In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-37) Jesus isolates the source of wrong actions. It all begins inside, at the center of our being, symbolized by the heart. We use the word “heart” not just to describe the beating muscle that pushes blood around our bodies, but also to speak of our deepest motives and emotions. A sermon reflecting on this topic can be found here.
The prophet Jeremiah complained that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9-10) The writer of Psalm 139 makes the prayer “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (verse 23)
Physical heart health is important. Equally vital is having emotional and spiritually healthy hearts. Unless we have our inner life in tune with God, then our outer life manifests discord, rather than revealing peace, purpose, and love.
In a study conducted and funded by National Institutes of Health, individuals who prayed daily were shown to be 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those without a regular prayer practice. Research at Dartmouth Medical School found that patients with strong religious beliefs, who underwent elective heart surgery, were three times more likely to recover than those who were less religious.
When we take “time out” to be still and commune with God, it helps us align our heart purposes with those of God's Kingdom. During His ministry, we see how Jesus sought for moments of solitude to pray and seek God's guidance. If such was a necessary practice for Him, then prayer should also be a priority in His disciple's lives.
The Scriptures take time to digest. We are invited to meditate on God's words and allow them to seep into our hearts. It is only then that they truly begin to direct our lives. Let us seek to be owners of healthy spiritual hearts!
For some music, a classic oldie from Keith Green; “Create in me a Clean Heart.”
Prayer: “Lord our God, we ask that Your Holy Spirit would help us to have physical, emotional and spiritual healthy hearts. Renew us with the love of Jesus. Amen.”