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What influences are you allowing to shape your heart?

September 15, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The following is adapted from the May 19th, 2015 Pulse of NewLife.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.  23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23)

In Proverbs 4:20-23, the heart is depicted as both the receptacle of external influences, as well as the place from which action originates. In order that his son might experience life and health, the writer of Proverbs implores him to guard his heart, and particularly to keep his father’s words within his heart. The writer of Proverbs is communicating a fundamental principle to life: the influences we allow into our lives have a huge impact on what comes out of our lives.

Consider for a moment what influences you have allowed into your life already this week. What advice have you heeded? What music or radio shows or podcasts have you listened to? What have you watched on TV or streamed on your electronic devices? What are you reading? What are you eating? What voices from your past are speaking to you subconsciously? 

And most importantly, what impact are these influences having on what comes out of your life? Are they helping you become the person you desire to be? Are they making you more like Christ, or less like Him? More or less loving? More or less productive? Are they making you more or less healthy? More selfish, or selfless?

It may be overwhelming to consider all the influences in our life over a week, but it should not be too difficult to pick one. Is there one area in which you need to guard your heart more carefully, so that what comes out of your life might be more healthy and life-giving? Is there one show you need to stop watching, or music you need to avoid, or food you need to give up? Or, conversely, is there one positive influence you need to be exposing yourself to more often? Once you’ve identified that one thing, tell a trusted friend about it, and make a commitment to fast from that one negative influence for one week, or to experience that one positive influence regularly this week. At the end of the week, reflect on how guarding your heart in that area impacted your life.  

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