With the recent political debates, follow-up commentaries, polling and non-stop advertisements bombarding us on television, in the print media, the internet and flooding my mailbox, I thought I would stop for a moment and address the main comment that I have heard all around me. People want to know about the issues!
They are apparently tired of all the mud slinging and negative spin campaigning done by all sides of the political party machinery and they desperately cry out for a discussion of the issues. “Talk about the major issues.” “Tell us about your stance regarding the major issues.” These are the resounding public chants.
But when you pause and think for a moment, another question comes up – What are the major issues? The word “issue” simply means a subject of concern, problem or difficulty, something for discussion, source of flow or the official release of something. Hence, the issues are different to each one of us because from our view point of the world, we are affected by a variety of different things. Therefore, what may be major to one of us just might be minor to another and vice versa.
This got me thinking even more (I know some of you out there are saying oh no hold on for here we go and yes, I’d like to take you a little deeper if I could). Please consider the following as I did:
The bible in Proverbs 4:23 states “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (kjv)
Now, there are a couple of things we must note up front before we go further with our thought. First, the book of Proverbs was considered to be written by King Solomon, who was also considered the wisest man who ever lived. If this is so, then this must be a very wise statement and we should adhere to it, if we too desire to be wise. Wisdom after all is simply the proper application of knowledge. Therefore, let’s gain a little knowledge about this statement and then I’ll leave it up to you for the proper application in your life.
Second, we must realize that this statement is not referring to the literal heart and our physical being, although even if it was, it would be pretty accurate because, as we know the heart is responsible for pumping our blood and should it stop, life as we know it in the here and now would also stop.
So what is the “heart” referred to in this passage? Well, when we dig into the Hebrew definition of the word “leb” from which comes the translation; heart, it also means the midst of things, soul, mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination, conscience or seat of emotions and passions.
Wow – what depth of meaning for a little three letter word. I believe the implication here is that the heart is the very core and center of who we are and obviously who we are then is not just the flesh, blood and bone of our physical frame. No, the core of who we are goes beyond what we can fully see or even comprehend. It must extend to the ethereal, and includes the intangibles of mind, thought and feeling, which compels me to conclude it must be spiritually related.
We are warned that we must “keep” or watch over and guard this aspect of who we are, implying that it can be taken away from us. But how can our spirit, or mind or thoughts be taken from us? The answer is simple – when we stop thinking for ourselves and let others do our thinking for us. When that happens, we no longer live our own life, we live the lives thought out and directed by others, which may not be the best for us and our personal circumstances.
We are also encouraged to be diligent about this watching over our heart, which according to the root of its meaning, implies to be a warden over a prison or a guard on a watch tower. In other words, we must be vigilant and observant because our thoughts, emotions and feelings can escape us if we are not careful and we can be easily caught up in the rampant mob mentality that will attempt to sweep us up in it’s current if we are relaxed in our watching.
Being a watchman over our thoughts takes work, hard work to be exact and that means we must dig in and research for ourselves the answers we are looking for rather than accepting from others what they spew out simply because they heard it previously. We must go directly to the horse’s mouth as the old adage goes. In fact this old saying means that rather than hearing from by standards through the rumor mill, that we have heard it directly from the horse itself.
Does that make sense? Not really on the surface. However, when you realize that this saying comes from a bible story found in Numbers Chapter 22 where God opened the mouth of a donkey to speak to a rebellious prophet, the meaning becomes clearer. The whole story about the prophet revolves around what he wanted to hear and do rather than doing that which God had told him to do. Hence, it is important for us instead of being ruled by our own thoughts and feelings that we are to be obedient to God and His will.
After all, if we allow God to direct our steps then the best possible life awaits for us. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean life will be problem free, but rather it means God will get us through everything that comes our way and we will be able to flow through life’s circumstances as though rafting through the rapids instead of swimming against the current. It also means that we will be officially released from the bondage of other’s manipulations because we are following the highest possible orders from which all life originates. This is clearly why Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 kjv)
Hence, instead of turning to political parties for answers to the issues, I would encourage you to turn to God for the answers that issue life to the questioner. If you are wanting like most of us to know about the major issues, simply turn to the one who holds all the answers and is able to give you the truth because He is truth. Pick up His word the bible or communicate with Him in prayer and you will soon experience the issues of life and not just some prearranged sound bite.