Jan 25, 2016, 9:52 AM
Medical practitioners will recommend regular checks for your heart - this means having to count the beats per minute, observing whether the rhythm fits the normal pattern and diagnosing any defects that are likely to lead to malfunctions or heart arrest. With age and the nature of your timetable, they may also draw up a weekly calendar of exercises intended to stimulate your heart and thus pre-empt any surprises. The concern here is to ensure that your heart maintains a condition that would not trigger heart failure when it runs out of stamina to sustain its operations. Besides, the heart is the centre of life and if for any reason it fails to pump blood to our entire system to keep it going, that could well be fatal.
The Bible talks of the heart but is not concerned about its mode of operation - the physical part. Our hearts control our emotions, our feelings and our sentiments and constitute the medium by which our actions are judged. There are as many different shades of our hearts as there are the colours of a rainbow. It is important therefore that we become conversant with them.
One major advice that the Bible gives is that we should take the status of our hearts seriously, to the extent that we should seek to protect it against any danger. King Solomon gave some advice on this matter when he penned: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23) In essence he was saying: 'Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.' Who would deny the truth about that? Let us look up to God in order to have our hearts shaped by him, so that we may think only of "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
Our thought patterns determine how we behave, because they are governed by what takes precedence in our hearts. We can think positively or negatively on a particular issue depending on how our hearts relate to that matter; call it our point of view. The environment - cultural, social, religious backgrounds - in which we grew up colours our emotions. Where some people would see blue, others in contrast see grey.
A deceitful heart We must guard our hearts against deceit and that happens when what is expressed by our lips do not necessarily rhyme with what is dictated by our hearts. In our modern world, deceiving someone has become a game in which we seek to outsmart our counterparts. It is a clear sign that we have majored in the art of trickery - the way of the world. Someone somewhere, if the occasion arises, is trying to dupe his/her partner by pulling a fast one. We need to tread cautiously. A deceitful heart is like a tooth; under its white coating runs a stream of blood. Prophet Jeremiah warned: "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
A wicked heart Biblically speaking a person is wicked when his/her heart is not pure - purity not from what s/he takes in through other influences but from his/her deeds. In the Book of Genesis, God the Creator, qualifies the heart of human beings as wicked: "The Lord saw how great man?s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Genesis 6.5) No one is better placed than God to describe the heart of human beings this way. Our Lord Jesus sums it up by distinguishing wickedness as a result of the thoughts that are borne in our hearts and executed: "For from the inside, from a person's heart, come the evil ideas which lead him to do immoral things, to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of things; deceit, indecency, jealously, slander, pride and folly - all these evil things come from inside a person and make him/her unclean." (Mark 7:21-23) Our evil thoughts and imaginations are generated from deep within our hearts.
A sound heart King David in one of the Psalms asked that God should examine his heart: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) King David made that solemn plea to God for a thorough examination of the intents of his heart. We can do the same in all sincerity. By so doing, we admit we do not have the right kind of heart and trust in his goodness to help us make the right adjustments. God sees our hearts because they reflect our inward appearance. He alone can help finetune them to accord with his Word.
A confident heart When we come to the Lord we must do so confidently, not doubting or half-heartedly. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way." (Proverbs 3:5-6) In summarising part of the Ten Commandments our Lord Jesus said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) The soul is that part of God that is deposited in us; the mind is the thinker and the heart, the processor. These three agents make up the 'all.' 'All' denotes no half-measures. It is a total commitment that each of us should make to give the 'hook, line and sinker' of ourselves to God. Such a move would require a new heart.
A new heart Our God is ready and willing to supply us with a new heart - because that which we have is inappropriate. It is the heart we inherited from Adam, it is prone to sin. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26) We each need this transformation to become true servants of the most-high God. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Would you be willing to have a heart operation? "If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)