The physical heart is the very symbol of life for the body, it represents health and wellness. We see in medical logos a picture of a heart which represents health and well being!
Yet one neglected facet of our human existence is spiritual heart health. We know certain things are bad for our physical heart too much fatty foods, smoking, caffein, and a whole list of behaviors Im not one to criticize.
Yet unconfessed sin in the life of a believer can cause heart problems, Atherosclerosis of the hardened spiritual heart.
I think Im an expert on heart conditions spiritually by now since my heart is so prone to wander and praise God he is still good to me.
Greed -is one condition of the spiritual heart that can work against us if not careful. It can harden us to the needs of others, and make us not trust God to provide our needs.
Luke 11:39-40 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?
Covetousness- alot like greed but can be more expansive then just longing for money, covetouseness can involve other people’s possessions, family, spouse or just position in life.
Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Lust-Now do not get me wrong, human sexuality is a gift, but like any other good thing can easily be abused and misused. The physical heart is negatively affected by abuse of food, so also our spiritual hearts suffer when we violate God’s design for human sexuality.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Complacency- Basically this is a heart that has weakened and gotten lazy, failing to pump the motivation for God through us like it ought, a sluggish indifference and lack of zeal. A “cardiomyopathy” of spiritual proportions.
Romans 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Pride- The enlarged heart, spiritual “cardiomegaly” – yeah this is a prideful heart about to rupture because it is so full of itself
We should have swollen hearts filled with God’s love for others and love for Jesus, not ego.
Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Anger-now anger itself is not too deadly unless it turns into bitterness. A wounded heart can easily become a ruptured and infected heart if we do not deal with our pains and grievances by taking them to the Lord. Only he is big enough to deal with both hurt and offenses committed by others. If you are following Christ then mark it down no one can stop his plans for your good and His glory in your life.
People can only stop us if we let our anger destroy our hearts in the process. God is a great surgeon for matters like these and in the physical heart it is called a “myocardial rupture” but in the spiritual sense the tears in our hearts can spill out poisonous rage if we do not deal with it.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
It is ok to get upset but we should try to do as the Psalmist does by presenting our complaints before God, and trusting him to be good and just.
1.) Get a new heart.
As fallen sinful human beings we all are born with sinfulness. It’s inherited, and we all are born on the same playing field- sinners in need of forgiveness and healing.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
Yes that is right, we all from day one inherited a heart of stone, not a sick heart but a dead heart, and we need a transplant. This is what takes place when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and say, “Lord I’m a sinner and I cannot fix myself, please change me and give me a heart to love and serve you.” When a person in faith does the simple thing of believing Christ died on the cross for their sins and rose again to give them brand new life they are transformed from the inside out. They are as John 3 says, “Born again”
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
To be born of Spirit is totally God’s work to surgically replace our dead hearts of stone toward God with a heart of flesh, a living, beating spiritual heart. Its a free gift and it cannot be earned or bought, just received in faith.
Granted even Christians who genuinely follow Christ still can struggle though, we receive God’s living Spirit and he puts a new heart in us but we still have this sack of tissue we are trapped in till we die called skin, aka our body. The body will still crave what it ought not, look no farther then the cookies on the counter and you will know what I mean. Inside a Christians heart he or she has the desire to follow Christ and the strength in the Holy Spirit but the body screams “no!”- whether that be through the cookies on the table or the snooze button (not to say these are the worst of struggles a person can have but they do show that the body can fight us)
The best way to deal with such things is to as Jesus said, “Watch and pray so you do not fall into temptation, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”
Prayer is very important for our spiritual health and it has the power to change our hearts when we spend time with the Lord.
3.) Time in scripture
God can communicate in many ways but primarily he confirms this through scripture. Outward impressions and epiphany are ok but not the best way of hearing from God. The problem arises when an outward epiphany or impression contradicts God’s written word, because if God promises to speak through his word he won’t contradict himself outside of the word, or in it for that matter.
How many people have claimed they heard God’s voice say “do this” whatever it is and they end up in jail or in the psych ward. For example: even if a voice or apparition appears and says “kill that person”- we know God would not tell us to murder, “thou shall not murder”
3.) Fellowship with strong believers
– Not even strong Christians are called to go it alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Any of us can fall no matter how strong we think we are or feel. We can’t in our pride tempt our own sinfulness or the devil to take a stab at us.
A lone Elephant is easy prey for lions, strength in numbers.