I love February because that’s Valentine’s Day. I love getting candy and flowers and spending special time with my loved ones. But that can all change in a moment. The statistics are that about 2 people die of a heart attack every minute in the United States. That’s why the The American Heart Association designates February as the month to focus attention on how to maintain a physically healthy heart.
Among their suggestions are: eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, reduce stress and get regular checkups. Their efforts to educate are for a good reason. The heart is one of the most, if not the most, important organ in the human body. Without proper heart function, many other organs will struggle to maintain their functions within the body as a whole. That’s how you arrive at the statistic of 2 deaths per minute. So it’s good advice for our physical health and we would be wise to try to follow it.
There is something even more vital than our physical heart’s health. What about our spiritual heart’s condition? Our physical bodies will pass away, but the state of our spiritual heart will determine where we spend eternity. How are we all born with a spiritual heart? We have a heart because God has one; it is our connection to our Creator. It is where our emotions and desires dwell; the part of man’s spiritual makeup that drives our behavior. Everything we do flows out of what is in our hearts. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Our heart is truly a reflection of who we are.
David was called “a man after God’s own heart”. (Acts 13:22) He is remembered for his unwavering belief in God’s faithfulness and his confidence in God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. In Psalm 51, David pours out his heart to God regarding his sinful condition and offers his prayer of repentance. He understood the grievous nature of his sinful heart. “The heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT) We enter this world with a sinful nature that shapes what we think, say, feel and do, but we don’t have to stay there, separated from God.
By God’s grace, He can create a brand new spiritual heart within us. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.” (Ezekiel 36:32 ESV) This was God’s promise of restoration for Israel. And he can restore our hearts as well. If we ask him for a new spiritual heart, how do we keep our new heart spiritually healthy? It begins when we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then we should follow these guidelines: eat a healthy diet –feast daily on God’s word; maintain a healthy weight – strive for a sensible work/life balance; exercise regularly – keep in step with the Lord; reduce stress – release our burdens to God; and get regular checkups – be mindful to stay in touch with our emotions and our connection to God and others. Advice our hearts can live by!
Remember, there are no 2 deaths every minute statistics with this new heart given by God. It is lives eternally….well beyond Valentine’s Day.