I have heart issues. My heart is prone to wander. My heart is too easily broken when it should have been humbled. Rather than inclining my heart toward wisdom and knowledge, I readily feed upon the foolish dainties the world offers. In times of affliction I often cower and whine and complain, rather than counting it all joy when I face trials and momentary afflictions in this life.
I was recently reading Proverbs 15:13-15, and came across Charles Bridges commentary on this passage. I thought his words were worth further pondering and prayer as I work on my heart issues.
Proverbs 15:13–A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Bridges: [T]he first step in religion is not only beginning to be serious, but to be happy. To maintain our Christian balance, even “godly sorrow” must be disciplined; lest it break the heart, which it was intended only to humble; lest it give advantage to the enemy, and bring hindrance to the Church.
Proverbs 15:14–The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Bridges: Warm affections need the discipline of knowledge to form principle and consistency, Christian completeness and proportion: seeking for wholesome food, not intoxicating draughts; not deeming novelty the most desirable thing….But while the man of understanding is never satisfied with knowledge, the fool is fully satisfied with folly. So brutish is his taste, that his mouth feeds upon foolishness. It is his meat and his drink. His spirit “is of earth, earthy.” Many such fools we find in religion, who prefer empty speculations and disputings on matters indifferent to the rich pasture of the children of God. Let us ponder the responsibility of “going on to perfection; that, being of full age, we may have our senses excited to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:14]
Proverbs 15:15–All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
The abounding consolation of Christian affliction does not blot out its penal character. As the fruit and chastening of sin, it is an evil; and therefore all the days of the afflicted are evil. Yet the child of God in affliction is not so miserable as he seems to be. The darkest of these evil days can never make “the consolations of God small with him.” [Job 15:11] He can sing in the prison as in a palace….He can praise his God, when he hath stripped him naked. He can rejoice in him, as his portion in earthly destitution….What real evil then can affliction bring? Or rather, what does it bring but many feast days? A few days’ feasting would soon weary the epicure. But here the merry heart hath a continual feast–And ‘all his trouble is but the rattling hail upon the tiles of his house, ‘, not disturbing his enjoyment. Fed with this heavenly portion, shall I not thank my God, that he hath rooted me up from present satisfactions? “Let me not eat of this world’s dainties. Thou has put gladness into my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased” [Psalm 141:4; 4:6].
excerpts from An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs by Charles Bridges