Condition of the Heart

Physically, the heart must be in good working order for the body to flourish. When the body has a faulty heart, it affects that body in negative ways. I have a mitral valve prolapse. At times, I feel pain. When this happens, I know I need to listen to my body as it calls out for rest time. If I ignore it, the pain increases. Thankfully, I have learned to do what my physical heart directs me to do. Therefore, I recover and continue on with daily activity.

It’s no different in our spiritual worlds. Jesus said something of great value to His followers in Luke 6:45, “…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We have all experienced moments when we hear ourselves spew out negative words, angry, full of condemnation for ourselves, others, or our difficult situations. At the end of such emptying of negativity in our hearts, do we feel joy and peace? Of course not. Negative words damage ourselves as well as others, bringing more pessimism, doom, gloom, and growing anger.

How then, do we put positivity into our hearts? There’s no button to press that suddenly makes us “feel better.” The power to a positive heart lies wholly in developing an attitude of thanksgiving. I now share with you a dream I had this week. I dreamed a man was taken prisoner through kidnapping. He was put into a room with no windows. Lights were off. He could not see even a sliver of light beneath the door. In my dream the man was afraid. For a long time he was frozen in his fear, unable to move, breathing shallow. After a while he slowly put out a hand and felt the wall. He kept his hand on the wall for a long time. The man whispered, “at least I can still feel.” Then I woke up.

Throughout the day the dream stirred in my thoughts.. After a while the following came to me: at times we are each kidnapped by our fears, imprisoned in the dark because we cannot see tomorrow or the outcome of a bad situation. However, in our hearts, we grow either fear or peace. When we choose to focus on the dark, the fear only deepens, but when we focus on something positive, giving thanks for the smallest thing, then peace begins to replace the fear no matter the darkness. Maybe all one can say is, “thank you, Lord, I can still feel.” You see, the fact that you feel pain, sorrow or fear, is in itself a sign of life. Life is always a sign of hope.

When we choose to fill our hearts with positivity by concentrating on the things of God; like His character and love, His promises and grace, then fear of the dark takes second place. Instead, we feel His nearness. We feel His hope. It’s a matter of the condition of the heart. A spiritually healthy heart finds reason to praise. One can then say in his or her darkest moments, “thank you, Lord, I can still feel.” We can add, “thank you, Lord, you are in all our tomorrows.”

“Above all things, guard your heart, because it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23

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