One of the most important organs in the human body is the heart. The heart pumps life-giving blood to the entire body and, if it stops, the result is often death. There is no doubt that a healthy heart is important to each and every one of us. The Bible speaks of another heart that is equally important. This heart is a spiritual heart. It is the center of our human will, mind, emotion, and spirit. The Hebrew word lēb in the Old Testament, and the Greek word kardia in the New Testament both refer to the heart as the inner person or being that guides our motivation and moral conscience. This heart controls our thoughts, our emotions, and even our tongue (Matthew 15:18).
We all know that it is important to care for our physical hearts. We need to protect them and keep them healthy by doing things such as eating right and exercising. When we do we can live fairly confident in our overall physical health. As the center of our inner being and our passions, our spiritual hearts must be cared for, as well. Proverbs 4:23 tells us that we need to guard our hearts because everything that we do flows from them. Just as we need to keep our physical hearts healthy, we also need to take care of our spiritual hearts and keep them healthy. An unhealthy spiritual heart will condemn us and we will not feel at rest in the presence of God. But a healthy heart will not condemn us and we will have confidence before God (1 John 3:19-21).
The life we live, or more specifically, the way in which we live it, is a good reflection of the health of our spiritual hearts (Proverbs 27:19). When our spiritual hearts are healthy, we live in a manner that is pleasing to God and those around us will see the fruit of a godly life in us. But, when our spiritual hearts are unhealthy, it can reflect in our lives through thoughts and actions such as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander (Matthew 15:18-19), things that keep us far from God. On the other hand, a healthy spiritual heart leads to justification through faith and, when we profess that faith with our mouths, salvation (Romans 10:10).
When our physical hearts are not healthy, there are things we can do to help change that. We can choose to eat a healthier diet, we can lose weight, and we can exercise. The health of our physical hearts, in most cases, is in our own hands. But, when our spiritual hearts are not healthy, we need God’s help to change it. We need to turn our hearts over to Him and allow Him to perform “open-heart surgery.” We can start by asking God to create pure hearts, healthy hearts, in us, just as David did in Psalm 51:10. With healthy spiritual hearts, we are better able to serve God and to love Him with all our hearts (Mark 12:30).