Guard Your Heart

Written by: Ricky Spears       Recorded by: Ricky Spears

Guard Your Heart

My pastor recently finished a sermon series entitled Password. In this series, he talks about how we protect so much of our personal information with passwords, yet we don't have a password to keep harmful things away from what matters most: our heart, our soul, and our mind. This meditation was inspired by one of those sermons. I hope it helps you to guard your heart.
You can download and listen to the four sermons in the Password series yourself in the Sermons area of the Rich Fork Baptist Church web site. These sermons were delivered between January 18, 2009, and February 8, 2009.

Scriptures: Proverbs 4:20-27

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What People are saying about "Guard Your Heart”

  1. Ulysses
    November 10th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I was enjoying this meditation, until the “my son” part. I think it is really insensitive to women to say that, whether they we are men or women, that all Christians are “sons.” It would have been better to be more generous to use inclusive language and say “my child” as in the NRSV, CEV, NET, NCV, and NLT translations. I know that it’s a theological issue in many Baptist churches, but I think especially in a meditation, it is really jarring. It upset me enough that it pulled me completely out of the meditation and I had to stop.

    I’m not trying to start a theology war, just trying to be helpful.

  2. Ricky Spears
    November 11th, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Ulysses – Thank you for your comments.

  3. Donald
    November 17th, 2009 at 1:46 am

    I found Ulysees’ post to be a distraction from my attempt to listen to the voice of God. This is not the place to bring up this controversial subject, as it is hairsplitting. The use of the masculine gender has for centuries been understood to refer to both genders, and the original languages of the Scriptures utilize it in that way. I read his post before engaging in the meditation, and all I could think about was the issue, and not the Word. A private email would have been a more appropriate context in which to submit a complaint of this nature.

  4. Ricky Spears
    November 17th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Donald – Thank you for your response here. I wasn’t quite sure how best to handle Ulysses comment. I certainly didn’t want him to feel slighted or ignored. I also didn’t want to get involved in a theological debate here on the blog–at least not a theological debate on that particular topic. :o)

    We’ll see what others think and if it seems appropriate I’ll remove these comments. However, I don’t want to stifle discussion about the meditations here; I really want to encourage it. I just don’t want that discussion to distract from the purposes of the work here though.

    Thanks again!

  5. April Rain
    March 6th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I wouldn’t let Ulysses comment bother any of us. Let’s not let the enemy throw anything in to disrupt our precious time with the Lord. 🙂

    Perhaps you could delete the post? See meditation # 14.

  6. Curtis White
    July 26th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Amen & Praise God! Ricky, thanks for continuing to be a blessing in my life.

  7. maureen
    November 6th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    i love this meditation it is a beautiful exhortation
    of scripture that benefits our lives.

    thank you

  8. violindance3119
    April 27th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I don’t think a request for inclusive language is the enemy. When we start calling each other the enemy, we stop loving one another. There have been many revisions of the bible, each revision using more and more inclusive language, so I understand how someone could be thrown off by the old way of referring to mankind. The meditation did not bother me though, because I know God and Jesus love women and men alike. I’m able to hear the inclusion. I want to note that I am grateful for all of these meditations. I have never been so soothed and uplifted by the words of the bible.

  9. moser.erin
    May 5th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Listening to this came at a good time for me. I’ve recently been thinking about how the messages of this world (that are the opposite of the messages of God) I’m hearing all around me through media, conversation and well-intentioned advice are influencing my heart against godliness.”True religion is to care widows and orphans in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world” (James).I’ve never made the connection with guarding your heart and being unstained by the word before. Thank you for providing a meditation on guarding our hearts.

  10. moser.erin
    May 5th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I also don’t find the way the original texts were written as saying “sons” rather than “sons and daughters” to be offensive. I understand them as inclusive.
    Galatians 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

  11. inlovewithjesus
    October 27th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I had a very similar reaction to the meditation, i found the language jarring. Its a beautiful meditation but we dont live in times when language like this is helpful. Walking in peace and love should always be the outcome and i feel that using a translation that would avoid any hurt would be a good step in the right direction. As a female and a Christian i find that this is an ongoing struggle for us ladies, there is a strong root of pain in this area for many women so asking men to be very sensitive and supportive in making us feel equal and loved well i think is very important!!

  12. jesussavedme7777
    January 6th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Once again i need to express my gratitude for your meditations, my life is often filled drama and delemas, these meditations connect me to Jesus in a profound and meaningful way, thank you and god bless. Your a true example of how the lord takes care of his children, your are a beloved brother.

  13. Nimmi Hutnik
    April 22nd, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I did the full meditation and felt uplifted. However, the word ‘son’ jarred on me too. Is it not time to update our language as language creates reality? We have a lot to thank those women who strove that women be seen as equal to men. I think it is important not to let their seed fall upon rocky ground.

  14. Ricky Spears
    April 28th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I really appreciate all the conversation about this particular meditation and I’m glad it ministers to so many people.

