Twice in my life I have struggled with chest pains and the doctors have given me an EKG. They hook sensors up to your chest and they check your physical heart function. While the physical health of our heart is very important, the spiritual health of our heart is even more important.
The following are notes from a message by Don Cousins that I found very valuable. Pastor Don says, “The world says that we need to order everything in our external world, family, home, work, finances, health, etc. the way we want it to be then we’ll know inner peace. I don’t think I’ve spent a day in my life when everything in my external world was the way I wanted it to be. To live in such a way to make that happen is simply exhausting!
Jesus cares more about who you are than who you appear to be. Jesus cares about our heart, our inner person, our mind, will, and emotions. The place of understanding, passion, and courage. The seat of our appetites and emotions. The Bible says life is not meant to be lived outside in, but inside out. ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ —Proverbs 4:23 NIV Jesus wants to transform us, so that who we appear to be matches who we really are. Jesus wants to shape our hearts, and then we’ll be able to negotiate and handle everything that happens in our external world. Our experience of shalom peace is not dependent on our external world, but on what’s happening inside our hearts. Peace can only come from having our heart right with God through faith in Jesus and the abiding of His Spirit within us. Then we can have shalom in spite of what’s happening in our outside world.
So how do we know if our spiritual heart is healthy? Here are 10 checkpoints for us to consider.
Personal Awareness Checks
- Unwholesome Talk -But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. —Matthew 15:18 NIV (This might be negative, complaining, critical, judgmental, demanding, perverse, profanity, life sucking language, etc.)
- Impure Thoughts –For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. —Matthew 15:19 NIV (This might be feelings of resentment, lust, jealousy, etc)
- An Angry Spirit –Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart since as members of one body you were called to peace –Colossians 3:15. 26″In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold… 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. —Ephesians 4:26-27,30-31 NIV
- A Complaining Attitude -Do everything without complaining and arguing, —Philippians 2:14 NLT
- Anxiety and Unhealthy Fear -For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. —2 Timothy 1:7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —Philippians 4:6 NIV When I exercise, my mind is able to wander. When my mind wanders I usually find what’s really in there. When my heart rate accelerates, I’ve learned to ask myself why? And there’s generally a direct correlation that my increased heart rate is indication of my spiritual heart disease of anxiety. I need to get my heart right before God.
Spiritual Awareness Checks
- Diminished Hunger for God’s Word -Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. -—Colossians 3:16 NIV
- Discouragement in Prayer -Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (lose heart). —Luke 18:1 NIV
- “Lip-service” Worship (critical of others “rule breaking”, to serve/give out of obligation-“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” -—Matthew 15:8-9 NIV
- Sense of Oppression -When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer —Psalm 32:3-4 NIV
- Missing Pasion or Misplaced Values -For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV John Wesley said, “If you light yourself on fire, men will come to watch you burn.” What are you on fire about? Are you passionate about the things of God? That’s in indicator of a healthy heart. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:21 NIV
“After going down that list, I have to admit I have a little spiritual heart disease going on.” –Don Cousins.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “ The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Our hearts want to convince us we’re healthy, we’re fine. But only with the Spirit’s daily help can we maintain a healthy heart. Is my heart healthy? How bout yours?
To hear Pastor Don Cousins message, go to www.discoverychurch.org and look for Matthew’s Main Messages, June 17th, 2018.