Keeping Careful Watch – Proverbs 4:23, 26

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life…
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.”

Proverbs 4:23, 26

These verses struck me this morning as pictures of such intentionality. We are not to live our lives simply coasting. Rather, we keep attentive watch over our heart to guard it from danger and temptation which may turn us away from our God of hope. We carefully consider the direction in which we are walking, fixing our eyes on the God who leads us in righteousness, wisdom, and grace.

It is this intentionality which will get us to the life our God is putting in place for us. And it is this intentionality which opens our eyes to His purposes right now, so that we will not miss any opportunity to experience His power and love working within and through and around us.

We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Luke 10:27). Guarding our heart carefully is a key factor in this. Keep careful watch. Maintain that love for Him and for others. Abide in His Word; let it seep into all the darkest spaces of your heart where there may be temptation to doubt and question. Focus your heart on the truth that our God is love. That He died for you. That He will never leave you. That He will keep you and guide you and watch over your way. That you can trust Him, because He knows what He’s doing and He will never let you down.

As we ponder the path of our feet, let us also remember Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” God may lead our lives in a vastly different direction than we expect. But that’s ok – it’s His role to get us where we need to be, to those good works He has planned in advance for us to do, the plans He created us for and is equipping us to accomplish. Our responsibility is to trust Him there. To trust Him as He leads us in each step, and to humble ourselves to follow Him when the path takes an unexpected turn.

When turns come in our life’s path, God didn’t change His mind. And if we are truly listening to and following Him, it isn’t necessarily that we misheard His voice. He uses everything for His purposes. Even if we did lose sight and stumble along the way, our great, powerful, all-knowing God will use that in His story of grace and redemption. He will use it to showcase His power and steadfast love, His faithfulness as He draws us back to Himself and leads us back to His path of righteousness.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Fix your eyes on Him. Train your ears to recognize His voice. Study His character and determine to trust Him fully, even when you don’t understand. Look to Him in all things and at all times, and He will faithfully guide you, laying out your path – His path of steadfast love and faithfulness – before your feet.

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