"Guard our hearts with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life." Provers 4:23
The word "guard" is translated as "Keep" in many translations. The word guard (mishmar) means the act of guarding someone closely, just as an officer or warden might keep watch over a prisoner. "Diligence" (mikklo-mishmar) literally means "more than anything that might be guarded," What is this saying? We should watch over our hearts more than anything else.
From the heart comes the "issues" (totz'ot chaiyim) of life. It refers to the boarders of a territory, or boundaries of a city. What this is saying is that out of the heart comes the "map" or "chart" to life's journey.
As I've labored over my book for the past four years I've been warned by the Holy Spirit to "take it slow and diligenetly guard my heart".
Why am I doing this? Is it for my glory or God's glory? Am I doing this so I can boast about the accomplishment, or am I doing it out of obedience to His call?
Keeping the goal of excellence: Am I seeking perfection, or excellence? Perfection always comes with a lot of flesh and striving. Excellence comes through diligence, prayer, and the counsel of my teachers. Excellence is a product of a yielded heart.
Beware of the world's influence: There are plenty of pressures, even in the Christian world, that tell you how to publish, how to market, what's selling etc. I was offered a contract with a publishing company. It was exciting, but I didn't have peace. How God will lead one writer is different than the way He'll lead another. The key is looking for His leadership. Peace is my rule.
If we feel as if we're being pushed ... there's a good chance we're not following His lead. That's when it's smart to stop, pray, and examine your heart.
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Here are a few of the illustrations
in the book: