Read about the heart of the problem in Part I.
Guarding Your Heart
Since the condition of our heart determines our life, it is imperative that we carefully guard our hearts. How? By carefully giving it to the right people. Proverbs 23:26 says,
“My son, give me thine heart.”
Who wrote that, anyway? It was a father. In this case it was Solomon talking to his son, Rehoboam. It is a father who understands life and can see that there are great dangers ahead facing his son. In fact, if you’ll study the rest of Proverbs 23 after verse 26, you’ll see that he explicitly warns against two great dangers that have deceived and destroyed many young men. What are they? Strange women and strong wine. Both have left a trail of misery for young men who refuse to give their hearts to their parents.
Guard your heart by carefully giving it to the right people.
“Keep thy heart with diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,”
says Proverbs 4:23. There is a tendency in our day for young people to carelessly give their hearts away here and there and everywhere.
There are several people that it may be safe for a young person to give their heart to. Godly grandparents would be one example. I’m referring to grandparents who encourage what the parents are doing in teaching their children the things of God; in being separated from the things of the world; in helping to make sure that the children are immersed in the truths of God’s Word. Godly grandparents who support the parents in their efforts to raise Godly children can be a tremendous boost. And your children can safely give their hearts to grandparents like that.
The primary people that a child should give his heart to, however, are his parents. And children should never give their heart to anyone whom Godly parents warn them against—no matter who they are!
Young people, have you given your heart to your parents?
Do you enjoy spending time with them, or would you just as soon never spend time with them?
Do you respect them?
Do you like being with them?
Is it a joy to your heart to serve them?
Does it bother your heart to displease them?
Are you loyal to your parents in their presence and behind their backs?
Do you share joyfully what is going on inside of you?
What’s the Biblical example of what the relationship should be to your parents? It’s the heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus. In John 5:30, Jesus said,
“I can of mine own self do nothing . . . I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
Often throughout the Bible, a young man is known or recognized by his relationship with his father. David, for example, was referred to as “the son of Jesse.” This pattern is repeated many times throughout the Bible. But what is the world trying to do today? Not trying to draw children closer to their parents, but trying to separate them!
As I studied this topic, I asked myself a simple question: “Is there an example in the Bible of someone who gave his heart to the wrong person, and if so, what were the consequences?” There is in fact a very powerful illustration of this truth found in the Old Testament. It’s the story of King David’s son Absalom.
We find his story in 2 Samuel chapters 13–19. In chapter 13, we find that Absalom and Tamar were full-blooded brother and sister. But David was not as protective of Tamar as he should have been. He allowed Tamar’s half-brother, Amnon, to be alone with her, and Amnon took advantage of his own half-sister! David was angry when he heard what happened, but he took no action. Two years later, Absalom had Amnon executed to revenge his sister’s mistreatment. Then Absalom fled to Geshur for three years. David’s general, Joab, noticed how badly David missed Absalom, so he got the king to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem; but for two more years, David refused to talk to his son. Absalom, provoked to wrath by seven years of his father’s failure to act and failure to communicate, sent for general Joab. When Joab didn’t come, Absalom had Joab’s barley fields set on fire. Those fields on fire were a picture of Absalom’s heart burning with anger and rejection and distress because of being cut off from his father.
Finally, Joab came and Absalom said, “I want to see my father. If he wants to kill me, let him kill me. But I want to see my father.” So Joab talked to David and David sent for Absalom. But the reception that Absalom received was not the warm reception of a father. It was the cold reception of a monarch on a throne. Absalom was treated like a subject when he should have been treated like a son.
By the time we reach 2 Samuel 15, Absalom had become a rebel. He mounted his chariot and left. Then he planned and plotted, and finally carried out his plan to usurp his father’s throne. He ran his father out of town and started a horrible war in which thousands of people died.
In 2 Samuel 15:13, we read:
“And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.”
King David had his faults, but he was the one that God had set up as king over Israel. The hearts of the people ought to have been following after him. Instead, they gave their hearts to Absalom, and twenty thousand people died in the ensuing war. When people give their hearts to the wrong people, the results can be nothing short of disastrous.
Like King David, a parent may have many faults. They may not be everything they should be. But God still wants children to give their hearts to their parents. The first problem in the story of Absalom is that David did not have his children’s hearts. Absalom then rebelled, and stole away the hearts of the people. If every person in this story had given their heart to the right person, the violent rebellion could never have taken place.
Incidentally, in 2 Samuel 15:11, it says that there were two hundred men who went with Absalom to help in his rebellion. But the Bible says something interesting about those two hundred men. It says, “they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.” Any time you see someone encouraging a young person in rebellion against their parents, you can be sure that that person is ignorant and simple about life. There are people—young, old, and everywhere in between—who encourage young people to rebel against their parents. When you see a person doing that, you’re seeing a person who bears the trademark of not really understanding life. Like those who followed after Absalom, they are simple and know not anything about this area of life.
When a young person throws their heart away, they throw their life away! The greatest waste of a young person’s life is when they turn their back on the parents who have loved them, cared for them, helped them, and give their heart instead to the wrong kind of person who leads them down the wrong road.
Young people say, “But my mom and dad . . .” You’re right. They’re not everything they should be. They’ve made mistakes just like the rest of us. But my question to you is this: Are you going to forgive, or are you going to hold a grudge until it destroys you? Are you going to say, “He’s my dad, and he’s human and I’m human, but I still need my parents and I’m going to forgive them when they make mistakes”?
Why do young people need their parents’ guidance so much, anyway? Because of the simple fact that the parents have lived longer. They have more life experience, have walked further down the road of life, and have learned a few things along the way.
There are some parents who “played the fool” when they were younger and try to get their own children not to make the same mistakes they made. Why? Because they saw where that road of wrong choices took them. Generally speaking, a parent who has a teenager has lived long enough to have walked down the road of life, or seen down the road of life, and understand where it comes out.
It’s not an insult to young people to say that they can’t see any further than the end of their nose. They don’t have the life experience that their parents have. So many young people think they know everything and can handle life, but they end up making wrong choices and ruining their lives. But if a young person will instead give their heart to their parents, they’re far more likely to avoid serious mistakes in life because they will be open to their parents’ guidance and direction.
Young people, if God has given you Godly parents and you try to live your life without them, you’re making one of the biggest mistakes it is possible to make. We are living in one of the most morally dangerous times in the history of the world, and there are so many wrong people who will try to get you to give them your heart. The best thing you can do is to give your heart to your parents.
Make a Commitment
Everyone needs to make sure that they have given their heart to the right people, but a young person especially needs to make a conscious, deliberate commitment of their heart to their parents. And parents need to accept their children’s hearts as a solemn charge that should always be handled with care and love.
The plea of Solomon is as vital and urgent today as it has ever been. “My son, give me thine heart . . .” What we do with that plea will determine the whole course of our lives.
By Dr. S. M. Davis
Dr. S. M. Davis has been married to Rae Jean since 1969. They are the parents of 4 daughters who with their husbands and 12 grandchildren are all actively serving the Lord. He is the founder and director of Solve Family Problems, a DVD ministry that gives Biblical solutions to critical family problems, as well as help to foresee and avoid problems. He served for 36 years as a pastor in Lincoln, Illinois. Dr. Davis will be a featured speaker at the 2013 Homeschool Conference, where he will share on many topics vital to godly families. Listen or download a free audio sermon from him here!
Used by permission of Dr. S.M. Davis and Homeschool Enrichment Inc. © 2013 by Solve Family Problems. All Rights Reserved.
“15/365-Hold My Heart,” © 2009 Helga Weber. used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.