Heart Health or Heart Disease?
by Poppy Smith
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It was a delight to be asked to speak to the undergraduate women at Multnomah Bible College on Valentines Day. My topic was spiritual foundations for women in leadership and as I asked the Lord what to focus on (after all, it is a broad topic!), my mind went to the heart of a leader—or really, the heart of a Christian. What should characterize our hearts regardless of what we do in life?
Have you stopped to think about your heart recently? No, I don't mean the physical organ we all need to take care of. I mean our inner heart, that part of us that desires, longs for, and reveals who we are.
Let me share some highlights of what I said to those young women. Who knows, maybe they are words for you, too. Even though we easily connect the heart with emotions and love, when the heart is mentioned in Scripture it doesn't usually refer to romance! Instead, it refers to our inner person where we not only feel, but think, desire, and choose. In fact, the mind and heart are often interchangeable in Scripture. Think about what we're told about the heart:
The basic building blocks of spiritual foundations include those disciplines we're all familiar with: prayer, obedience, the Word, and self-examination, but there are two other building blocks that we need to cultivate throughout our lives—and they are rooted in our hearts.
In Numbers 12 we read about Miriam, Moses' sister. She and Aaron gossiped, griped, and gave in to a spirit of comparison and criticism. Miriam was jealous and envious. She wanted the power and prestige of Moses. But that wasn't the role God had for her! Do you think you will ever have to battle those feelings and thoughts? If you're human, you probably will at some point, if you haven't already!
What is humility?
Peter tells us in l Peter 5:5-6 to clothe yourself with humility and that God gives grace to the humble. We are to take steps to humble ourselves under God's mighty hand whenever we recognize a proud heart, a superior and judgmental attitude, or a stubborn arrogance that expects to have its way. God has strong things to say about the proud heart, but he delights in a heart that is humble and soft towards Him.
God also desires us to be honest with ourselves and with Him. In Psalm 51 David cries out, “You desire truth in the inmost parts.” In Psalm 139 he issues a heart-felt invitation: “Search me O God, try my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me” or, as the Living Bible says: “See if there is anything in me that makes You sad.”
If you're angry and hurt, be honest and tell God. If you feel jealous, unwanted, unloved, tell Him your secret hurts, struggles and temptations. He won't be shocked. He knows already in any case! God sympathizes with our weaknesses. He knows what it is like to go through life, so He invites us to come and find mercy and grace to help us.
Our hearts need watching over constantly. If you find evidence of heart disease—a lack of humility and inner honesty—let me encourage you to spend time with the best cardiologist there is. You don't even have to wait for an appointment!
Copyright 2008 - Poppy Smith. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009 - Poppy Smith. All rights reserved.
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