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Stewarding Your Heart By Jon Lewis

Guarding Your Heart – the Wellspring of Life

Recently, during our breakfast devotional, my wife and I discussed the great admonition presented in Proverbs 4:23: Above, all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. At first, we reminded ourselves of the typical applications inspired by the following four verses that encourage one to put away perversity from your mouth, let your eyes look straight ahead, and make level paths for your feet.  These are beautiful admonishments, especially for the young man or woman choosing to build a life free from foul language, lustful desires, and sinful temptations.

But as Anita and I reflected on ways that we (now both in our seventies) still need to guard our hearts these days, another verse came to mind: Let not your hearts be troubled, Jesus’ says in John 14:1. Refraining from foul language may not be a troubling temptation for me today, but I certainly can’t say the same thing about the anxiety that comes from hearing the daily barrage of political or social news. So, how can I apply this Proverb’s wisdom to today’s contemporary context? Does guarding my heart mean permanently turning off the radio and TV or adopting a monastic lifestyle that would shield me from all bad news?

Anxiety Antidote

The devotional on Proverbs we have been using, written by Tim and Kathy Keller, gave this final word of advice: The best way to guard your heart for wisdom is worship, in which the mouth, the mind, the imagination, and even the body are all oriented to God. Worship was not exactly an antidote to an anxious heart that I was expecting. And yet, it does make sense if, indeed, it is the best way to reorient my focus from anxious-producing current events to a more intentional focus on God.

So here are some personal experiences I’ve had in the past few months that have given me opportunity for  unexpected and unconventional moments of personal worship. I offer these as examples that just what might inspire a similar antidote to worry and anxiety for you.

Reasons to Worship

  • Reviving old lists of memory verses and refreshing my ability to quote a key verse any moment I needed it. This included: The Lord is my Shepherd. . . He restores my soul. (Ps 23:1,3), Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you, (Ps 55:22),  The Lord is my Light and my Salvation. Whom shall I fear? (Ps 27:1), and Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. (Ps116:7-9.)
  • Singing some old hymns together with my wife and being touched once again by the great theology in so many of them. This happened on Easter afternoon while singing Christ the Lord Is Risen Today and being captured by Charles Wesley’s lyrics: Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia. Following our exalted Head, Alleluia. Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia. Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
  • Reading Hugh Ross’s book Creator and the Cosmos and being absolutely blown away by the recent scientific discoveries that all point to the intricate (and loving) design of our universe and especially our particular world as one of the only places where life could exist.
  • Receiving a WhatsApp picture of the first iris bloom in my son’s northern California garden that is such a vivid demonstration of Luke 12:27 I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Every one of these examples brought a moment of spontaneous worship for me that totally eclipsed all the tragic and troubling realities of the world around me. Now, armed with these experiences, I don’t have any excuse not to do a better job of stewarding my heart and guarding it from more worldly attacks of anxiety and worry that are sure to come—maybe as soon as tomorrow’s news broadcast.

I hope the same might be true for you.


Jon Lewis is a Senior Associate for Partnership Advancement with OC International and focuses on encouraging global Christian leaders toward greater ministry effectiveness. With over 40 years of experience, he also served as an MAF mission pilot in Africa and CEO of Partners International.

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