The month of February is recognized as heart month. Valentine's Day is celebrated on the 14th. During this time of year, many of us are thinking about how we can demonstrate love toward a person we care about or a family member. It can also be a time to reflect on how we are caring for our own heart. It's something God would want us to do. He tells us so the Bible.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
What does it mean to guard your heart and how do you do it?
We are told to exercise, eat well and manage our stress. These are all important measures to care for our physical heart as we are regularly reminded by members of the medical profession. What does our Creator tell us about caring for our heart? For that, we'll need to look into the Bible, his guidebook for living life?
Guarding your heart means to forgive others who may have hurt you.... to let go of any anger, bitterness and resentment toward another that you may have and to release their hurtful behavior or words they may have spoken to you to God.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13
It means being mindful of what you think about. Our minds and heart are intricately connected. What we think about affects our inner spirit and heart. The Bible tells us to think about things that are pure and right and heavenly. When we do this, it creates a healthy environment for the rest of the body. In almost magical ways, these good thoughts sink deep into our being and have an impact on our nervous system and endocrine system. The hormones that are released in our bodies when we think good thoughts are heart-healthy, as opposed to the harmful hormones that are released when we are thinking negative thoughts.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Guarding our heart also means watching what we take into our minds. What we read and see over and over again will eventually make it's way into our spiritual and emotional heart. Reading the Bible on a regular basis will help to get God's truths into our inner being. This is healthy.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22
Decide to have a cheerful heart. By attending to your thoughts, forgiving others and daily reading the Bible and meditating on God's truths, you can more easily have a cheerful mindset. This is health-promoting.
A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
I encourage you to be intentional in making these spiritual exercises part of your daily life. As they become habits, your heart will be healthier. God promises it.
Questions to Reflect On
Are you taking good care of your heart, especially your spiritual heart?
Could you benefit from incorporating one of these spiritual exercises into your life?
Resources for Guarding Your Heart
Web Page - How God Designed Us: Spirit, Soul and Body