Heart Disease is the number one killer of people in the United States every year. Each year over 600,000 Americans die of heart disease. How is your heart? Is it healthy? Not just your physical heart, but your heart for God? Today we are going to take a look at what the Bible says about the heart, but not just any heart, your heart, and my heart.
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How To Have A Healthy Heart
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Heart Disease is the number one killer of people in the United States every year. Each year over 600,000 Americans die of heart disease. It also probably doesn’t come as a surprise that many cases of heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes. What does that mean? That means quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and maintaining a healthy weight. So what we have here is a serious problem and a prescription on how to fix the problem, if not entirely fix it then, certainly go a long way to mitigating the occurances of heart disease for a lot of people. So my question for you today is, how is your heart? Is it healthy?
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be about topics from the Bible?”. Ok, glad you asked, today we are going to take a look at what the Bible says about the heart, but not just any heart, your heart, and my heart.
The Bible meaning of Heart – The heart that you feel beating in the center of your chest is an important organ, some say perhaps the most important because without it pumping the life giving blood that flows through your body to every organ, your brain and all other organs will die. But the Bible speaks of something else too which God has identified as your heart. Take a look in Jeremiah 29:12:13 “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. What does that word “heart” here mean? Obviously not the organ which is pumping blood in the center of your chest and keeping you alive. Let’s look to the BIble, comparing scripture with scripture for the definition of what God is referring to when he is talking about the heart. As we look at today’s study on the heart we are going to see that God talks about three areas that define the heart, let’s take a look at the first one.
1. The Intellect of The Heart
UNDERSTANDING Turn with me to Proverbs 8:5, “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.” Notice the connection with an understanding heart. Let’s see that again in I Kings 3:9. In 1st Kings chapter 3 the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he should give him, let’s actually pick it up in verse 7 for Solomons response “And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. So we see here the connection with understanding and the heart.
IMAGINATION Let’s turn to Luke 1:51, Talking about God, “He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.” Here we see an attribute of the heart identified as imagination.
THOUGHTS Let’s look at the next chapter in Luke and see the the connection of the heart with our thoughts, look at Luke 2:35 “(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Let’s see the thoughts of our heart connected again with a verse that I am sure many of you are familiar with, turn to the book of Hebrews, Chapter 4 verse 12, a verse of scripture that I am sure many of you have memorized. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
REASONING Let’s look at another attribute of the heart that is related to the attributes of understanding, imagination and thoughts, and that is reasoning. Turn to Luke 5:22 “But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?” Here we have reasoning connected with the heart.
So what we might call the intellect, God calls reasoning, thoughts, imagination, and understanding attributes of the heart. These make up the first part of the heart. Let’s think about this, how many people are using their abilities to reason and think and to know about God? When God asks you to know him he is asking you to use your reasoning, your thinking, what we would call your intellect. It’s not a matter of “blind faith”, whatever mental capabilities we have God expects us to use them to find him. We can use this first part of the heart to accomplish great things for God.
2. The Emotions Of The Heart
Let’s take a look at the second part of the heart found in the Bible. Now this is the part that so many of us are probably familiar with, and that is the emotions of the heart. We associate the symbol of the heart with the emotion of love. And this is biblically a connection of the heart, look in Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” But there are other emotions of the heart as well.
FEAR Luke 21:25,26 “25) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 ) Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
BURN Again, let’s look at Luke 24:30-32 “30) And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32) And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Here we see that the heart is connected with strong emotions, just as we saw with fear and love. So we see again that the Bible connects the heart with emotions, or gives the heart the attribute as being the seat of the emotions.
Affliction, Anguish, Sorrow, Heaviness, Joy Turn with me to Ii Corinthians and let’s see this seat of the emotions at work and again connected with the heart. II Corinthians Chapter 2:1-4. 1) But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2) For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3) And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4) For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. Notice the connection here with the heart and these emotions; affliction, anguish, sorrow, heaviness, joy.
Joy and Sorrow of heart – Isaiah 65:13,14, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.”
Nehemiah 2:2 2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
Heaviness and sorrow of heart – Romans 9:2 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
So we have looked at two aspects as God defines the Heart, they are, 1) the part that contains Understanding, Imagination, Thoughts, Reasoning or what we might call the intellect of the heart and we just looked at the second part of the heart what might be called the 2) Emotions of the heart, containing fear, joy, sorrow, heaviness, affliction, anguish and so on. Now let’s take a look at the 3rd part of the heart as found in the Bible.
