Solomon said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” An issue is “something coming forth from a specified source,” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). So, the heart is the source of things concerning life. To keep your heart is to have it in control and to take care of it.
Your heart must be controlled and cared for because it is naturally very wicked. Immediately after the flood, the Lord said, “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” [Gen 8:21]. Everyone starts with the same evil heart. When Jesus replied to the Pharisees’ concerns that eating with unwashen hands defiled a man, he said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man,” [Mk 7:20].
Look at the things that are in your heart. “For from within out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within, and defile the man,” [Mk 7:21-23]. So, when you see these things in the life of others, you know where they are coming from. Just remember that the same things are in your heart that are in theirs. That’s why we must keep our heart.
Notice that deceit is one of the things that comes forth from the heart. Jer 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” It is very easy for a person to not keep his heart but to keep up the “appearance” of a good heart. Jesus quoted Isaiah in Matt 15:7-8 and said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” It is easy to pretend in church.
That’s why you see young people active in church and looking like they have excellent potential. Then one day they just blow out on you. The trouble is they were not keeping their heart. All the wicked things in the heart were stirring around in there and they were not controlling them; they were giving in to them. But in church they were doing lip service. They were deceiving you. And now they are out.
This kind of thing happens in relationships ,too. Amnon loved Tamar and he said that he loved Tamar. He was deceived and he deceived Jonadab. Once he had forced Tamar and even had her permission to request her from the king, he hated her. “Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her,” [2 Sam 13:15]. He was deceived and he had deceived others.
So, when you keep your heart, you acknowledge the evil that’s in your heart and then take measures to keep it. That is, you don’t let the bad things root in and come forth. You take care of your heart by putting good things in there. Here’s how to keep your heart:
Believe in Jesus with all your heart – Acts 8:37; Rom 10:9-10 – that’s what you do when you get saved. When Jesus takes up residence in your heart, you can live a different life than the one coming forth from your heart, naturally. Paul said, “Christ liveth in me,” [Gal 2:20].
Love God with all your heart – Matt 22:37 – thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy sou, and with all thy mind. When you love God with all your heart, you remove the capacity of your heart to manifest the wicked things that are in there.
Let the Spirit fill your heart – Eph 5:18 – we must be filled with the Spirit. Contrast Acts 5:3, “… why hath satan filled thine heart,” Peter asked Ananias. Certainly, if Satan can fill a man’s heart, the Spirit of God can. And if your heart is filled with the Spirit of God, then your heart is going to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and not the works of the flesh [Gal 5:19-23].
Hide God’s words in your heart – Ps 119:11; Jer 15:16 – don’t just memorize scripture in your head; hide it in your heart. When the word of God is in your heart, it cleans you and sanctifies you [Ps 119:9; Jn 15:3; Jn 17:17]. This is one of the greatest ways to deal with the resident wickedness in your heart. The more scripture that gets down in there, the more your life is going to change for the better.
Love others with your whole heart – Matt 22:39 – thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Jn 13:34 that ye love one another [as I have loved you]. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. When you love others with your heart, you are not going to do and say the things against them that your heart might be inclined to do and say. Loving others will help you have compassion on the lost, as well.
Conclusion: you are going to have that wicked heart until you die and get a glorified body. But if you will fill your heart with these things, the wickedness of your heart will not be apparent and you won’t have to be a hypocrite to hide what’s down there. You can keep your heart and your heart will be manifesting wonderful things for the Lord.