bible.

Dayna said...

timely post, mark. i've also been challenged lately about not only reading the Word, but meditating on it... is there a website where i can listen to this sermon?

Leanne said...

Dayna - website is http://www.cornerstonealliance.ca/messages.html

Mark - that message was so timely for me as well. Maybe I'll blog about it...I'm overdue for a post.

Mark said...

Aneta: I've tried audio versions of the Bible and they don't work that great for me - but I' glad they work for you!
Dayna: Meditating is good. For me it means not just reading quickly but stopping and savoring certain words, expressions, verses, and thoughts. Letting them percolate a little. And then returning to them.
Lee: Thanks for posting that link! I look forward to your next blog post (it has been awhile).