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Prov.4.23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

The heart, one of the most precious things a human being has. It is the core of a person, where their thoughts, feelings, desires and choices stem from. With such precious thing in us, we should conclude that it should be guarded by any means necessary from any harm possible, either from within or without. This is partly the whole business of man throughout life, to guard the heart; to be pure. Is it possible to guard the heart to such extent of purity? Well, guarding the heart is a battle; a relentless pursuit to be pure; one hardly gets to the finish line; with man this is an impossible task. Great help is therefore needed. If we are talking about guarding the heart from any harmful things from within or without, we should be quick to add that the heart of man already is bad; anger, envy, immoral thoughts, hate; you see these, all men have in their hearts. As it is, all these, reveals what is the state of the hearts of men(women); all are conceived and born in sin. None can stand and say that he/she is pure in heart, the hearts of men are deceitful and desperately wicked. This for sure everyone would see if it were shown it to them by someone else for hardly would anyone confess to impure of heart. So guarding the heart is a two-way battle of a journey; it entails keeping sinful things out and removing sinful desires out. Sinful by which we mean; all that is not good and done with bad motives; all that is evil. Who is sufficient for this? How can it be done? What does one require for such battle? This, dear friends, is the discourse ahead of us, we cannot delay any long.

Why guard our hearts?

Proverbs 4:23-26 form the basis of us guarding our hearts. The fragility of our hearts should be taken into greater consideration. Our hearts form the connection we have with God. As believers, if we feed our hearts with junk from the world, our spiritual lives will be drastically affected as well as allow the enemy to work in our lives.

The primary reason why we should guard our hearts is to maintain fellowship with our father. The main goal for us is to worship God and live according to his will. It’s impeccably impossible to live a life of worship with unclean hearts since our God cannot dwell in sin. This includes and not limited to taking ungodly thoughts captive before they ground themselves in our hearts, as clearly depicted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3–5.

Our hearts are the source of everything we do. I love this analogy delineated by King Solomon when he says the heart is the “wellspring of life”. As we know of springs, water flows from the deep ground to the surface. The same water flows and accumulates in the pools, streams, and runoffs. Similarly, our hearts are a perfect comparison to this analogy. If our hearts are unhealthy, the impact is felt in all aspects. Talk of friends, family, ministry, and more importantly our spiritual lives. The same way we would guard our natural springs from pollution, let’s do so as well to our hearts.

Our hearts are so valuable and sadly under constant attack. It goes without a mere questioning why the banks, statehouses, and companies are guarded in such a way. Our hopes, dreams, conscience, and affections lie in our hearts- it is the epicenter of who we are. Our spiritual enemy is under constant roaming, seeking whom to devour. His main focus is our core, the heart of a believer, but in it all there is hope for us. In Ephesians 6:14, we are urged to wear the breastplate of righteousness as a spiritual amour to guard our hearts. Knowing what is right and doing it.

The enemies of the heart

Sin

The heart is deceitful above all things and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Mathew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness and slander. The list goes on and on. The heart is an enemy of its own. This heart is desperate and vulnerable by what it carries is its own poison, sin. In the heart of a man is where every kind of unclean animal resides, tortoise, chameleon, frogs etc.Only God knows the depths of the heart of a man, he has searched the heart and known it. It is the center of all evils in man for it is from within, it is the source. (James 1:14).

The devil

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”(Ephesians 6:12)

 The heart is deceiving. The heart with all its sin gets the Liar and father of all lies. The last state of a man becomes than the first. For he lies, blind; does all things in his power to bring man to worse state. The devil entered Judas to complete the greed of Judas, to sell life for a few pieces of silver. He takes advantage of the ignorance of the heart, the blindness thereof and sins within. The heart now more than wicked, now it is madness as the man of the Gerasenes (Mark 5).  The devil uses all the tactics to brings blindness and darkness in the hearts of men. Doubtful, hardened and disbelieving heart are the contributing works of the enemy. The reason why he is called the tempter, god of this world who blinds- 2Corithians 4:4

False teachers: Test every spirits to see whether they come from God for many false prophets and teachers have gone into the world. Not everyone says Lord belongs to him, you got to evaluate them, they may be of the devil. There are wolves among the sheep you cannot know them, God guide us that we may see. They are turning the hearts of many away from their creator and Savior. Be not ignorant of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). Do not be outwitted by his schemes, which are of old.

Eye and ears: Gen 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes…”. It was pleasing to the eyes. Turn your eyes away. Stop feeding your heart with mirth by reading, listening and watching that which is not pure. It is pleasing to the eyes but the end is bitterness and death. Do not be lured by the beauty of sin. So watch out, be careful to guard your heart above all things. Evaluation of what you feed the heart needs to be done. The traps of the pride of life catch the heart and blinds it the more.

