In Proverb 4, we are told to keep our heart. The word “to keep” in this verse means to guard, so we are instructed to guard our heart.
Proverbs 4:23-27 23 (NKJV) Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.
Notice in this passage, it is you who are told to keep or guard your heart. Also notice the commands in verses 24 through 27. They tell you to “Put away, keep from, look straight ahead, fix gaze, make level, take only, do not swerve, and again, keep from.” We are told: do this, or don’t do that, do, don’t do, do, don’t do; it is all about working to keep from sinning! We are constantly thinking about the sins so that we won’t commit them. These commands are good things. There is nothing wrong with these commands. But all these commands keep us thinking about not doing those wrong things. As Isaiah said in Isaiah 28:
Isaiah 28:13 (NIV) So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there —so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured.
Verse 25 of Proverbs 4 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Keep your eyes straight ahead. You do not want to step in the wrong place or go in the wrong direction. Notice you are constantly looking down, focused on the path before you.
But in Hebrews we are told to look up; to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So, what is the difference between Proverbs 4 and Hebrews 12? Calvary is the difference. Jesus endured the cross. He put away our sins that we might live in victory! Now, we are encouraged to focus on Him. We are encouraged to follow in His steps.
1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
When we look up to Jesus, we will find the peace of God guarding our hearts AND our minds.
Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
We don’t need to worry or be anxious. We just take our requests to God. Then, through Christ Jesus, the peace of God guards not only our heart but our mind as well.
As we do as Paul instructed in Philippians 4, we are resting in Jesus. We are thinking about Jesus. Our focus, our gaze is now on Jesus and His goodness. Now, our attention is totally changed from the works of sin consciousness to thinking on the goodness of Jesus. That is being Christ consciousness. Then our hearts will overflow with His goodness:
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
And what is the effect of Christ consciousness? Look at what James had to say about it:
James 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
When we believe on Jesus, when we think on Him, when we rest in Him, when we trust in Him, we have a right relationship with Abba, our Father. No longer do we have to guard our own heart. Our Father’s peace, that is the peace that is beyond our understanding, now guards our hearts, guards our minds and we are at rest in Him.