A Life-or-Death Matter

Make no mistake! Your heart is under siege. Like marauding hordes surrounding a fortress, advertisers, porn moguls, and media mavens scheme to find a point of entry. They lob projectiles and drop subtle baits, looking for weaknesses, and shout taunts, hoping to gain an entrance. They want in so they can bring you under their subjection.

At first glance, you may think I’m being overly dramatic. But take it from a guy whose job involves picking up the pieces of broken lives. I’m offering a glimpse of reality as I experience it and as many others have shared their stories with me. Substance abuse, porn addiction, adultery, abandonment, embezzlement, fraud, double lives suddenly exposed and wreaking havoc on everyone—I’ve seen the devastation and pain of it all. Interestingly, every case has one factor in common: a heart that gradually became corrupted, beginning with what could be termed a “fatal first.” (More on that later.) After we have done a little digging into this subject, I trust you will realize how dangerous this daily grind can be.

As we begin, you may recall that, in Solomon’s writings, heart rarely refers to the physical organ. We learned earlier that heart refers to our inner being, our seat of consciousness, our core of decision-making, the center of our mind, our emotions, and our will. In fact, the Hebrew term appears in this context more than seventy times in Proverbs alone. So when I address an “unguarded heart” this week, I have in mind the responsibility we have to guard our inner selves from enemy invasion.

Clearly, Solomon considered this particular advice a matter of life or death . . . literally. He wrote, “For [these words] are life to those who find them and health to all their body” (Proverbs 4:22). In other words, this counsel will not only keep you from dying, but it will help you truly live. Not merely exist, but live! This counsel will also help you enjoy good health and avoid the negative physical consequences of sin.

The core message appears in verses 23–27, which can be outlined this way:

  1. What we must do (v. 23a)
  2. Why we must do it (v. 23b)
  3. How we can do it (vv. 24–27)


From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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