PROVERBS 4: The Heart of Wisdom
Question: So does what you do matter, do the choices you make have any impact on the trajectory of your life? Are you and I programmed to be what we are… is it predetermined?
Answer: No! We can choose, and our choices do matter. What has relatively recently passed as “evidence-based” or “research-based” facts regarding the human ability to really change flies in the face of all “common sense”…and millennia of human history regarding what is self-evident. Truth must always align with God’s Word.
The Bible is clear, we live out of our hearts, the thinking, choosing ‘us.’ Who we are is not predetermined and fixed, we can, by God’s grace and our choices, change.
OBJECTIVE/ STUDY: Today, we want to look at what it takes to maintain a well-kept heart. People with a well-kept heart are prepared for and able to respond to life in ways that are good and right.
But to care for something (like the heart), you must understand it.
DISCUSSION 1: A Well-kept heart begins with a pursuit of wisdom
Read: Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Q1: What is Wisdom?
Answer: Wisdom comes from God—it teaches us how to live. It begins with the fear of the Lord. Wisdom is about developing and nurturing the value of “wisdom pursuit” over all other possible pursuits. Like what? Like the pursuit of pleasure. Or fame. Or success. Or safety and security. Or…you fill in the blank. Wisdom is about a heart that values what is valuable. Wisdom knows what is real and true and good; the wise heart is the engine that drives our lives in those directions.
Q2: Reread the verse, what does it mean here to say, “Though it cost you all you have get wisdom”?
Answer: It is a heart attitude or on inner orientation that is in line with the theme of this chapter…THE HEART OF WISDOM. This wisdom walk is a lifetime walk…we don’t take classes in wisdom, graduate with a wisdom degree…and we are good to go. It is a life-long walk. As we walk the path of wisdom, we combine over time, faith and sight believing what God has said and experiencing God for ourselves.
Discussion 2: Guarding Our Heart
Read: Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Q1: How important is it for us to guard our hearts?
Answer: It should be above anything else we pursue.
Q2: Now look at verse 24. What is the first way it mentions for us to guard our hearts?
Answer: Watching our words. (what’s coming out of our mouth—Complaining, judging, kindness, graces-filled, bitter-filled, etc.)
Q3: Now, think about the words we use, negative or positive, how can they shape us?
Answer: Hateful words, complaining, judgmental, and bitter words can lead to making us feel more prideful, or justified, or lead to selfishness. While grace-filled, kind words can lead to having compassion towards people, praying for them and encouraging them.
Q4: Verse 25 addresses another way we can guard our hearts. What is it?
Answer: Through what we watch or focus our attention on.
Note: this would be a good time to ask the following questions to help personalize the verse:
- What things can take up a lot of your attention or focus?
- What is one thing that takes up a lot of attention that doesn’t lead to adding much value in your life?
Q5: Reread verses 26-27, what clue is given as to how we guard our hearts? And what does it look like in real life?
Answer: Choosing level or firm paths, staying away from evil. It’s basically anytime that we are faced with a choice. Will we choose God’s way, or will we choose to just take whatever looks good or easy to us?
Q6: Have you ever had to choose between a godly path and a worldly path? Describe it.
We can pursue God through what we say, what we focus on, and by choosing actively to stay on paths that lead to godliness.
If you want a heart that is orientated towards wisdom…you guard what goes in.
What is God asking you to do or not to do to keep your heart guarded?