Monitoring the Heart
In order to be cleared for surgery I had to have a pre-op appointment by a cardiologist. Several tests have been performed and the final test was placing a monitor on me to keep close watch over the workings of my physical heart for a week. I have had it for two days so far and am very tuned in to my heart function simply because an outside system is gauging every slight change in how my heart is functioning.
There are many different meanings for the same word “heart”. For this article, I will only use two. We have our circulatory system heart that begins beating within us as we develop in utero as early as 21 days after conception. “Heart” in this context is describing the muscle that pumps blood through our bodies. The human heart beats 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.
The other major use of the word “heart” is not quite as easy to define. When we talk about our “heart” breaking, or something being heart-wrenching everyone knows what is meant, but a definition is not as exact as the physical one. We are referring to our feelings, our motives, the deepest part of ourselves that is not tangible or fully definable.
In scripture, there are several verses using the word “heart” that help us understand more of what the heart is in relation to our spiritual meaning of the word. This morning at church we sang the song “Create in Me a Clean Heart” from Psalm 51:10, which says “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I love this verse because it invites God to come into close fellowship with our spirits and to examine what is going on within us at the deepest, core level. Oftentimes we ourselves aren’t even fully aware of what is going on “inside”.
One morning as my husband and I were sitting by the fire reviewing all the issues and concerns we shared before praying together about them, he asked me a simple question. He said “how’s your heart?” Stinging tears welled up before I even knew why. From there poured my deepest soul moments that I had no idea were bursting to get out. I have trained myself to hem them in, store them up, block them from view, or stuff them somewhere they are not easily found. Having someone trustworthy to ask me that question at the right moment is truly a gift. Not everyone has someone that can rightfully do that in their life. On occasion I have asked that question of others because I found it to be powerful in my own life. It is also a good check for me to ask myself, but most importantly it is a good question to ask of God. In Psalm 139:23-24 the psalmist asks “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
In chasing down more meaning about how God “knows” our hearts, I found this nugget in my study Bible: “knowing conveys the concept of knowing by personal experience or by entering into personal relationship.” I certainly don’t want acquaintances to ask me how my heart is. I’m a rather open person in regard to my feelings, but I don’t want everyone to ask me that question and bare my soul to just anyone. But with God, because I have invited Him into my “heart” (the deepest part of my soul – my mind, will, and emotions), I am most willing to be vulnerable. I trust Him completely to search within my heart. He can look at everything in there. He can point out whatever He chooses to reveal to me. If He finds something offensive, He can point it out. If He sees my hurt or concerns, He can address them. He will speak to me in the way He knows my heart can hear it.
Back to this heart monitor concept…Physically I’m monitoring my heart muscle for a week. Spiritually, I am monitoring my heart for a lifetime. Ignoring the monitoring process is dangerous to one’s spiritual health. My monitor protocol for my spiritual heart is this: 1) Examining my heart for authenticity…am I being real? Does my walk match my talk? 2) Look at what my day and my choices center around: Am I living out my first and foremost allegiance to Christ in my daily life? 3) Reading and meditating on scripture – seeking God’s word for my own knowledge of God and HIS heart; 4) prayer – communicating with the Lord for every soul purpose; 5) fellowship with other believers (my community group is vital to my spiritual health. I am committed to a trusted group of like-minded people who can share their own hearts and can handle mine as well).
I am vigilant about my soul health…more so than about my physical health. It’s the lasting part of me. This body is rapidly declining and headed for the grave. All of us are on that course, just running at different speeds. I hope this reality points you toward thinking about your own heart condition…your spiritual heart.
So, how is YOUR heart? Are you longing for God in a deeper way? Are you seeking after Him on a daily basis and tuned in to His heart? Have you invited Him to look at you, to reveal truth about your own soul, and asked Him to create a pure heart within you? If not, there’s no better time than the present. We don’t know how many of those billion+ beats are left in our physical heart, but our spiritual heart will live forever.