Yesterday I came across this very good sermon, “Caring for your soul” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, which was based on Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the spring of life.”
The following quotes are from this sermon:
You might say, “Well, only God can keep my heart.” That is like the farmer saying, “Only God can make my harvest grow,” and so he sits around twiddling his thumbs. Here God gives us a command, an active duty. This is something that God calls his people to do.
When you become a Christian, God gives you a new heart, a heart that loves God, a heart that trusts God. If anyone is in Christ he or she is a new creation: The old has gone, the new has come. But God also says to us: Keep your heart!
John Flavel wrote a book called, “Keeping the Heart,” in which he says,
“The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God. The greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God.”
Another wise writer was a man called Octavius Winslow, who began one of his books with these words:
If there is one consideration more humbling than another (any other) to a spiritually minded believer, it is that, after all God has done for him,after rich displays of his grace, the patience and tenderness of His instructions, the repeated discipline of his covenant, the tokens of love received, and the lessons of experience learned, there should still exist in the heart a principle, the tendency of which is to secret, perpetual, and alarming departure from God.
After all that God has done for you; after all your experience as a Christian; after all your service as a missionary or as a Christian leader, or however you serve the Lord, there still exists in your heart a pulling away from God. It is secret, and it is perpetual, and it is alarming.
John Bunyan is famous for writing “Pilgrim’s Progress.” But he wrote another book called “Holy War” in which he pictured the soul as a walled city surrounded by enemies. There are enemies outside the city who need to be resisted, and there are traitors inside the city who need to be tracked down and exposed.
The heart of a Christian is like a city that needs to be guarded. Your heart needs constant defending against the enemies on the outside and the traitors hidden inside your heart: “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
The full sermon can be found here.