Ways to guard your heart

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). All issues of life flow from our hearts. This is where we do all thinking, have feelings and emotions and makes choices. If from our hearts flows the thoughts and issues of life, then how do we guard our hearts?

1)Store God’s word in your heart

It’s through our hearts that we are connected to God and therefore we need the knowledge of the scriptures first if we desire to guard our hearts from all kinds of distraction from our faith. First through the scriptures we know Gods character and the revelation of Him to us. The scriptures also inform us of Gods will for us and therefore guide our lifestyles. Our thoughts are guided by the word and for this reason we do not allow worldly things to define our lifestyles for we live by faith. The scripture in (Philippians 4:8) inform us of the kind of thoughts we should allow ourselves to think about and our hearts being where the thoughts of life flow then our thoughts should be aligned with the scriptures. To guard our hearts, we need to fill them with truths of the scripture so that we can guard the biblical instructions God has placed within our hearts through the Holy Spirit illuminating the scriptures. Its only when our hearts are full of His truth and love will life flow from our hearts.

2)Be careful of what you allow into your heart

We need wisdom in selecting what we allow into our hearts. What do you train your eyes to see? What are you listening to? (Proverbs 4:20-22) says `my son…incline your ears to my sayings, let them not escape your sight; keep them in your heart.’  What thoughts are you allowing into your mind (Philippians 4:8) Protect your heart from worldly things that replace what is godly within your heart and as the scripture states in (Romans 12:2) do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

3)Persevere in difficulties

A time comes in our lives where we face many challenges and Gods presence seems to be far away from us. In such times persevere!! (Proverbs 3:5) says `trust in the lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding.’ Don’t let your confidence and faith in the lord be wavering even in times of difficulties. Hold on to His promises and believe that the lord will prevail in all things. As you persevere you will grow in godliness and your heart will be strong in the Lord.

4)Have a community

In the walk of salvation, we are never alone since we are part of the church of Christ called to follow Him. Your heart needs people constantly pouring into you out of love as you serve the lord. As (Hebrews 10:24-25) says `let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…but encouraging one another all the more.’ As believers it’s therefore very important to have fellowship with one another as we grow in our faith as this will also help in guarding our hearts from things that may shake our faith. One of the most effective things you can do to better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is normal behavior.

Faith as the Basis

There is but one amazing fact about guarding the heart for a believer; it is a concept bearing eternal consequences. A crucial question to ask ourselves is, ‘on what basis would we guard our hearts?’ at this point I remember the story of the four Hebrew men, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. They reserved not to defile themselves even if it meant incurring the greatest cost of losing their lives. Daniel 3:18; “…But even if He (God) does not (save us), we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” This passage sets a picture of faith and trust in God as the basis of guarding our hearts. A right posture of knowing God will drive us to understand that the challenges we face are just but for a season. Yet, our God is still faithful enough to enable us maneuver through our earthly struggles.

Faith speaks beyond what can be seen (Hebrews 11). It is a constant reminder we serve a sovereign God in whose presence even death was crushed to death. This should propel us to rejoice in every condition, knowing we have someone to bear our grieves. Paul reminds us in Romans 8: 38-39 that nothing can be able to separate us from the love of Christ. This is a polite call for us to hold firm to the faith we profess; we will not easily be shaken by the currents of the world.

if our hearts succumb to distractions, then our connection to God is harmed. So brothers and sisters, let’s desire to live as Hebrews 12: 1-2 says; “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for ,” let us be intentional with guarding our hearts for from it, flows the springs of life.

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Table Of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………… 2
An Explanation of the Study Guide……………………………………………………………….. 2
For Leaders………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Lesson 1: Introduction to Finally Alive……………………………………………………………. 4
Lesson 2: What Is the New Birth? ………………………………………………………………… 6
Lesson 3: Why Must We Be Born Again? Part 1…………………………………………………. 8
Lesson 4: Why Must We Be Born Again? Part 2…………………………………………………. 10
Lesson 5: Born Again Through the Washing of Regeneration…..……………………………….12
Lesson 6: Born Again Through Faith in Jesus Christ……………………………………………. 14
Lesson 7: Born Again Through Intelligible Good News………………………………………….. 16
Lesson 8: The New Birth Overcomes the World…………………………………………………. 18
Lesson 9: Regeneration, Faith, Love……………………………………………………………… 20
Lesson 10: Freedom from the Practice of Sinning………………………………………………. 22
Lesson 11: Loving Others with the Love of God………………………………………………….. 24
Lesson 12: Helping Others Be Born Again………………………………………………………. 26
Appendix: Leading Productive Group Discussions………………………………………………. 28

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