By Cheryl Mah
In medical terms, the heart is a muscular organ that transports blood to all parts of the human body through its circulatory system of various blood vessels. This provides the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. A healthy heart is one that pumps the right amount of blood at the right rate so that the human body can function as God intended. Suffice to say, the human heart is probably one of the most important organs that God has placed in our bodies.
The Hebrew word for “heart” or “לֵב” (pronounced as “lev”) in the Old Testament, however, is specified as the inner part of a person, ie. one’s inclination and personal will. It also refers to a person’s moral character and emotions. The heart was thought to be the “control centre” or “ruling centre” from which all our decisions are made. It is the centre of our thinking and reason, as well as our emotions. In short, the heart is the core of who we are as a person (Matthew 15:18–20).
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As it is the centre of the body and represents physical vitality, it is most essential for a human heart to be healthy. On the other hand, as the centre of one’s inner being – our soul – it is imperative for our spiritual heart to be ‘healthy’ since it serves as the “fountain” of moral attitudes and actions. Our spiritual heart controls our actions, which determine our habits, and which in turn determines our character (Philippians 4:8).
How does the Lord measure the “worth” of a person then? He does it not by putting a measuring tape around our head, but around our heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 21:2). Thus, Acts 13:22 calls for us to be a people after God’s own heart.
Invaluable as it is and as the wellspring of life, Proverbs 4:23 also reminds us that we need to continually “post a guard” at the doorway of our heart, so that every avenue of our being blocks the entry of sin. Remember that we are fighting against an enemy who is bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but also everything that is aligned with God – us included. If our heart is unhealthy or defeated, it destroys everything in our life.
The secret to guarding our hearts is actually to be filled with God’s Word. Just as one has no more appetite after a buffet dinner, when our hearts are so full from God’s Word, there is no more room for sin. As Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Let us make effort to memorize as many Bible verses as possible.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
- What standards have you used to measure your self-worth?
- In what ways have you guarded your heart from sin?
- What new Bible passages will you commit to memory for this season?