Tips on How to Keep the Heart – Proverbs 4:23

It’s crushing when you realize that your children have lost their innocence. No matter how hard I try to shield mine, the world keeps reaching out and grabbing them. The biggest culprit is media. The world bombards them with it from every direction. Television, video games, radio, and YouTube give my kids access to all sorts of stuff I never had access to at their age. So what can I do as a mom? What can YOU do as a parent to keep the heart of your child focused on God and not the world?

How to Keep the Heart of Your Children Away from the World

The horrible, awful truth is that you can’t stop them from seeing it or hearing it. Not to long ago, my 12-yr old son told me how much amphetamines cost. What? I homeschool my children, and we DO not have access to drugs. But, he heard the information from an older boy – at church. Ouch!

Since we can’t shield them from it, then we must give them the weapons to defend against it. Teach them to monitor themselves and guard their hearts. In the process, learn to keep your own heart focused on the Lord because our kids learn from what we do and not what we say.

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

Most of us agree that movies with sexual content are inappropriate for children. Even worse are the books. I can’t begin to tell you the number of books I’ve read that I’d never recommend to my daughter. And this brings me to my point. Am I doing what it says in Proverbs 4:23?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

If I cannot sit and watch a show with my adolescent son because I find the sexual scenes too embarrassing, then the show is inappropriate FOR ME to watch on my own.

If I cannot recommend a book to my teenage daughter because the content is too edgy, then the book is inappropriate FOR ME.

And if I am not living the way I am supposed to, how in the word can I hope to shepherd my children?

Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head while walking through the grocery store? Then, three days later, you catch yourself singing lyrics, you weren’t even aware you knew.

How many of you hear cursing on a regular basis at work? Are you absorbing them without even realizing it?

 I used to take care of a sweet, 2-year old girl. She was from a good Christian family, who did their best to raise her right. One day, she began using the Lord’s name in vain – like in every other sentence. Needless to say, her parent were distressed and so was I. It made me cringe every time I heard it.

We finally realized it was coming from the Cinderella video she loved so much. The movie was ok, but the offensive words came up in the trailer. Out of all the phrase, she honed in on the ones we didn’t want her to learn. Of course,  at two yrs she had no idea what she was saying, they were just stuck in her head.

Keep the Heart Safe from Subtle Influences

Guard against the words around you. You may not be able to stop them, but be aware of what you are hearing, and don’t let yourself absorb it. Music is the biggest culprit. I know a lot of songs from the 1980s. As a teenager, I used to listen to music all the time. I can still sing almost every 1980s rock tune that comes on the radio. Yikes! Some of those lyrics are BAD. I don’t think I ever paid attention to their meaning when I was younger, but I certainly absorbed them into my brain.

If you wouldn’t want your child to sing the words, then they are inappropriate FOR YOU.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

For the Father, Up Above is Looking Down in Love

God’s Word says we need to set up a guard, a watch, a defense against all things that might try to invade. Be careful what you allow into your mind. Most of us have heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out.”  It means what you allow in will eventually come out in your actions.

The greatest guard against “garbage” is a daily dose of God’s Word. Not only will it consume our thoughts, crowding out the unpleasantness around us, but it gives us an example with which to judge other media.

There is nothing wrong with watching a movie or reading a book for pleasure. You just need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I be uncomfortable recommending this to other Christians?
  • Is there any visual content I would consider inappropriate for a child?
  • Are there any words spoken that would make me cringe if my son said them at church?
  • Is the story line perverse, yet meant for entertainment? Be careful, because this can be subtle.

Note: There are parts of “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom that I did not feel were appropriate for my children until they were a bit older, yet I would recommend the book to anyone old enough to handle its sobering content. This type of “adult material” is not the same as a perverse storyline.

How Much is Too Much?

You have three bottles of water. The first bottle is an unopened bottle of purified water. The second is a bottle of clean toilet water. The third holds sewer water. It’s hot outside, and you are thirsty. Which one of these bottles would you choose to refresh yourself?

Most of us would never touch the sewer water. NASTY!  But, how much filth can we handle without getting spiritually sick? The toilet water is mostly clean; just a little tainted in comparison to the sewer water.

But why are we even debating between the toilet water and the sewer water? God gave us PURE WATER! 

Make sure you only take in the cleanest things and be careful to keep the heart of children and yourself away from the filth of this world.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Be Careful to Teach Them Discretion

Once you have set limits for yourself, you need to teach your children to do the same thing. I allow my kids to take a black marker to any book in our house that contains “bad words.” Our bookshelves hold chapter books with the word “dumb” crossed out because my 2nd grader felt it was a “bad word.” That is just fine by me.

I emphasize that by getting rid of the bad stuff, they are helping to censor the books for their younger siblings. My older kids help evaluate TV shows and movies for my younger ones. I’ve found that they become more critical of the content when they are evaluating it for someone younger.

The best weapon is sensitivity. By having my kids watch for inappropriate material and take the action of eliminating it, they have learned discretion.

We can’t always avoid the filth around us, but we can keep our heart on Jesus and wash ourselves off in the Water of His Word.

Kim Schmutzler

About the Author

Kim Schmutzler

Kim and her husband, Craig, live in Overland Park KS where she successfully manages a marketing company and homeschools her two children still at home. Twenty-two years of juggling business and homeschooling has taught her a thing or two about time management. In addition to work and family, Kim helps her husband with the College and Career class at the church and also directs the Children's Music Ministry and drama team. The Submissive Spirit was born from her desire to reach out to other Christian women across the globe and share encouragement and the love of Christ.

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