Proverbs 4:23–24 23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
While hunting in northern Colorado a few years ago, our pursuit of elk that day took us up above timberline. The hike was demanding, and our supply of water substantially depleted. Walking further, we came across a crystal-clear spring flowing out of the upper part of the mountain peak. I questioned whether or not it would be safe to drink, fearing infection from Giardia or some other parasite. Those with more experience than I explained that from that place, high on the peak of the mountain, the spring of water was likely fresh because this was the mouth of the spring, unexposed to potential contaminants. With water containers replenished, much-needed refreshment came without any ill effects. Such pure and life-renewing springs are a rare find.
The verses referenced above, are part of a section of teaching from a father, expressing the importance of wisdom and truth to his son. The father is stressing the value and importance of a heart rooted in truth and righteousness. He encourages his son to be vigilant about the purity of what flows from his heart, meaning that the accuracy and integrity of what his son says are of life-sustaining importance. We are to avoid the contamination of God-given truth and righteousness by distorting our beliefs, communications, or practices. Our attention is to focus on straight talk, not on cunning interactions that bend and contour a truth to our weaknesses, selfishness, and sinfulness (“crooked“). Nor should there be any misleading of people’s perception of our lives in the light of the truth (“devious“).
As a result of original sin, we are all part of a self-absorb and image-conscious world. We all can easily contribute to the contamination of truth because we are adept at adapting information to hide or justify the way our lives are sinfully bent. Additionally, we can be less than forthcoming when our attitudes and actions are out of line with biblical standards of righteousness. What we fail to realize is how corrupting such practices are to our lives and to the lives of those we influence.
As followers of Jesus, we need to be people who ask God to help us love the refreshing power of truthful purity. We need to be men and women who value honesty and integrity. We need to be men and women who do not succumb to the temptation to be devious and deceptive about the need of our hearts and lives to conform to the truth. Such honesty and integrity would be as refreshing as a pure mountain spring, and unfortunately, just as rare.
Our lives, our churches, and our world desperately need the refreshment of truth and purity in word and deed. Those brought to saving faith in Jesus as the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), are called to walk in truth with honesty and integrity for all to hear and see. We need to be real! So, let our united prayer to our gracious God be, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14