“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:23-27
Not too long ago, I was at the mall with my children. While walking down the mall, we started to pass by a popular store filled with women’s undergarments. Before I could steer them to other side of the walkway, I noticed my oldest daughter was a step ahead of me in redirecting, that is. She quickly guided her brother away from the store drawing his attention to something else. She was protecting him; his eyes, his feet, his thoughts.
When I read this Proverb, I immediately think of this example. You see it starts with your heart. In verse 23, God says to keep your heart with all vigilance. Vigilance means “alert watchfulness” or “the process of paying close continuing attention”. We are to always be doing heart checks, not just on ourselves but on our children as well.
Then God refers to the mouth by telling us to put away crooked speech. Remember Matthew 12:34, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. Whatever is in the heart will eventually come out. That is why we are to start with our heart, filling it with thoughts that are pure, honest, lovely like Philippians 4:8 says.
Then God says to keep your eyes looking forward, not being distracted by things to our right and to our left. Stay focused on what our number one goal is…..to glorify God with our life.
And finally, God calls us to ponder where are feet carry us. That is because whatever sin our mind is contemplating, we will talk about it. Then we will begin to look for it and finally we will be so compelled to fulfill that desire that we run to it.
There is great significance to the order of these verses. And if you are a mother like me, you can quickly tell of many examples of how you can see your children in these verses. Just like my daughter tried to guide her brother away from the inappropriate store, so are we to guide our children in the way of life. Use this Proverb in teaching your children how to recognize their sinful tendencies and to show them how to keep their eyes fixed on what’s ahead.