“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Pick up any health magazine and you will likely see an article about the importance of exercise, diet and eliminating stress to maintain a healthy physical heart. But what about our other heart – the non-physical one that the Bible talks about so much?
The abridged concordance at the back of the NIV Bible shows 75 references to the use of the word “heart.” None of them are talking about the physical organ that is the center piece of our circulatory systems. The following are just a few examples:
- “Love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart” (Dt. 10:12)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5)
- “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew: 6:21)
Some of these verses come from texts that may go back more than 3000 years. None of them are referring to our physical heart. All of them seem to be searching for a way to express that mysterious interior part of our existence that determines who we really are – our attitudes, our propensity to love or be selfish; our inclination toward joy or depression; our motivation and thirst for life; the source for many of our daily choices.
Since we can’t physically see or touch these non-physical aspects of our existence, we use words like heart, soul, spirit, and inner self to describe them. Although separate from our physical being, they take up residence there. If our physical being is destroyed, God promises that our heart, soul and spirit live on. That’s why St. Paul says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Co. 6:19)
Since our non-physical heart is so instrumental to all of the rest of our existence, are we treating it with the same care as our physical heart? What are we feeding this other heart? How are we exercising it? Is our diet primarily one of pop culture that includes R and X rated movies and comedians that love to use four letter words? Is our life filled with busyness that leaves no time for daily prayer, the reading of God’s word or the serving of someone other than ourselves?
Might we not fill this “wellspring of life” with a dedicated time of talking with and listening to God each day; reading the Bible and other spiritual books; serving a spouse, child, colleague or friend; and seeking God’s will in all things.
How are you nourishing and exercising your other heart?