We’ve been talking about the importance of a healthy heart…physically and spiritually…
Titles frequently describe where we fit in society, on the org chart, or how valuable someone else thinks we are. (Sad, but true.) How about this one: “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.” Pretty impressive, uh? And yet, with all this wisdom, Solomon still made some pretty big mistakes. Including his belief that he was above the law.
Solomon ignored the memo God sent him. “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with whole-hearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (I Chronicles 28:9)
That really feels personal, doesn’t it? Not much we can hide from God.
After reading Mark 7:20-23 from my last posting, my conscience meter was still on low—murder, adultery, lewdness, etc. Not too troubled during my self-reflection. But then in my heart-focused journey, God brings me to King Solomon.
He searches my heart and understands every one of my motives. Wow. Now this is getting a little more troublesome.
So to get a better handle on this heart stuff, I used the same process we followed when taking care of mom’s physical heart:
— Consider the symptoms (pulse, energy, mood, illness, behaviors)
What am I like to be around? Am I flourishing or floundering? What words come out of my mouth? What actions speak louder than my words?
Without sharing the details, let me just say that it didn’t take someone with an M.D. after her name to bring my symptoms to my attention. They appeared very clearly once I intentionally watched my own behaviors.
— Make a diagnosis (by a professional – God’s Word)
“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19) My heart wasn’t “beating” right. It wasn’t healthy. And neither a pacemaker nor a defibrillator were the answer.
— Develop a course of treatment (by a professional – God’s Word)
My heart needed more than a tune-up or mechanical device, it needed an overhaul. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12) I needed to get rid of the junk that was at the core of my heart, and let God create a pure heart.
Repentance, forgiveness, acceptance of God’s love. And then it comes down to choices. Just as my mom needs her mechanical device to keep her heart beating regularly, I need to think, talk, and act in ways that align with what God teaches us. Consistently.
Our hearts keep no secrets.
When my mom’s physical heart isn’t working right, we know it. We see the symptoms in her daily living.
The same thing is true for my heart. When it’s not healthy, the symptoms show up in my daily living, my actions, attitudes, and words.
So what has been my big lesson in all this?
I must guard my heart at all costs.
I need to take care of it physically—eat right, exercise, cut back (notice I didn’t say eliminate!) on M&Ms.
And I need to care of the very core of my heart. Nourish it by reading God’s Word. Protect it through prayer. And strengthen it by making smart choices. I must depend on the Bible and God’s voice, in the same way my mom depends on her mechanical device.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23).