Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life. ~Proverbs 4:23 ESV
The word “keep” is translated “guard” in the NIV and NLT. Strong’s tells me that it can mean protecting as well as keeping captive. In other words, it can be used in the sense of guarding a prisoner. That makes sense to me, taking into account that the heart is deceitful.
But is it humanly possible to keep your heart from carrying you away with its deception?
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. ~Matthew 15:18-19 ESV
The thoughts of your heart are full of evil.
The thoughts of my heart are full of evil.
Have we no hope?
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable…. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 15:50,57 ESV
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ~Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
Thank God that He can purify a deceitful heart. He also promises to empower us to do what we cannot do ourselves – guard our hearts and take our evil thoughts captive.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, ~2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.~Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
He also offers a recipe for healthy thoughts to replace the filthy mud pie your heart produced naturally.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.~Philippians 4:8-9 ESV