“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for 26% of all deaths. Yet, as serious and as dangerous as heart disease is, there are simple steps that we all can take to decrease our risk. Losing a few pounds and getting some exercise a few days a week will go a long way to keeping our physical hearts healthy. Working to lower our blood pressure and keeping our cholesterol under control are two more important aspects of preventing heart disease. As simple as these steps sound to helping someone leader a longer, healthier life thousands of people still die every year from heart attacks.
As important as it is to protect our physical heart, however, this verse from Proverbs is actually talking about our spiritual heart, the part of us that connects with God. Spiritual cardiovascular disease can be as deadly as natural heart disease. In a real sense, spiritual heart disease is even deadlier because it affects our relationship with God. Heart disease can kill us physically, but spiritual heart disease can have eternal consequences.
What are some ways that we can prevent spiritual cardiovascular disease?
1. Proper Diet– Feeding ourselves on the right things goes a long way towards protecting our hearts. The Word of God should be part of our daily diet. Feeding ourselves on thoses life giving words will keep our hearts vibrant and healthy. We should limit our intake of unhealthy things, such as certain television shows or movies, gossip, or websites that are going to take our hearts away from God. It is also important that we are in a good church where we can hear God’s Word preached and taught on a regular basis.
2. Exercise– Serving others is a great spiritual exercise. There is something about helping people and actively giving ourselves away that helps keep our hearts healthy. Turning our focus outward to others is an amazing spiritual exercise with eternal benefits! I wonder how many people struggling with depression and loneliness would be cured if they could turn their attention towards serving and helping other people?
3. Prayer– As we mentioned above, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are two of the biggest enemies of a healthy heart. In the spiritual realm, worry and fear have the same effect on our hearts. Left unchecked, worry, fear, doubt, and their many companions will kill our relationship with God. Faith-filled prayer will drive those things away. Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything.” These are words to live by!
Can you think of anything else that will keep your heart healthy?
Annie and I are serving the Lord in the US and in Brazil. We are training leaders and helping build great local churches. Would you consider joining our team? Just click here to get involved. Thanks so much!