It’s that time of year again
It’s that time of year again when there are red and pink hearts of all sizes in every retail establishment. I always wondered where the "heart shape" came from, I mean, it isn't at all the shape of human hearts! Yet it's been recognized as a symbol of love since at least the mid-1200s. Why? Well, despite lots of research about its beginning, here's what I found out---- nobody knows.
There's another aspect of the heart that concerns folks: There are over 1 Million heart-related medical procedures in the US/year. There's a website that sells vitamins which has 128 products for Heart Health! Magazine & internet articles about how to care for your heart have abounded One advised these: Eat a good breakfast. Eat chocolate! Eat healthy. Be really active at least 30 min/day. Have fun. Sleep at least 7 hours nightly.
People recognize that the heart is related to keeping the body going. God made it an impressive muscle. Roughly the size of a fist, weighing 1/2 a pound It pumps about 6 quarts of blood through the body by beating 60 to 80 times/min.. (About 100,000 x/day!)
But most people know they should take care of the machine God gave you.
What's confusing for many people is that we really are beings with 2 hearts! Not like a squid which has 3 hearts, no. For us, there's the heart that pumps in our chests AND the heart that molds us & determines behavior through our affections.
The physical human heart is less complex than what the Bible refers to as the heart. The Bible refers to "heart" more than 800 times in the Old Testament alone, mostly dealing with those things that attract, motivate and mold us. Judging from generations of popular music, we are easily led by the wants and desires of our hearts. Motives and feelings can become our idols if we decide they're more important than the Lord. Actions and character come out of these things we spend our time thinking about.
So naturally, God cares about this heart very much. Philippians 4: 7 refers to the "peace of God...guarding our hearts." Proverb 4:23 advises that “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Sounds important! What exactly are we guarding it from? From the "firey darts" of Satan , who attacks each of us slightly differently. But here are a few common things to help guard:
1) Christians need to realize that the old advice to “follow your heart” can be a recipe for disaster. Independent of God, the heart is selfish and sinful. An unreliable source of rationalization, whim & "me first." We are only to allow in what is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy", by God's standards. (Philippians 4:8) You should notice that the world admires some dreadful things.
2) Satan expends much effort to discourage, anger and isolate God's people. But he fears the Church because Christ has ultimately won the battle. Christians must meet and work together and be bold in our faith and continue to pray & use God’s Word as our weapon. Satan fears those who take hold of the Bible and begin placing "post-it notes of Scripture" in our hearts and the Word in our mouths and lives.
Despite the many sad songs of damaged, helpless hearts, our hearts are trainable. If the Bible tells us to guard our hearts, we can conclude that our Maker says we CAN guard them. We are not at the mercy of random whims or even driving desires that would defeat us and are difficult to beat. They ARE beatable. Not alone, but with the Holy Spirit's help, asked for in prayer. The physical heart needs exercise to work well, so does the heart that molds our action & values needs strengthening in the Word of God. I know people whose physical hearts have healed from scary incidents. The other heart can, too!
Want the best heart health? Every time you feel like thinking or doing something, choose to rely on God & do your part to exercise Godly thoughts and self-control. You are guarding your heart—and God is smiling! Victorious exercising for your eternal heart! Pastor Geoff