About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year—that is 1 in every 4 deaths are from heart related issues. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than ever before, people are interested in heart health. Everyone needs a healthy heart.
But there is another heart that is even more important. What I mean is—you need a healthy spiritual heart. We need to raise awareness about the condition of the core of our innermost being. Solomon wrote, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). In Scripture, the heart is the source of the emotions, intellect and will, or seat of the total personality.
If you want a healthy spiritual heart, you must think seriously about what you watch, hear, and see, as well as to what you devote your mind, thoughts and deeds. You cannot afford to pollute the wellspring of your life. Do not give yourself to the wrong, empty, immoral and vain things that are in this world.
Guarding one’s heart reminds me of roadside signs in various places in the country that read, “Wellhead Protection Area.” That warning means the surface and subsurface land area is regulated to prevent contamination of a well or well-field supplying a public water system. A little contamination or pollution there would have a widespread effect elsewhere. It is the same way with your heart.
Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Treasures are highly prized. People will set their hearts, desires and values on their treasures, so make sure you value the eternal and not just the temporal. See that you have a biblically based value system. How can you have a healthy heart? Elevate what Scripture extolls; strive for the things that please God’s heart; and do the things Jesus would do.
God’s Word has much to say about the danger of ignoring or abusing your heart health. The Bible warns us to avoid a double heart (Psalm 12:2); not to harden our hearts (Proverbs 28:14; Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:8); not to sin by having a proud heart (Proverbs 21:4); to avoid an unbelieving heart (Hebrews 3:12); and to confess when we have an unclean heart (Psalm 51:10). We should follow the example of David who cried out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24). We know that “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts” (Prov. 21:2).
Another reason to guard your heart and feed your eyes, ears and mind the right things, is that whatever is in your heart will eventually be exposed. Jesus said, “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush” (Luke 6:44). He then explained: “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (verse 45).
We live in an evil world. The pollution of sin is all around. Be careful to protect your heart from contamination, which would ruin your life and destroy your testimony. You cannot dabble in sin, follow perversion or partake in evil things without pollution flooding your heart, which then will surface in your life and lips. Guard your heart, “for from it flow the springs of life.”
So, how can you improve your heart health?
ONE: Fortify your heart by faithfully spending time in God’s house, studying God’s Word and singing praise with God’s people. We should “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Christians need to encourage one another DAILY. Everyone needs to hear words that hearten and inspire them to keep on living for Christ. Without encouragement we may become disheartened and quit.
TWO: Another way to strengthen your heart is to control your spiritual diet. Carve out a special time every day to spend with God, reading His Word and praying to Him. The word of God bolsters our faith in Him as we learn how He has helped others. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
THREE: One other way to a healthy heart is exercise—Paul told Timothy to “have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, exercise yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1Timothy 4:7). Practice doing what you know is good and right. Jesus said, His spiritual family is made of those who “hear the word of God, and do it” (Luke 8:21). Receiving the Word and encouragement while doing nothing with it, results in disobedience. A healthy heart needs exercise! We must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).
Let’s focus on gaining and maintaining a healthy heart!