Finally, the time has arrived. You have just sat down with your personal physician and together you have settled on a prescribed program for improved physical health. Your new physical fitness goals include getting up at the crack of dawn four or five days per week and faithfully doing your cardio-pumping exercises. You may begin with those muscle-stretching, bone-crunching calisthenics, which you then follow up by running a couple of grueling miles. And just when you thought you would be done the push-ups and the sit-ups await you. But you also examine your diet and the evidence is there. The juicy, mouth watering, cheese-y hamburgers and fries and gravy just don’t make the healthy grade any longer. So you trim the fat from your diet and you monitor your cholesterol intake and add more fruit and fiber to your everyday meals. You endure all of this sweat, pain and sacrifice in order to help your heart keep healthy and strong.
We will do whatever we can to maintain a healthy heart. It is evident how we take this seriously today. The many magazines, web-sites and apps for our mobile devices that promote healthy living for healthy hearts indicate the need and the desire of many to keep their heart in shape. This is also seen in the number of people who, at the start of a New Year, will make the resolution to “keep fit”.
The Bible tells us a great deal about the heart. For example, the Bible instructs us to “keep
your heart with all diligence…” (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is where God’s Word is cherished. (Psalm 119:11) However, the heart that the Bible is talking about is not the organ that keeps your oxygenated blood pumping to the extremities of your body so you live and move. But rather it is a spiritual heart. It is a heart that only God can see and know. It is a heart that directs our thoughts and our actions. What can happen in many people’s lives is that they allow their spiritual hearts to become hard with the spiritually unhealthy habits which is called sin or they allow their heart to turn to mush because they become so pre-occupied with day to day worries and then they lose perspective. Instead of looking to God and believing His promises they focus on their immediate, temporal situation. The Bible is easily forgotten on the dusty shelf where it was last placed and prayers become few and far between. These are just a few symptoms of a poor spiritual “heart condition”. But your heart matters to God.
There is a song in the Bible written by a man who was known as “a man after God’s own heart”.
His name is David. In this particular song David acknowledges that God knows all there is to know about
your heart. He knows its strengths and its weaknesses and its quick tendency to lose perspective in life. This same David has also written another psalm asking God to “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10)
It really does make perfect sense to take care of your body and your physical heart. It can really improve the quality of your life. But what makes even greater sense is the taking care of your spiritual heart. It is this heart that matters to God as you walk in this life. Someone in recent years has aptly stated: “To keep spiritually fit…keep walking with God.”
To keep walking with God we must first give him our heart. Then He is the One who strengthens it. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) One final word is found in Proverbs 4:23 "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life."