3. The Will Of The Heart
The third part is the Will of the Heart, or the will or determined purpose. Turn to Ecclesiastes 8:11 Here we see the heart with a determined purpose to do evil. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” It is also a great truth and indictment of our court system but that is for another study. Turn to the book of Acts Chapter 11 starting in verse 22 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Here we see the will or determined purpose as Barnabas exhorts the early Christians at Antioch to stay close or cleave to the Lord, the Holy Spirit referring to it here as “purpose of heart”. In this case unlike the example in Ecclesiastes 8:11, we have a good and right purpose and will of the heart. Let’s see this will in action again in Ephesians 6:6, let’s start in verse 5 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Here again we see the will, or doing the will of God connected with an attribute of the heart.
So with these three attributes of the Heart (what we are calling the intellect, the emotions of the heart, and the will of the heart) we can follow God with our whole heart. We want to be balanced in these attributes of the heart. Having the intellect of the heart, knowing the facts of the Bible but not having the emotions or the passions toward God, and not having the will or a determined purpose to act on what we know is not following God with our whole heart. If you have ever known someone who is all about the “facts”, but has no passion or emotion you will know what I mean. Similarly while having a good factual knowledge of the Bible, or the intellect of the heart, and not having the purpose of or will of heart to witness to the Lost, or teach a sunday school class, what good is that Bible knowledge locked away inside your head? Can you imagine if Paul took his knowledge and never wrote with passion and will to the other churches in the New Testament, or never preached or witnessed to others? How much poorer we all would be for it.
A Prescription For A Healthy Heart
So being aware of these aspects of the heart, what now? The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” You see once we get saved we are to keep our heart clean. The things we think about, the things we are passionate and feed our emotions to, and the things we do, need to be Godly things. You see left to its own devices our hearts, like our fallen nature, will gravitate toward wickedness if we are not diligent in keeping our hearts clean. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9, referring back to Noah’s day the Bible says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 Now you may say but I am saved, God has created a new heart in me. But listen, we also know that once we are saved that we still have the capacity and we still do sin. We have the earnest of the promise, we won’t be sinless until we see Christ. So it’s important that we feed our intellect of the heart with right things. Why? because the Bible says, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Matthew 15:19 We need to think on right things, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. What you think on, what you give your emotions to, what you do, all affect your heart. That is why we should have the intent as is found in Psalms 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” We need to memorize and meditate on God’s word, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11 This is why your daily Bible reading is so important, we need it to combat the sin and wickedness that is all around us and to keep our minds fixed on right things. A few verses prior in Psalm 119 we find in verse 9 and 10, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
If you have tuned in this podcast today and you have never trusted Christ as your Savour, you may be thinking “My heart is ok”, I am just as good as the next guy. But remember, the Bible says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2 You may be able to fool those around you but God knows your heart, he knows what you think about and imagine, he knows what you give your emotions to, and he knows what you set your will to do. The Bible says, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23. You see when you stand before God he will not judge you based on how good you were compared to your neighbor, he is going to judge you based on sin, did you ever sin while you were here on Earth. And the answer is yes you did and you will be found guilty before God and Hell will be your future. Unless you repent of your sins and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, and trust in Him alone, and not your good works, you will go to Hell. You may say, Well I am not ready yet. Consider that you may never be ready if you are not seeking God with your whole heart. Going to church at Easter and Christmas, and the occasional wedding or funeral and spending the rest of your time with work, television and the noise and demands of everyday living, you may find yourself never ready to seek after God. But if you use your intellect, your emotions and your will to seek after God, the Bible says you will find him. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Christian, let’s be diligent to keep our hearts right with God. Let’s be deliberate about what we put in our minds and what we imagine and think on, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” Christian are the things you imagining going to draw you closer to God? It’s not unbiblical to show happiness or joy for what Christ did for you on the cross at Calvary, or for your sins before God to move you to tears.
I know I have to be careful of even seemingly ordinary everyday activities that while not bad in and of themselves, I can’t let them crowd out my time thinking on and doing the right things. I want to keep my heart pure, as pure as I possibly can. I want to think on right things, have my emotions tied to the right things, and with my will do the right things. I want to follow God with my whole heart. I want to purify my heart. Perhaps God doesn’t seem as close to you as he once did. Would you like to get that closeness back? The Bible says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8.
Let me leave you with this challenge, In the days to come as you read through your Bible and you come across the word “heart” in your reading, consider your heart, what is the state of your heart toward God and others. When God looks at your heart what is he discovering that your neighbors can’t see?
We started this study with noting that Heart Disease is the number one killer in America. Did you know that in that top ten list of things Americans die of, that suicide also has its place on that list? Something has gone very wrong with those hurting hearts. Christian keep your heart with all diligence but also use your whole heart to reach those lost and with no hope of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thankyou.