Author: Susan Ottmer February is Heart Disease Awareness month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Have you had a heart evaluation lately? How are your interpersonal relationships and your marriage? Does your heart grieve or rejoice when thinking about those relationships? How about your relationship with God? If you are honest, can you say that it is an intimate one?
I am not a medical doctor, but I see a problem with the heart. The Bible has much to say about the heart, and its condition.
One passage that I love is Deuteronomy 6:5-9 “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God’s command is not only to love the Lord passionately, but to also share His commands with our children. The heart that he is referring to may be more what we think of as our mind, but what you fill your mind with does overflow into all areas of our lives. “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Mk 12:34 Therefore, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” Eph. 4:28-29,31-32 Do we practice forgiving others? Do we honestly try to get rid of all slander and gossip from our lives?
David is known as a biblical figure who sought after God’s heart. God saw David’s heart before everyone else did. In fact, the Lord said to Samuel of David’s brother Eliab, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7 David was chosen to be king because his heart was conscripted to the Lord. Do we ask for success, but lack the spiritual discipline to be devoted to God in the process?
David wrote in Psalms “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 Do we regularly ask the Lord to search our hearts or to reveal our anxious thoughts? Anxiety is not only bad for our minds and hearts, but it is a power struggle with the Lord. Our inability to let go of anxious thoughts reveals our pride and our lack of trust in the Lord.
I encourage you to take a few minutes this week to think about these questions and examine your own heart. When you get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day, think about how your heart and your actions show your love to others and to the Lord. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:12-14
Next Week’s Author: Scott Turansky