    I aim for some level of literary consistency in these meditations. Although I use a variety of translations and commentaries for study, all the scriptures used in the Mindful Worship meditations are from the New International Version (NIV), which was released in the 1970’s. Certainly language and culture has changed over the last 40 years. At some point I may switch to a more recent translation, but that will have no effect on previously published meditations–that is to say that it’s unlikely I’ll re-write and re-record them.

    Having said that, I believe it’s important for any student of the Bible (and every believer in Christ is a student of God’s Word in some capacity) to understand that there are three types of translations and each has strengths and weaknesses in different situations. Since a lot of people aren’t aware of these differences, I’ll briefly explain them here.

    “Literal translations” are word-for-word translations such as the KJV and NASB. These works strive to use words that match the literal meanings of words during biblical times. Therefore, if a Greek or Hebrew word meant a male child of a particular parent, the translation couldn’t be anything except “son.” The strength of these translations is that it is the most literal and word-for-word accurate.

    “Dynamic Equivalent” translations are meant to be a thought-for-thought translation such as the NIV and NRSV. These works strive to use words that convey the original writer’s intentions using modern language. Therefore someone translating a word for male child would consider it’s context and meaning and make a decision about whether the original author meant “male child” or any “child” and would use the appropriate word. However, even in dynamic equivalent translations cultural differences shouldn’t be consider for accuracy in the work, so the translated word would still likely be “son”, but not necessarily.

    “Paraphrases” are not translations at all but rather the translator’s attempt to bring clarity to the meaning of scripture in modern day terms such as The Living Bible and The Message. Paraphrases are very easy to read and may consider cultural factors and use terms to fit modern culture, so in a paraphrase the word originally translated “male child” may be translated as simply “child” (and could just as easily say “youngen” as we often call them here in the southern US 🙂 ). Because paraphrases depend greatly on the translator’s personal interpretation, the original meaning may be greatly compromised. I personally consider paraphrases as commentaries, rather than as translations worthy of deep study–I do use them though and feel they have value.

    As a Bible teacher, one of my jobs is to both explain the historical text and it’s meaning in terms of it’s modern day connection, so that my students can find the modern day application in his or her own life. This was my intention in the meditation when I say, “Many of the Proverbs were written as wisdom to be passed down from parents to their children. Proverbs 4, verse 20 begins with, ‘My son.’ Those who have accepted Christ as savior are sons of God, regardless of whether you are male or female. Think for a moment about how wonderful it is to be a son of God. ‘My son.'”

    In retrospect, and based on many of the comments here (which I greatly appreciate), perhaps it would have been more appropriate to say, “Many of the Proverbs were written as wisdom to be passed down from parents to their children. Proverbs 4, verse 20 begins with, ‘My son.’ Those who have accepted Christ as savior are children of God. Think for a moment about how wonderful it is to be a child of God. ‘My son.'” However, the phrase, “My son,” would still have been the meditative prompt.

  15. Stacy
    August 1st, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Like throwing pearls to the swine, so are the attempts to appease the perpetual victims of a fallen world. They are in a cult of personality and do not even know it. They are not a people who have separated from the world as God commands, but are fully immersed in the sinful world while claiming to be superior to all those they find not “with the times.” do not follow them. Sadly, They are cold . Woe to them.

    Thank you for your faithfulness Ricky. If you were not on the straight and narrow, you’d never feel Satans arrow.

  16. Ricky Spears
    September 16th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Stacy – Thank you for your encouragement!

  17. Angie
    April 24th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hi there, Ricky.

    A friend of mine gave me this website and said: It’ll change your life. In my head and at that moment, I thought… What’s so great about it?? Until just a few moments ago. These last three years have been horrible. Since 2011-2013, I have lost three family members and a friend. My friend decided that suicide was the answer. Although, I don’t blame her for doing what she felt was right for her… I guess, I getting off subject. The point is this… Thank you for being available through via web.

    Last night was horrible and I found myself wondering if God is actually seeing/hearing with what is taking place in my situation? So, I remembered… This website my friend suggest I listen to. I found it to be most comforting to my mind, body, and soul. It seems I’ve found a place to simply rest. Thank you once again.

    Warmly,

    Angie

  18. Mark F Donham
    November 6th, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Ricky, Thank you for your wonderful work for Christ. You series on the Fruits of the Spirit has helped me better understand God’s love and has joined with other influences in my life to help me seek and understand God’s Word. I think having meditations on the Beatitudes would be helpful to truly understand what Jesus wants us to be. In Christs love, Mark

  19. Sean Gaspo
    July 31st, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    I dig this one. Thanks for releasing these. I’ve enjoyed several of them countless times.

  20. Charlene Thibodeau
    February 13th, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Nothing from God’s word jars me except the revelation of my sin.
    But that is for my good so I love even that too. This kind of discussion is happening more and more and I find them jarring because they remind me of differences when I am trying to grow past the prejudices of my childhood.

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