Guard Your Mind
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:1-3)
The beginning of wisdom is, on the positive side, honoring God by knowing and fearing Him properly. But at the same time this implies a negative command: guarding your mind in order to keep it free of errors. Simply knowing the truth isn’t enough; we must keep ourselves from losing or corrupting the truth. We must, as Solomon says, engrave it on the tablet of our hearts.
“Heart” is an interesting word in the Hebrew. In English we use the word “heart” to talk about our emotions. But in Hebrew, the “heart” is a person’s mind — their thoughts and their will. With that in mind, look at Proverbs 4:23.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Solomon is saying, “Guard your mind and your thoughts, because they will determine how you live your life.”
Be careful of what you put into your mind. Be careful of what you see when you to go the theater. Be careful of what you read. Be careful of the ideologies and the false speculations that you entertain. Be careful of heresies. Be careful of every idea you encounter because what you let into your mind will ultimately end up controlling how you act.
Proverbs talks about the simple-minded in chapter 1, and the word for “simple” in Hebrew has the idea of an open door. This is a concrete image of what it means to be simple: having the door of your mind wide open. A naive person lets everything come in and out of his mind, never using discernment to avoid some things and hold fast to others. Such a person is left defenseless against false ideas.
In our culture, it is considered a virtue to have an open mind. But the counsel of Scripture advises just the opposite; we need to practice discernment as we decide which ideas to embrace and which to reject, because our thoughts have very real consequences for our lives.
Helping people discern truth from error is part of my responsibility as a pastor and spiritual father. And the faculty and staff at TMU feel this same responsibility toward students. In the classroom, students are taught to guard their minds against everything that will influence their behavior away from the fear of God.
We have seen so far that to be truly educated people, we must gain wisdom. And in order to gain wisdom, we must fear the Lord and guard our minds. Next week we will look at another thread in Proverbs — the importance of self-control.