Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (for it determines the course of your life-NLT).
If indeed the course of our life is determined by what is in our heart, it makes perfect sense to keep (or GUARD) our heart with all diligence. Random thoughts may fly through our minds which are worthless or even bad, but unless these thoughts make it into our hearts, we have little to be concerned about.
Many people over the years have fallen into intense condemnation because of misunderstanding what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
The key to understanding this verse and hundreds of others which deal with similar situations lies in the words looketh on . This is NOT referring to a casual glance or a random thought. This is speaking of a continuous looking. In other words, the person who keeps on looking is already guilty of the sin in their heart. As Zodhiates states; if a person continues to place himself in a position where he knows he will be tempted to sin, he will most likely continue in it (and may I add; will end up DOING IT).
This principle applies not only to adultery but just about every other reprehensible type of behavior. A person who continually dwells upon doing something God forbids, is guilty of practicing sin and that opens the door to a host of horrible things in this life and closes the door to the eternal inheritance God desires His children to enjoy.
20And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Jesus taught that all 13 of these terrible sins originate in a person's heart and then proceed into his actions. The point being made here is that these sins do NOT originate in the mind through a onetime thought but rather they proceed out of the heart of a person, meaning they have been constantly dwelling upon them and slowly losing the natural repulsion to doing them.
That which ultimately manifests itself in the flesh, starts in the mind and proceeds to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is only a matter of time before it comes into fruition in the actions of a person. Thus, that which defiles a person is what that person allows into their heart and in so doing, allows it to determine the course of their life.
This is all so very important when it comes to understanding numerous verses in the New Testament which seem to imply that the moment a person does anything wrong, their eternal inheritance is pulled out of them. This terrible misrepresentation of the truth breeds fear and discouragement in God's people and is the breeding ground for the worst forms of legalism.
Obviously something such as covetousness is on the list of things that are forbidden and considered a sin. But, as we will see next time, there is something peculiar relating to covetousness that does not come up with any other sin of the flesh . Thank you for reading. Blessings 2 You!