A sound heart is the life of the flesh
A. A Sound Heart
1. Sound: health; healing; cure; restoration; a state lacking disease and weakness; wholesome.
2. Heart: inner man; mind; will; heart; understanding; mind; knowledge; thinking; reflection; inner part; midst.
3. Having a sound heart means that our inner man is whole… healthy… pure… wholesome… not diseased with sin… having a pure conscience… strong on the inside, not weak… an inner man that is in a wholesome relationship with God… no sin interfering with the fellowship… the heart is healthy spiritually…
B. The Life of the Flesh
1. Here Solomon states that a healthy INNER man has a healthy effect on the OUTER man.
a. When your soul, your emotions, and your inner man are in good shape, it is like LIFE to the flesh… to the body.
2. What’s going on on the inside is often reflected on the outside.
a. Prov. 15:13 – a merry heart (inner man) is expressed in one’s countenance (his outward appearance).
b. Prov. 17:22 – a merry heart is like medicine!
• This passage hints at a real psychosomatic condition… that the condition of our inner man can have a direct effect on the condition of our outer man… the body.
• If you are down physically… dealing with a chronic disease or if you are dealing with a loss or a trial… a good attitude is like medicine! The worst of circumstances are lightened and lessened by a merry heart.
c. I’m sure we’ve all seen the difference in the way different people handle similar trials. Perhaps you’ve noticed the difference in the way different children in your own family deal with troubles… Some are cheerful… others are not. Some handle things well… others do not.
d. Prov. 18:14 – the spirit of a man will sustain him… if your inner man is healthy… a healthy spirit about you… then that will enable you to sustain circumstances that might ruin others without a healthy spirit.
e. A sound heart is LIFE… it enhances life… enables us to endure the hardships of life… it helps maintain the health and vigor of the body.
f. A healthy heart (free from sin; bitterness; anger; worry; envy; etc)… a heart that is wholesome, cheerful, pure, free from guilt, right before God and man… has a healthy effect on one’s body and one’s whole life.
g. A good heart is good for you! It’s life!
But envy the rottenness of the bones
a. Zeal; jealousy; a strong desire and deep devotion for an object; rivalry.
b. A grudging regard for the advantages seen to be enjoyed by others.
2. Prov. 6:34 – translated jealousy: the rage of a man!
3. Prov. 27:4 – it is worse than wrath and anger!
a. It moves men to commit horrible sins: murder; theft; slander; etc…
b. Acts 7:9 – Joseph’s brothers were envious of him and they sold him into slavery… and left him for dead. (Gen. 37:11 – And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.)
c. Jas. 3:16 – Envy leads to many other sins… confusion and every evil work!
B. Rottenness of the Bones
1. Rottenness: rotten; decay; degeneration; used figuratively.
2. When the heart is healthy and wholesome, it has a healthy effect on the body.
3. When the heart is sick… decayed… rotten with sin—like envy!—it too has an effect on the body…
a. It is not like medicine, but more like a poison… a disease.
b. Envy is like a disease that eats away at your insides.
c. A healthy, sound heart is continually being strengthened, edified, built up and restored.
d. An unhealthy heart (one riddled with envy and jealousy) is not strengthened, but ruined… decay is taking place… destruction… a rotting away from the inside out… like a house full of termites… like a body being destroyed by disease…
e. God doesn’t have to punish men who live in envy. Envy carries its own punishment… its own judgment: rottenness of the bones!
f. Job 5:2 – Eliphaz says (and rightly so!) “Envy slays the silly one!”
4. The man, woman, or child who allows ENVY to fester in their inner man is in for a life of misery.
a. If you see others with things that you WANT… and you keep your eyes focused on those things… it will eat away at you on the inside.
b. You will become a person who is internally corroding from unhealthy passion… decaying and corrupting on the inside.
c. You will become bitter, discontent, unhappy, miserable… rotten!
d. And the reason? Your eyes are focused on earthly things rather than on the Lord!
• Envy is the work of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-19)
• Envy is earthly, sensual, and devilish! (Jas. 3:14-15)
• Our spiritual enemies are never going to encourage us to look to Christ… rather, they will encourage us to grovel in the dirt… that which is earthly, sensual… even demonic.
e. Even if you DON’T have any of those things that others have (money; power; looks; property; leisure time; popularity; fancy cars; etc…) you don’t have to obsess over them.
f. If you do, you will start rotting on the inside… and things that rot soon begin to stink. People won’t want to be around you…
5. Prov. 4:23 – KEEP your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of LIFE.
a. By taking care of the heart… keeping it sound, wholesome, healthy… we can maintain LIFE the way God intended for it to be lived.
b. It is SIN that brings misery and rottenness on the inside.
c. It is a spiritually HEALTHY heart that results in experiencing the abundant life.
d. Hence: KEEP your heart. Don’t let disease settle down inside.
e. DEAL with sin when it begins to take root in the heart: envy, jealousy, anger, lust, greed, covetousness, pride, discontent…
f. It will just breed more and more misery. It is its own judgment!
g. HOW do we keep our hearts?
• Jas. 3:16 – Envy leads to many other sins… confusion and every evil work!
» If you want to AVOID such sins, then DEAL with envy before it leads to them! This is how we guard our hearts.
» When God points out sin—don’t ignore it. Deal with it.
» Don’t push it aside and try to get comfortable without dealing with it—like a pebble in your shoe. Get the pebble OUT of the shoe!
» Titus 3:3 – Unbelievers learn to LIVE with envy. That should not be the case for the believer. We should REMOVE envy from our lives.
• I Pet. 2:1-2 – Envy HINDERS real spiritual growth. It MUST be put away before we will hunger and thirst for the Word of God again…
• Ps. 73:2-3 – Being envious of the wicked who prosper in the world can be the ruin of our walk with God. It can cause our feet to slip, spiritually. That’s what happened to Asaph. His answer: he went to the Temple to be alone with God…
• Prov. 23:17 – “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.”
» Don’t envy sinners; fear God!
» Don’t focus on men and what they have; focus on God and who He is. That will result in fear and respect for God.
» When we stand in awe of who God is… the glitter and gleam of earthly trinkets will grow strangely dim…
• Ps. 119:80 – Keep it sound by keeping your heart in the Word of God.
» Spending time in God’s Word will have a cleansing effect on our mind and heart.
» It will cause our eyes to be focused on things above—rather than the things of earth that provoke us to envy and jealousy.
• I Tim. 6:8 – be CONTENT with such things as you have!
• Phil. 4:10-11 –Paul LEARNED to be content… in whatsoever state God allowed him to experience… either abounding or abased!
• Gal. 5:25-26 – Walk in the Spirit… and don’t envy. Spirit filling results in LOVE… and love envieth not.
• Ps. 37:7 – REST in the Lord and WAIT patiently for Him.
» Learn to lean upon the Lord and begin to experience what we have in the LORD.
» We have ALL spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus!
» Let the others have their earthly trinkets. What we have in Christ is far better.
» Learn to REST in that truth… it will calm all storms of envy that might arise.
» Resting is much better for your bones than fretting.