“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Our verse says to keep your heart; not the muscle that pumps blood, obviously, but the part of you where your emotions and affections are; the part of you that decides what’s important in life.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Your heart guides how you think. Women don’t all think alike, nor do men. Younger people don’t all think alike, nor do older people. People of the same race and/or ethnicity don’t all think alike. Your heart guides how you think.
Lamentations 3:51 also says experience affects your heart: “Mine eye affecteth mine heart…” What you see affects your heart. Say you’re at the scene of a fatal accident, as a cop or as a reporter. You see mangled, bloody, dead bodies. You do your job as a professional, and you don’t show your emotions, at least not publicly. Still, what you see does affect your heart.
Bad experiences don’t necessarily poison your heart. No one wants to have a bad experience, but if you’ve gone through a bad experience of some kind, you’re better equipped to help someone else who goes through it. If, say, you’ve dealt with the horror of a violent death, you’re better equipped to help another officer deal with it: professionally first, then emotionally later.
One thing that will have a bad effect on your heart, though, is sin. Hebrews 3:13 warns, “…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Sin may not make you hate God, but it can provoke you to lack interest in serving or obeying Him. Jesus also said this about sin: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12) So the more you’re exposed to sin, yours or someone else’s, the more you’ll be tempted not to care about God.
Unfortunately, you deal with sin a lot when you’re a cop, so you’ll be tempted more than most people not to care about God. So how do you keep your heart? There must be a way. God wouldn’t tell us to do this if it weren’t possible to obey, right? It IS possible, even for a cop.
One way to keep your heart is to spend time in God’s Word often. The Bible is not a boring set of “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots.” It has powerful words: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful,” (Hebrews 4:12) It touches your heart and soul: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:” It gives wisdom: “the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” It gives joy: “the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:” (Psalm 19:7-8)
Memorizing Scripture, not just reading it, is also helpful. In Joshua 1:8, God told Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,” To meditate is to think about something. Once you memorize something, you can think about it.
Memorization isn’t hard. Cops memorize things like Miranda rights and traffic codes all the time. Moreover, many Scriptures aren’t long. When you find one you enjoy, make it a point to memorize it word for word, including the chapter and verse reference. The more Scripture you know, the more Scripture you’ll have to encourage you when you need it. Memorizing Scripture is also a good exercise to help you memorize other things, like license plates on stolen or wanted cars.
You don’t need to be hard-hearted on this job. And even if you are, God’s Word can reverse the damage “…with the washing of water by the word,” (Ephesians 5:26) God’s Word can help you keep your heart. Most importantly, God’s Word tells how Jesus, God the Son, died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again. If you want to know how to be sure of a home in heaven, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 7/13/2021
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822