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An Heroic Police Sniper and a Look at Proverbs 4:23

~By Sharon Czerwien

Sheriff Carmine Marceno said it best:

“How you train is how you perform, and this is exactly what we trained for…” [1]


I do not often view videos labeled, “Viewer Discretion Advised” because I do not like scary stories embedded in my mind. I know my comfort level well enough, though, that if an “advisory” news video has hit close enough to home (not necessarily geographically!) that I really do desire to watch the conclusion of that real event.


I recently saw a news push alert on my phone, and I knew not to open the video when my children were with me. The video involved a sheriff’s office sniper going against a man holding hostages in a bank. For copyright purposes, I am attaching the video.


The Quote


In part of the news video, a sheriff appears to be in a news conference. Regarding the hostage rescue, Sheriff Marceno said, “How you train is how you perform, and this is exactly what we trained for…” [1]


As I was watching this news video in a parking lot after a doctor’s appointment, I was in “awe” of this statement. Without proper training, these officers would not have been able to successfully complete their mission—especially the sniper! Training, training, training…its importance cannot be stated strongly enough!


The Biblical Analogy


My dad recently asked my daughter what her favorite Bible verse was. She said she had several. I, too, have several favorites, but I think that my “favorite” cautionary verse is Proverbs 4:23. This verse shares a vital alert for any child of God.


“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”


In my adult Bible study book, I devote two whole chapters to the spiritual heart.


Proverbs 4:23 contains some words that remind me of the above news story regarding necessary training.


Let’s consider a few Hebrew words to understand these concepts a bit more in depth.



~Strong’s Concordance: to “guard, watch, protect, keep, preserve, be hidden” [2]

~Complete Word Study Dictionary (CWSD): “refers to people’s maintaining things entrusted to them, especially to keeping the truths of God in both actions and mind…our hearts, in turn, ought to be maintained in a right state (Prov. 4:23).” [3]

Author and commentator, Bruce Waltke, states that this idea of “keeping”/ “guarding” is a present imperative in Hebrew. This means it is a command and something that is to be done continuously! [4]


~Strong’s Concordance: “a guarding” [2]

~CWSD: it is “referring to custody, a guard, a prison…it has the sense of to keep guard (4:23).” [3]

4:23b “For out of it [the heart] are the issues of life.”

This carries the idea that the heart is governing all activity.

If our heart governs our activity, we must remember to watch/guard what we are doing continuously!


Both Strong’s, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, and Waltke maintain that these “issues” deal with the “goings-out”. The core of our decisions in life stem from what is taking place in our hearts.

The heart is the source of all our actions and behavior. The heart is driving what we do. Scary! Active. This is what our heart is…ACTIVE! We must guard it, guard it above all. [5]




So, at what am I getting??? What’s the point???


The police—specifically the sniper—in the news video must consistently train to be on guard! How the police train is how they will perform. As we know, the police do not take their necessary training lightly, and their goal at the end of the day is to go home.


Quite honestly, their training and sense of guarding are matters of life and death.


Spiritually-speaking, we have been cautiously forewarned in Proverbs 4:23 that we need to make a spiritual effort to keep guard of our own heart. Our issues in life depend on it!


What might this guarding look like?


I really appreciate author and Biblical counselor, Elyse Fitzpatrick. In her book, Idols of the Heart, she gives a simple two-part statement to analyze if our heart is in the right place or not. Her statement is practical and to-the-point (and honestly life-changing for me!).


“If you’re willing to sin to obtain your goal or if you sin when you don’t get what you want, then your desire has taken God’s place and you’re functioning as an idolater.” [6]


Mic Drop! (I’ve always wanted to write that! =])


When we check our hearts in any situation, we can literally ask ourselves:


1.  Did I sin to get this “need/desire” met?

2.  If my “need/desire” can’t be met, did I sin in my responses?


Truthfully answering these questions can literally be the avenue to help us guard our hearts along the way.


Thanks for sticking with this long post! I don’t normally get so technical and deep, but I thought it was an appropriate topic to cover once I saw this news story about training and guarding.


~Take care and let’s keep our guard on,





[1] “Sheriff's sniper shoots, kills suspect who held hostages at Florida bank”, accessed June 10, 2024,


[2] James Strong, The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001). 

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, ed., The Complete Word Study Dictionary, NT (Chatanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993).

[4] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004).

[5] Sharon Czerwien, Core: Biblical Principles for When Life Gets Bumpy (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2021).

[6] Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart, Learning to Long for God Alone (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001).



I love your statement: The core of our decisions in life stem from what is taking place in our hearts….

Replying to

Thank you. The study of the heart has been a favorite of mine!

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