Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! Psalm 139:23
We are obligated to watch and keep our hearts above all other things. Let him that desires to avoid temptation labour to know his own heart. Let him be acquainted with his natural frame and temperament, his lusts and corruptions, his natural, sinful, and spiritual weaknesses. By finding out where his weaknesses lies, he may be careful to keep at a distance from all occasions of sin. Temptation often has an advantage in a man’s natural temper and constitution. Some are more naturally gentle, cooperative, easy to be entreated, and pliable. Others by nature tend to be gruff, hard to please, gloomy, so that envy, malice, selfishness, criticism of others, anger and grumbling lie at the door of their natures. They can scarcely step out but are in the snare of one of these. He that would watch that he does not enter into temptation, needs to be acquainted with his own natural temperament, that he might watch over the treacheries that continually lie in it. Labour, therefore, to know what kind of a spirit you are of, what foothold Satan has on your heart, where corruptions are strong, and where grace is weak, and what strongholds lust has in your natural constitution. How many have had all their comforts blasted as a result of their natural passions and harmful constitutions! How many are disturbed even by their own gentleness and easy-going temperament! Get acquainted with your heart. If it is deep, search it out. If it is dark, inquire into it. If your heart seeks to deceive you or to throw you off track by mislabeling its sinful tendencies, do not believe it. Some seek to justify, conceal, or excuse the evils of their own hearts instead of seeking to destroy them. How few there are who will diligently study themselves, or even put up with those who might seek to make them acquainted with them!
Many young parents today are beside themselves with anxieties about their children, and, sadly, confusion too about how to nurture them. The ongoing addiction of our times to the heresy of modernity and its proud rejection and ignorance of the tested and tried wisdom of the past, inevitably leads to dysfunction in home and family life. Sadly, the older, wiser counsel of God’s Word, and especially of the book of Proverbs, is unknown or neglected. Yet Proverbs was composed specifically as a manual for home and family instruction, and to prepare us for life in the world. It is a divinely given handbook to help parents.
Proverbs and Ken Wingate following them shows us the way to possess the jewel of all jewels in a well-adorned life: wisdom that is rooted in the knowledge of, and reverential love for, God. Here is true wisdom that will prove to be worth its weight in gold in every age and culture. Ken Wingate now brings it into our needy culture, and I for one am grateful to him for sharing his gift as a father with other fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters too.
Here then is a book for parents to read on their own; for teenagers to read on their own; for parents and teenagers, who are willing to take the family challenge, to read round the table after dinner or on other occasions. It points us to Gods way. It promises us God’s grace. What could be better for us than that?