Several years ago, my blood pressure started to elevate above the recommended rate. I was advised by my Doctor to exercise. He told me that I should exercise enough to get my heart rate up for twenty minutes, three times a week. So I did what most people do, I went out and bought me a fancy treadmill.
This treadmill had an instrument panel that kept me inform regarding my heart. It would show how fast, how far, what elevation, how much time, my heart rate, and how many calories I was burning. If there was something about my heart, it would tell me. It even had a CD player on it so I could listen to soothing music while I was walking.
At first, it felt like I was working pretty hard. I would break into a sweat and pant for air.
Every time I walked on the treadmill, it became easier. I would increase the speed and elevation until I reached my desired heart rate. I did not sweat nearly as much as I did when I started. Unless, I would miss a few days.
What would have happened if I did not take my Doctor’s advice?
Well, I could take a pill to lower my blood pressure. I tried several different medicines but every time I took a pill to lower my blood pressure, it had the opposite effect. My blood pressure would go up!
If my blood pressure was always high, I was told I would be at a higher risk for a heart attack and stroke. I enjoy life too much to be handicapped with a bad heart or a clot on the brain.
Our spiritual heart is no different than our physical heart. If we don’t exercise our spiritual heart, we defile ourselves (have a spiritual heart attack). We become sluggish in responding to the needs of others. We become sluggish in working for the Lord. When someone wants to change something in the church, our physical blood pressure goes up and we make every effort to stop the change. We may even do it ‘in the name of the lord’. (In other words ‘self’)
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” Matthew 15:17-20(NIV)
How do we exercise our spiritual heart? We can exercise our spiritual heart the same way we do our physical heart. For 20 minutes, three times a week, read God’s word (God’s treadmill) and look for those things that God is challenging us to do, or do better. Look for those things that excite us and get us ‘fired up’ to do God’s work. Look for places where you can minister to someone in need. Attend church expecting to have your faith challenged.
Did you know that your spiritual heart has a heart rate monitor? It is called the mouth.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11(NIV)
As Christians, many of us have adopted the policy of not confronting anybody. We don’t want to say things that may offend them. We are afraid to tell fellow Christians the truth or in love, challenge them in their spiritual walk. Or heaven forbid, someone challenges you in your faith. We have developed a ‘political correctness’ that causes us to be lukewarm rather than effective in our spiritual walk. It causes us to have evil thoughts just like the rest of the world. We blend right in with society rather than standing out like a light to the world.
When you exercise your spiritual heart regularly, you will find that you don’t ‘snap back’ as frequently when people challenge your faith; you begin to trust God with your life and let Him guide you through the day; you stop worrying about the future, knowing that God is in control and that when you leave this earth, you will be with Him; and you will speak the truth in love.
I like what The Psalmist writes about acceptable behaviors in Psalm 15:
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15(NIV)
When your spiritual heart rate is elevated on a regular basis, the actions described in Psalm 15 are the things that will come from the heart.
What is your spiritual heart rate? Has it been elevated recently?
Note: All scripture has been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com.