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Have you Given Your Heart to Jesus?

Proverbs 23:19-26 NLT


[19] My child, listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right course. [20] Do not carouse with drunkards and gluttons, [21] for they are on their way to poverty. Too much sleep clothes a person with rags. 

[22] Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don't despise your mother's experience when she is old. [23] Get the truth and don't ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and discernment. [24] The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure it is to have wise children. [25] So give your parents joy! May she who gave you birth be happy. [26] O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes delight in my ways of wisdom.

There is a time when children gain control over their destiny and become adults who make their own decisions. This text was originally written from a wise father whose son had passed that threshold. The days of control are over for this father. Over time, his role transitioned from one who controls his son to one who guides his son to a father who advises his son, but allows him to make his own decisions. Parents and children alike relate to these life passages.

The father gives a lot of advice in this text-good practical advice that will benefit all who follow it, but the primary focus of this text for us today is a sentence from verse 19 and one from verse 26. Solomon wrote, "Keep your heart on the right course," and "O my son, give me your heart."

He gives some sound advice for a young man trying to keep his heart on the right course. In verse 20-21, he tells his son to watch who he associates with. He warns against spending time with drunkards, gluttons or lazy people because their behavior leads to poverty. Does he mean physical or spiritual poverty? He doesn't spell it out, but I believe these kinds of people experience both. Our faith tradition is quick to criticize the first type of behavior-even segregating ourselves from them while celebrating unhealthy eating patterns. One of the lies I told myself when I lived a gluttonous lifestyle was that as long as I was spiritually healthy it didn't matter what I did with my body. I regret that attitude and have repented from that lifestyle. Clearly the scripture teaches otherwise. Holiness is a matter of body and soul. "Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again." (1 Thes. 5:23 NLT) Notice Paul's emphasis in this verse on "soul and body." Recently during a time of private prayer with an out of town friend, he said, "Thank you Lord for Jim's spiritual health that is evidenced by his physical health." I've remembered his prayer many times since he prayed it. It has become a source of strength to me each time I'm tempted to return to my old lifestyle.

Verse 22 reminds the son that he is never too old to listen to his parents. I just returned from my annual trip visiting my parents a few weeks ago. During our time together, I learned several things about life from them-most of them small practical things, really too insignificant to mention, except to say that even as a grown man, I still covet the guidance of my parents and pray that I'll conduct myself in such a way that my children will covet mine, regardless of their age.

In verse 23, Solomon emphasizes four things to his son: truth, wisdom, discipline and discernment-four solid pillars that form a good foundation for life. Children who have these things and live their lives with them brings great joy to their parents, as the following verses point out.

Verse 26 contains the second of the "heart" statements we're studying today, in it, Solomon asks for his son's heart. I want to shift gears at this point. Instead of asking, "does your father have your heart," I want to ask, "does your heavenly Father have your heart?" We often refer to a salvation experience as giving our hearts to God. My question is, "have you really given Him your heart?"

Though I don't know of any texts that show if we've given our hearts to our Dads, I do know of several that shows whether we've given our hearts to God.

Matthew 6:21 clearly teaches that what we do with our money shows who owns our hearts. It says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (NASB)

In Pre-War Iraq, many of the people lived in poverty while Saddam Hussein had an overabundance. Prime Minister Tony Blair is leading British authorities to determine the extent of Hussein's wealth. They believe that he has doubled the number of palaces he had since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, bringing his total to around 100. They believe his wealth is valued between 2 and 20 billion. Even if it is the low number, it would represent 3% of the 2002 Gross Domestic Product of the country. Blair's spokesman said: "Saddam kept his people poor while making himself rich." (

What Hussein did with his country's wealth clearly illustrates his value system. He only cared about himself, while ignoring the needs of his people. His actions were disgusting.

Proverbs 28:27 says, "He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses." (NASB) and Eccles. 11:1 says, "Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days." (NASB) The weight of scripture clearly teaches that we are to be generous, giving people, concerned about the needs of others.

So how do you use your money beyond meeting your basic needs? Are you faithful to give your tithe and offerings to the Lord? Why not do a checkbook audit this afternoon, it may very will help you see who owns your heart.

Luke 6:45 shows what we do with our tongue shows who owns our hearts. It says, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." (NASB)

Though this is an issue for all ages, I know it is a particular issue for our young adults, and since our church is predominately young adults, we need to spend a few minutes here. James 3:11 asks the question, "Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?" (NASB) Of course the answer is no. Neither can our mouth be the source of praise and cursing. I remember how humbling it was to preach my first sermon in my home church with many of my schoolmates present. I had to begin with an apology for some of my vocabulary. I asked my friends for their forgiveness, then I preached my sermon. I knew in my heart that my poor example was betraying my heart and that I needed to repent and change. How about you? Do your words betray your heart? What kind of a witness are you?

Third, Matthew 12:35 shows what we do with our time, shows who owns our hearts. It says, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." (KJV)

Bottom line. If Jesus owns our hearts, we'll live for Him. He said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15 NASB) Are you serious about doing His will? Do you give Him your energy? Is He on your mind all the time?

Over the past month I've been away from home quite a bit. I spent a week with my parents, as I've already mentioned and several days at the Minister's Conference at Hume Lake. The hardest part about being gone wasn't sleeping in a strange bed or having a different routine-it was being away from my family. I ached for them and spent significant time thinking about them and talking about them-because I've given my heart to them. In the same way, because I've given my heart to God, I should long for Him and live my life honoring Him.

So...does God have your heart? What we do with our money, words and time, shows who owns our hearts. So who has your heart? Today, I invite you to give your heart to Jesus.


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