The Heart of the Matter
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
- Proverbs 4:23
In ancient Hebrew thought the heart was the seat of the intellectual and emotional life. And passages like our verse for today show that the wise who lived a long time ago saw our hearts as immensely valuable.
What do you want in your life? Think about your health, your finances, your relationships, your spiritual and emotional life, your career, your family, your legacy. Your heart influences all of these.
Picture your heart as a spring pouring water out onto the earth. If the spring pumps out stinky or bitter water, the vegetation around the spring will wither and fester and slide into swampland. But if the spring pumps out fresh, clean water everything downstream from it will flourish.
So it is with our hearts.
Later in the week we’ll circle back to this verse and talk about three ways we can guard our hearts (check back on Friday!). But today we just wanted to reflect on the big idea: the condition of your heart affects the condition of your life.
Imagine someone who spends 17 years getting an education (K-12 + some college), who counts calories and takes time to exercise, who cleans their home and mows their lawn, who pays off debts and saves for retirement, who reads books on parenting, who watches the news … someone who does all this but neglects their heart. They can end up comfortable and successful and dead inside.
God’s invitation to us is to receive free, healthy, wildly-alive hearts. Jesus came to give us hearts that fill our lives with life. Walking wisely with him requires us to tend thoughtfully to the condition of our spiritual and emotional lives. Everything else flows from this. If our hearts go wrong, everything follows; but, “Good news!”, it works the other way as well … if Jesus sets our hearts to rights, everything else goes right eventually.
Take a moment today to examine the condition of your heart. What do you find inside you if you look? How is your emotional and spiritual life? What disciplines are you currently finding helpful for cultivating a healthy heart?