Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Proverbs 4:20-27, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
Several times Proverbs 4 mentions the “eyes” or the ability to see clearly and the potential for distorted vision. (vs 21, 25, 18, 19)
The passage is telling us that our focus affects our feelings, our feet, and our future.
1. Your Focus Affects Your Feelings (vs 20-22)
If you’re focused on the worst-case scenario of any situation, you will feel panicked.
If you’re focused on what you don’t have rather than what you do have, you will feel discontented and dissatisfied with life. Focus affects your feelings.
However, if you focus on the wise words of your perfect Heavenly Father, those words “are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (vs 22) Focus on what you have and beware of being bitter or covetous about what you don’t have.
And, if you’re a Christian, you have Jesus, and He is all you need. Hebrews 13:5 makes this point, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
2. Your Focus Affects Your Feet (vs 24-27)
“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
Where you are looking is where you tend to go. In Proverbs, the wise father instructs us to keep looking straight ahead so that we are not tempted to go in the wrong direction. He wants us to avoid looking at the allurements of this world which are strategically placed just to our right and to our left. The world, the flesh, and the devil are constantly promoting sinful indulgences.
“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
As you traverse the terrain of this life, keep “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)
3. Your Focus Affects Your Future (vs 23)
If you focus on what you CAN control today, then when things out of your control present themselves in your future, you will be much better equipped to face them as they occur.
If we’re honest, the majority of problems we face are things that we could have and should have controlled, and if we had, we would have avoided those problems. So much of our lives is in our control.
Marriages have been destroyed because of out-of-control emotional arguments.
An individual’s physical health can be destroyed because of out-of-control food choices and a lack of regular activity.
So much of life is within our control.
Here are a few things that we can control today that will impact our future.
Control today what you think about. (Proverbs 4:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8)
Control what you say. (Proverbs 4:24)
Control what you see. Control what you put before your eyes. (Proverbs 4:25)
Control where you go. (Proverbs 4:26)
Control who influences you. (Proverbs 2). Beware of music and entertainment that feeds your flesh. Beware of friends that foster your fleshly appetites.
Again, so much of our lives is within our control. You control how you steward your mind, body, and your relationships with others.
If you focus today on controlling the above mentioned things well, you will be much better prepared to handle the out-of-your-control things in your future. The wrong focus today, leads to a wrong future tomorrow.
So, “Keep thy heart (today) with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (your future)” (vs 23)
What are you looking at? Whatever you are focused on will affect your feelings, your feet, and your future.
Be sure to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
The above article was written by James C. Johnson and he is the Pastor of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email him at email@example.com.
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