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Guard Truth Closely (Proverbs 4:13)

We safeguard the things that are important to us. Security systems and fences protect our homes and properties. Collars and GPS chips help us keep track of our pets. Bank vaults and lockboxes keep our valuables in a safe place. But how do we guard truth closely?

God’s instruction is everything to us. His words give us life, and allow us to share that life with others. They instruct and train us, reprove and correct, encourage and nourish and safeguard. And we are instructed to keep it close and never let go!

“Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.” Proverbs 4:13 NLT

It reminds me of a school locker. Compare the chaos and noise of a high school hallway, as students are rushing between classes and catching up with their friends, to the chaos of a non-stop world and the “noise, noise, Noise, Noise, NOISE!” that overwhelms us daily. How easy is it to guard truth closely in an environment like that?

So I started designing a simple locker door (going off memory from high school days!), and added a lock to the door, because that’s how we keep our stuff in and other people out. Likewise, we need to keep truth in our hearts and keep the sin-filled messages of this world out, safeguarding the most important things where they won’t be overlooked or forgotten.

Next, I recalled how we used to plaster our lockers with snapshots of our identity, showing off the brands / objects / people that were most important to us. Stickers and photos played a key role in that! So I decorated the locker with some key thoughts from the verse in a bumper sticker style, keeping the lettering simple enough to read them at a glance:

“God Word is the key to life.” “Hold tight to instruction.” “Keep safe what you learn.” 

Images often direct our thoughts even more quickly then words, so I added a few cross stamps that I’d created. If you were walking by this locker (or scrolling past this image in your newsfeed), those crosses would catch your eye first!

My final task was adding color. Lockers can be almost any color you want, but I tried to stick with the general idea of instruction by choosing a chalkboard green for the locker, and adding some contrasting colors on the stickers to draw more attention to them. And I love how it turned out! It was really fun to create, and the time I spent drawing it provided a great opportunity to meditate on the significance of this command.

What image do you think of when reading this verse? Let me know in the comments!


PS. Read my reflections on this verse here.

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